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  • Hector Heathwood

They're not your customers!x

I know a lot of very good photographers, and one question keeps coming up. Like me, they use social media for business, but they can't understand why mediocre imagery gets so many reactions while good photographs get ignored.

The answer is actually pretty simple, but I'd like to take this opportunity to explain what I've found out, and help my colleagues get over their frustration.

The 'currency' of social media is the selfie, and what I'll call 'the party pic', often with some Instagram filters applied. These are plenty good enough for purpose, and they're free!

Quite properly the people that post a lot can see no value in spending their money on high quality imagery. It would cost them a fortune in a very short time, and here's the hard thing to hear for photographers, the quality doesn't matter!

They can get pictures done by their local wedding photographer 'giving it a go' or amateurs from a camera club copying something good they once saw. These are fine for how they'll be used, why pay a professional to get original and more than barely competent work. But there's another important aspect to keep in mind.

Nearly all imaging professionals view social media on full-size monitors, almost certainly a Mac, because that's their work station. Of course we'll see every flaw, and all the things that just aren't right. But the vast majority of social media is accessed on a phone.

Most images don't even get opened, so they're seen at the size of a postage stamp. At that magnification every image is going to look fine, it's gonna get liked by friends and followers of the poster regardless of visual or technical quality. So, again, why pay anyone to take good photographs.

The logic is simple, and rather ruthless, but true nonetheless. There really is no point in getting upset about it. Continue to produce good work, the clients who want it are still very much out there. They always were.

Individuals still want excellent portraits, events need impactful posters, businesses require high quality promotion photographs, and magazines will always have a demand for strong visual content. In fact, because of their use of social media as an advertising platform, there is even more work out there. Go get it, and enjoy people enjoying photography. In time they will also want more, but for now, they're not your customers!x

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