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Is Instagram a new promised land for photographers?

"It is the future!"

Last week I met with my photographer friend. It didn't take long before we started talking business. We both agreed that more and more work we both are getting is destined for Instagram. "It is the future!" he exclaimed full of excitement. Is it really?

Let's look at the facts. "As of April 2017, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, especially among young adults. The platform reported 600 million monthly active users in December 2016" [source: statista.com]. And here is a graph showing leading countries based on number of monthly active Instagram users as of 1st quarter 2016 (in millions)



Now let's compare it to printed press audience. When you look at the magazines ABCs (yearly distribution stats for UK) from 2015 and 2016 you will notice that during one year there was over 5 millions less mags in circulation! [source: ABC] During the same time Instagram gained 200 millions users worldwide. At the moment of writing this article there are over 700 millions Instagram users around the globe and over 17.2 millions in UK. This means that Instagram is one of the most popular and fastest growing social media platform. It also means that there is massive audience for "insta-marketing". 

It's a well known fact that digital is replacing analogue. With less and less copies sold magazines are no longer an attractive platform for commercials. With less adverts there is less money for creation of interesting and eye catching content inside. Are we witnessing a slow and painful death of the medium? In my opinion it is rather kind of an evolution process. Only the strongest will survive. 

That is one of the reasons why most of the magazines have Instagram accounts. It's just another way of sharing their content.

Ok, but how does it influence photography market? - you may ask - Isn't it a threat to the professionals? After all, everyone on Instagram is a photographer. 

That was my fear too at the beginning. Especially with all of the easy to use tools and filters. It turns out that the whole Insta phenomenon is what the photo industry was waiting for! 

Every serious business needs social media presence nowadays. It's one of the cheapest and best way to promote. No one can afford to miss out on such massive audience.  If you're not seen there you may as well not exist at all. Therefore businesses small and big need content to put onto their feeds. And because everything changes so quickly, they need more and more content.

And that, my friends, is a cake with a big, juicy and sweet cherry on top for photographers.  

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