Emmapazphotography is an Instagram account open to the public that is dedicated to the display of my own photography and videography work.
I found that the most important and integral reason for me to develop this digital artefact was to have a portfolio for my photography/videography that is easily accessible to my future employers/clients. Instead of walking around with a printed, bulky portfolio that is easily damaged and harder to handle, Instagram provides a platform to have a portfolio that is a lot more mobile and everything can be displayed in one location that is familiar to most as Instagram has 1 billion active users to date. And no, i’m not the only person to have thought of this either… many photographers and videographers will use social media in order to showcase their work and use Instagram as a mobile portfolio, as you can see through the following profiles of local photographers/videographers Ainslee Burke and Kiama duo Two Folk Films.
Instagram is based on aesthetics… so of course, if you have better photos and a better profile layout, you will get more followers in comparison to someone who has an ugly feed (for the most part). So based on this, I wanted to post what I thought to be my strongest images in order to gain more traction and showcase my abilities to the fullest extent.
Besides displaying my own work, I wanted to use emmapazphotography to promote people who may not have had the opportunity otherwise. What I mean by this is, I don’t take photos of models or people who are in front of the camera professionally. I thrive in showcasing the photos/videos of individuals who do not necessarily fit the generic “model” stereotype.
Another imperative part of being a part of the Instagram community is post consistency. Consistency really helps out with following as I have seen with my personal account, but when it comes to taking photos of other people for emmapazphotography, especially being a full-time university student with two additional jobs, it becomes extremely complex to book a shoot with another individual. So this lack of time has severely put a downer on my digital artefact growth.
In my opinion It’s hard to make iterations of your own brand when it comes to photography/videography. The reason being is that working in this field, you have to establish your own style. Whether you want to adapt this style to what is “trending” is up to the individual, but I believe that it’s almost watering down your distinctive brand if you are simply mimicking what the public wants.
There are many inspirations that started the evolution of emmapazphotography and were an integral part of finding the style and patterns that I wanted to work with. E.T. Rouleau is a photographer/videographer based in Wollongong who I have personally worked with before, but I happened to be in front of the camera rather than behind. He works with aesthetics and plays with the overall layout of his profile as shown within the image below.
On a larger scale @josephyates_ on Instagram is based internationally, with a way larger following, and an enormous equipment budget to match. Overall, Joseph is more developed both as a creative and as a social media platform collaborator. I find that his use of both photography and videography on his profile is a major influence on my own work and profile layout.
Taking myself out of the equation, in its simplest form, I wanted emmapazphotography to be something that people like to look at. I want it to be a profile that people want to follow so they have aesthetically pleasing images on their feed and continue to like the content i’m bringing to the public.
At the beginning of my digital artefact, I went through my photograph archives and decided to post photos that I had already taken. I didn’t put much thought into what I necessarily wanted my feed to look like, I just knew that I needed to start with something. So I uploaded an array of different photos including portraits, landscapes and other creative endeavours that I had been apart of.
As I continued on, I found that I wanted to stick more with the human aspect of photography and videography and steer more in that direction. I thought more about how photos looked alongside each other and used the IOS application Plan to preview the layout of my Instagram.
In doing so, i’ve been able to develop my profiles aesthetic appeal to a higher degree, thus creating a larger following and increased interaction with my work.
First image I uploaded. Most recent upload.
This particular iteration follows a quote by Zappavigna (2016) closely: “A user’s stream of images is an unfolding construal of identity in which the particular phenomena photographed are a presentation of personal style”. The more I continued to upload, the more I found what type of feel and content I wanted to produce.
Not only has my content changed, but the intention of my content has also changed. It has gone from initially just uploading images in order to show my photography in a different place other than my personal profile, to using it as a portfolio and looking at a progressive longevity of the profile instead of short term. Instagram is being used in museums and I want my Instagram to be looked at like a museum in itself.
I’ve personally used hashtags to promote my photos on my personal Instagram many times. Why do people do it? To put simply… it works. And this is the reason why I chose to use it for my digital artefact Instagram profile too. I started off by typing into Google “Most popular Instagram hashtags” and then used those in my captions. And although this worked in gaining additional likes, it dawned on me that this might not be the best approach. The reason being is that because I was using the most popular hashtags, my photos will diminish extremely quickly because there are so many people using the same hashtags as I am. As suggested by Giannoulakis and Tsapatsoulis (2016), selecting hashtags that heavily describe your image content could eliminate training points but are more effective for targeting a particular region. I want to be able to use hashtags that accomodate all regions, rather than try to accomodate a specific one. So what I decided to do was use relatively popular hashtags that will still give me traction, but not the “most popular” ones known to Instagram.
As mentioned previously, my feedback and social interactions have increased on the profile, which are also attributed to the change in the way I utilize hashtags.
One of the most important strategies for Instagram profile growth is being consistent with your content generation. And this is one thing that I have not yet mastered. In all honesty, I find posting consistently extremely difficult to do and this is due to a variety of different reasons such as time constraints, lack of motivation to shoot or edit, making use of other obligations or providing more effort to my personal account. In saying this, I actually attempted to be consistent with my work, but this only lasted for a few days. Due to the fact that I hadn’t maintained the consistency, I didn’t receive a lot of results in terms of additional likes or comments, but this is something that I expected in the outcome. For my future posting, I want to plan when i’m going to post in more detail, and I believe the easiest way for this to be achieved is by doing more shoots, thus having more photos to be able to edit and post.
At the beginning stages of my digital artefact, I didn’t have any intentions to use the highlights tab on my profile. Essentially, the highlights portion of Instagram allows you to put photos and videos into categories and titles of your choice, as displayed below.
But after not liking the visual appeal of posting videos onto my profile, I decided I needed to put them elsewhere and the highlights tabs seemed to be the perfect fit. Within my “WONDERS” highlights tab on my profile, I have videos capturing the subjects of the images I post, with their Instagram names captioned to promote their profiles. I have received extremely positive feedback in doing so, but all of the feedback has been verbal, not online. Regardless of the location of the feedback, it still means that people are liking the addition to the profile and I will continue to utilize this with new subjects.
Overall, I think the iterations to my digital artefact have given me the foundation to further my Instagram profile. Through consistency and promotions, I hope to see my profile grow steadily into the future.
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