Instagram is Dying — For Photographers

Instagram is a dying platform for photographers.

Still shocking to me, I’ve gotten a lot of followers on the Fuji X Weekly Instagram account over the last two years: over 25K right now! I topped 10K followers on May 11, 2021, and 25K on July 9, 2022—it has grown 150% in roughly 14 months. That’s amazing, and all thanks goes to you! I never thought that was possible.

When I reached 10K followers I signed up for a business account. While it certainly has its benefits, it also has one huge negative: Instagram wants me to pay them money to show you, my followers, my posts. They purposefully hide your content from your own followers—if someone seeks it out they will find it, but it won’t show up in their feed—unless you pay Instagram a fee. My engagement dropped in half the instant I signed up for the business account. You might think that engagement—likes, comments, shares, etc.—would have grown at the same rate as the followers, but not so. The average post at 25K has a similar engagement as a post at 10K prior to signing up for a business account. While my followers have increased by 150%, my engagement has only increased by 100%—back to where it was before Instagram cut it in half.

Instagram is a great place to feed your envy. There are people whose pictures suck that have 100K or more followers and are basically earning an income from Instagram. There are people who capture amazing pictures who have less than two hundred followers. I’ve seen both of those circumstances personally, and maybe you have, too. Now I’m not the world’s greatest photographer by any means. I see many, many photographers who are more talented than I who have fewer followers, and I also see the opposite, too. Nobody’s self-worth should come from Instagram, and the followers and engagement (or lack of it) don’t actually mean anything. Unfortunately, it’s more of a popularity contest than anything else; however, Instagram is a good way to connect with others across the world.

Once upon a time Instagram was the place to see wonderful photographs. You could find a lot of inspiration. It still is, but less so now. Why? Instagram (which is owned by Facebook/Meta) recently claimed that engagement in still photographs is down nearly 50% over the last two years, so that’s why they’re focusing on video. I call B.S. on this.

I know two things: Instagram will hide your content if they want to, and Instagram (Meta, actually) doesn’t like competition. Whenever a new social media app comes along that Meta perceives as a threat, they buy it; if they can’t buy it, they make their own version of it to incorporate into their own apps. Right now that competition is TikTok, and since Meta can’t buy it (I’m sure they tried at one point), they’re becoming “TikTok” in order to win—at the expense of you, the photographer.

I believe that Instagram has put into place algorithms to suppress still photography and simultaneously push video content (Reels, as they call it). Then they say that still photography is dying and video is booming, so they need to be video-centric. They’re paying people money to publish videos. I’m not a video guy myself, but by far my most popular post on Instagram is a Reel, with triple the engagement of my most popular still-photography post. Is it because you all are more interested videos, or because Instagram wants you to be more interested in video? In my opinion they’re trying to transform their app into TikTok, which means that photography needs to take a back seat.

You can still be successful on Instagram as a photographer. Since Instagram is pushing Reels so hard, you might consider using those to show your pictures (instead of a traditional post, or in addition to it). I’m personally not a fan of what Instagram is becoming, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. A lot of people have discovered my Film Simulation Recipes through Instagram. I’ve made a lot of connections (I get about 50 DMs on IG each day!), and even made some friends. There are definitely still some positives.

I do think the time is ripe for an Instagram-alternative for photographers. I know that many have tried, and no one has really succeeded. I don’t know what its unique shtick should be, but there has to be something that sets it apart. Money is obviously an obstacle, because everyone wants a free app, but an app like that would be expensive to produce and maintain. I don’t have the solution, but I do know that an opportunity exists right now for someone who thinks that they might have the solution.

Now it’s your turn! Do you like or dislike how Instagram is evolving? Would you try an Instagram alternative if there was a good one? Is there a current app that you prefer to Instagram and why? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to check out my Apps!

The Fuji X Weekly Moment CineBloom Giveaway Winners!

The Fuji X Weekly Moment CineBloom Giveaway has ended! I want to give a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated—there were over 400 submissions! The winners, who were randomly selected, are:
@alex_fricke_365
@stephen.wells
@bruce_martin_photographe
@fotografik_westphalen
@henrikbratt

Congratulations to these five winners! I know you will appreciate using the filters!

CineBloom diffusion filters are a great way to take the “digital edge” off of your photographs, giving them an analog-like feel. Diffusion filters have been popular in cinematography for awhile, and people are beginning to realize that they’re great for still photography, too. These filters pair especially well with my Film Simulation Recipes, and are a wonderful tool for the JPEG photographer.

I want to give a huge shout-out to Moment for teaming up with Fuji X Weekly to make this giveaway possible! They did it because they’re big fans of this website, Fujifilm cameras, film simulation recipes, and the Fujifilm community. Moment’s website (shopmoment.com) is definitely one of the better camera stores out there (yet, really, they are so very much more than just “a camera store”). If you’ve never visited Moment, be sure to do so—you can thank me later.

Even though the Fuji X Weekly Moment giveaway has ended, please continue to use the #fujixweeklymoment hashtag on Instagram. I love seeing your Fuji X Weekly moments, and I hope you continue sharing them!

Also, while I’m here, if you haven’t downloaded the Fuji X Weekly App, be sure to do so. It’s free, and available for both Android and Apple. If you are looking for a way to support Fuji X Weekly and all that I’m doing for the community plus unlock the best app experience, consider becoming a Fuji X Weekly Patron (available in the app)!

#FujiXWeekly Episode 002 – Your Instagram Photos Are Impressive!

I just published Episode 002 of the #FujiXWeekly video series on the Fuji X Weekly YouTube Channel!

Fuji X Weekly is on Instagram, and when I created that account I also created the hashtag #fujixweekly. I’ve noticed that many of you are also using that hashtag, and since I follow it, whenever you post using #fujixweekly your pictures show up in my feed. You guys are creating some impressive images! It’s very inspiring to me, so I wanted share that with everyone.

Please keep using #fujixweekly on Instagram. I’ll pick some of the pictures to showcase in the next video. Obviously I can’t use all of them, but I’ll pick some that I find interesting. If you used one of my film simulation recipes, include which one you used in the description if you don’t mind. I’d love to know which recipes you guys are using!

I appreciate every one of you! Keep up the great work! Below I’ve included a link to everyone’s Instagram accounts who had pictures in the video above. Be sure to check out their work!

@503_x100v
@max_street_photography
@leongoossens_film
@jassonwu0529
@alensinthelandscape
@neopanacros
@yongjie1220
@hugovangool.nl
@smile_n_shoot
@1080paolo
@apollokreed
@mirrorlessron
@dennyf
@effzwo.thommy
@seize_the_moment
@cederaiz
@fujisbyjakob
@spicy.eye
@drjkgas
@kato.dng

New Video Series: #fujixweekly

 

I posted a new video on the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel today! It’s the first in a new series that I hope to do once or twice a month, maybe weekly if I can manage my time better. It’s a short yet very important video because it features your pictures!

If you didn’t know, Fuji X Weekly is on Instagram. When I created that account I also created the hashtag #fujixweekly. I’ve noticed that many of you are also using that hashtag, and since I follow it, whenever you post using #fujixweekly your pictures show up in my feed. You guys are creating some wonderful images! It’s very inspiring to me, so I wanted share that with everyone.

Please keep using #fujixweekly on Instagram. I’ll pick some of the pictures to showcase in the next video. Obviously I can’t use all of them, but I’ll pick some that I find interesting. If you used one of my film simulation recipes, include which one you used in the description if you don’t mind. I’d love to know what you guys are using!

I appreciate every one of you! Keep up the great work! Below I’ve included a link to everyone’s Instagram accounts who had pictures in the video above. Be sure to check out there work!

@vincent.images
@jamiechancetravels
@damlandberg.photography
@guyfromtor
@drjkgas
@camandcoffee
@sampl_images
@raphvikkivoyages
@rolandfelberphotography
@leoncinialain
@effzwo.thommy

Also, I want to give a big “Thank You” to my wife, Amanda, who put this video together. Really, this was her work, not mine. She did such a fantastic job with all of the editing! Amanda is an important behind-the-scenes member of the Fuji X Weekly team, and the YouTube channel especially is much better because of her talents. Thank you, Amanda!

Fuji X Weekly is now on Instagram

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I’ve been on and off Instagram a few times over the years. I think it can be a fun way to share one’s photographs, but there are things about it that I don’t care a whole lot for. There’s a lot that’s fake, such as people buying likes and followers in hopes of reaching fame and fortune. I’ve been away from it for a number of months and it has been nice. If you are ever feeling frustrated with Instagram, I highly recommend stepping away from it for a period of time, perhaps six months or a year. It feels really good, like a social media cleanse. It helps to reaffirm what is and isn’t important in life. And Instagram is most assuredly unimportant.

With the growing popularity of Fuji X Weekly, I get asked frequently what my Instagram handle is. People are interested in seeing my photographs in a different forum than this blog. People also want to share their Instagram feed with me. I figured that it was a good time to jump back in, so I created a Fuji X Weekly Instagram page. Search for @fujixweekly and it should pop right up. I invite you to follow me. If you do, I will check out your feed as well, time permitting. That “time permitting” statement is an important one as I do not intend to spend gobs of time on Instagram. I like social media to take up a very small space in my life. Other things come first, and that’s a priority for me.

If you’d like, follow Fuji X Weekly on Instagram by typing @fujixweekly in the search box on your app. I hope to keep it interesting and fresh so that it’s worth your time and attention, but I also don’t want it to become time-consuming. It will be a balancing act for sure. Hopefully it is one small thing that I can do to improve the experience of this blog.