How to Have A Healthy Relationship With Social Media As An Active Photographer

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Social media isn't a person, but it's still something that billions of people have a relationship with.

If you're someone who spends a lot of time online, be it to grow your photography business or attract new followers to your work, it can be difficult to keep that relationship healthy. Popular accounts, alluring advertisements, and endless notifications can all distract you from your goals. Even worse, they can negatively affect your self-esteem.

As overwhelming as these side effects can be, they don't need to be a reason to quit social media for good. You can improve your relationship with social media at any point in your life.

Even a few simple changes can keep you inspired and prevent you from feeling like a failure in the photography community.

Set A Daily Time Limit

A friend of mine, who is an active Instagram user, recently told me that she sets a daily social media limit for herself. She spends only one hour on social media every day. This gives her enough time to look through her feed and post a few updates. Anything more than that would result in hours of wasted time.

As an active photographer, you might need more than that for your business, and that's okay. You're the only one who can decide how long you need to spend on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc., without ending up in a rabbit hole.

You can start with an app, like Moment or StayFree, that tracks how much time you spend online. Using the information you get, you can figure out how much of that time is wasted. You can also use an app like AppDetox to set an actual time limit. Once you reach it, you won't be able to keep using the app you're on.

Another handy tip to keep in mind is the 20/20/20 rule. This is meant to prevent you from straining your eyes and help you re-focus.

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Don't Be Afraid To Unfollow Or Mute Accounts That Make You Feel Insecure

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There are many popular photography accounts out there. Many of them are inspiring feature accounts, while others are individuals with millions of followers. Seeing these numbers can distort your view of reality. You might subconsciously compare yourself to these people and feel unsuccessful.

Celebrity accounts can have a similar impact on your self-esteem. Their seemingly perfect lives might make you feel like you haven't done enough in your life.

The truth is that many of these accounts don't represent their creators accurately, and that's okay. Most social platforms don't promise to show us the real version of life. What matters is how you approach this.

Instagram has a handy tool that lets you mute accounts. If a friend's gallery makes you feel uncomfortable, you don't need to unfollow them to avoid seeing their posts. They won't know that you muted them.

If a certain celebrity or famous photographer makes you feel insecure about your work, unfollow them. If you're afraid of missing out on their work, consider following them on another platform. Photography websites like Flickr tend to be less addictive than platforms like Instagram.

At the end of the day, your health matters more than who you follow online.

Don't Be Afraid to Take Breaks

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As an active photographer, you probably feel the need to be present at all times. This means responding to comments and regularly sharing your photos. Active accounts that have some kind of posting routine tend to draw the most attention. It makes sense to want to be online as much as possible.

Fortunately, there are apps that can help you stay on track without your presence. They can post photos on a specific date, even when you're away. A few popular ones are Hopper HQ and Viraltag. All you have to do is create a schedule.

Marketing apps like these can give you the opportunity to spend more time with your camera than with your phone. You don't need to be gone for a month. Even a day without social media can refresh your mind and prevent you from getting tired of social media.

Customise Your Push Notifications

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Most apps have push notifications that are meant to notify you when something happens on your page. You can even get push notifications that tell you when another account has posted something.

As handy as they are, they can be very distracting. They can stop you from working on something important and force you to lose your train of thought.

If you don't need them to run your business successfully, you might want to limit them. Most push notification settings can be customised. For example, you can get push notifications only when someone that you follow interacts with your work.

Don't Post Your Photos And Updates Immediately

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Photo by JD Chow

It can be tempting to share a behind-the-scenes shot or a new favourite image immediately. It's wonderful to want to include people in your work, but it can take you away from the present moment. Instead of being available all the time, choose to share your best moments a little later.

Because of this, you won't be tempted to zone out and focus on how your image looks. You won't need to waste time on picking the right filter, inventing a witty caption, or whatever it is that you like to do after a photoshoot.

Furthermore, this will give you enough time to figure out if your favourite shot is actually your favourite. Sometimes, we need an extra 24 hours to look at our work from a different perspective.

Final Thoughts

Relationships of all kinds need boundaries. Social media is no exception to this.

A few simple boundaries can significantly boost your confidence, improve the quality of your work, and help you stay in the present moment. You can achieve all of these things without compromising your business or losing touch with your followers.

If you keep this up, you're likely to notice a change in your relationship with social media. With time, it's likely to go from being a source of exhaustion to a place where you can thrive as an active photographer.

photo by georgia de lotz
Photo by Georgia de Lotz

To learn more about the relationship between social media and photography, check out the links below.

Further Reading:

  1. Love, Like Or Hate It? Social Media And Your Photography
  2. How Photographers Can Dominate Social Media
  3. Social Media, Photography And The Problem Of Likes
  4. 4 Simple Ways To Get Your Work Noticed On Social Media
  5. Ask Yourself This – Is Social Media ACTUALLY Benefiting Your Photography Business?
  6. How Photographers Can Optimize A Social Media Presence For Growth And Quality

About Author

Taissia is a professional photographer and educator.

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