Have you noticed that Photographers have lost their creativity on Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter? Creative photography used to be all about artistic expression, now it’s just about copying everyone else.
So it has been a hot second since I have created any Tiktoks. Considering just over a year ago I ran a very successful Tiktok channel, had thousands of followers, and that following eventually led to me starting a YouTube channel with over 10k subscribers, you would think I would still be making Tiktoks right?
Not so much.
Why? Well, the biggest reason was that Tiktok didn’t want me. My first account went from 0 followers to over 500k followers in only a few months, and then I got my first Tiktok ban. So I started a second account, grew that one to 250k followers in less than a month, and got a second ban. Now I am on my third account, but by this point, I was tired and wanted to focus on other things, like my photography.
Now, many months later I decided I wanted to start making Tiktoks that focus on photography, and today I decided to hop onto Tiktok and scan around some videos to see what other photographers were posting. After only 10-15 minutes of scrolling, I was utterly disappointed. Going onto Tiktok I was literally able to find hundreds of photographers, but every single one of them was doing different variations of the same video.
- Complaining about clients asking for RAW files – Not creative photography
- Complaining about shooting weddings – Not creative photography
- Complaining about clients – Not creative photography
- The “I am a photographer and I took this picture” trend – Sort of Creative Photography
- Complaining about “having” to always take pictures at family events – Not creative photography
- Complaining about Instagram and having to make Tiktoks or Reels now – Not creative photography
- Complaining about not getting likes and/or comments – Not creative photography
Now there is A LOT to unpack here, but here are a few of my thoughts upfront.
- Why are we complaining about our industry and job? Many photographers went freelance/full-time to escape working the 9-5. To be our own boss, and to have both financial and personal freedom. So maybe we should stop complaining about all the things that bring us the very things we wanted before we became photographers.
- Why are we just copying what others are doing? As photographers we are artists. Each one of us has our own style and creative expressions, and we SHOULD bring those talents and skills to our videos. Stop copying everyone else and let’s find a way to tell our own personal stories through video.
- As photographers we want our pictures to mean something. We want our clients to like what we create, and more importantly, we ourselves should like the art we produce. Basing your self-worth on how many likes you get is akin to being in grade school and being upset because you didn’t get enough valentines. The internet is fickle and the opinions of the internet en mass should never matter to you. As long as both you and your client like what you’ve created you should be grateful.
- I will admit I do get a little irritated when family members assume you will do the photographs for a family event, but also I love being able to take photos of my family and create a piece of art that will make my whole family smile. For example, the photo below is of a recent beach trip with my WHOLE family. The photo was a quick accident, but I loved it, and edited it because it captured what and who my family really is. I see everyone’s personalities and senses of humor in it. When I see that photo I do not see a staged fake photo of my family…I see the real family that I grew up with. That is worth a lot to me.
- Finally, there are a lot of complaints about Instagram changing its algorithm. There is one constant in this world…Change. The world is very different today than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or 30. Every time the world changes people will complain. But, the people who can adapt, improvise, and overcome will be the ones who are successful in this world. So instead of spending energy complaining, figure out how to succeed in this new world where video matters.