If you’re a photographer and you’ve been using Instagram for a long time, then you’re probably sick of it unless you’re in the very small percentage of folks who are actual photographers and not something else. What do I mean by that? It’s no secret that the biggest accounts aren’t those of actual photographers. Instead, Instagram is just a portal to the lives of other people. It isn’t really about the photography, but there are platforms that are.
Arguably, the most famous of these is VSCO.
It’s true: as awesome as Behance and EyeEm are they don’t have the allure and appeal that VSCO does. Why? Because VSCO is sexy. For years, they’ve been the community that pushes filters, then adjustments, then your own personal journal, then collections, etc. And with the company’s newest interface change I seriously believe that it’s time for us as photographers to start flocking to a new spot.
Let’s be honest, it’s not really cool anymore to be on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Instead, it’s just what you have to do in the same way that serious photographers need a website (there are seriously great reasons as to why you need one and it’s rare for those of us who don’t have one to fully succeed.) Now, Instagram is just an essential for any business whether you’re a creative or not.
But if you want something just for creatives, then VSCO is probably the best thing for us. Lots of the platform showcases work from people who genuinely actually create photos though there are some from those that capture them too.
The interface also makes things incredibly even as a playing field. For those of you who complain that you never make it into the Explore section of Instagram or that someone is stealing your photo to make their feed better, you should consider the way that VSCO works. On your profile you’ve got the photos you’ve uploaded, your curated collections that you’ve found and really appreciated across the VSCO platform and your own Journal.
All of this integrates into the way you search and your main feed. Said feed is only comprised of stuff that you go ahead and search for: to that end VSCO and its algorithm don’t play favorites.
If someone follows you, then they genuinely like your work and they want to see it in their feed. They found you because you used hashtags and methods to ensure that they could find you. That means you actually need to learn, you know, how to do that. For the most part the tagging system is pretty organic too: no #latergram, #instabeaty, etc. When you tag a photo, the hashtags get hidden.
So when you combine:
- A feed with stuff that you NEED to go out, find and curate
- The ability to search through journal entries, images specifically and people who associate themselves often with tags
- Little influence from the company itself to make it nowhere near a gameified system
- The fact that most people who aren’t creative can’t pronounce VSCO
You’ve got a winner for us. Truly, only those with the most appealing work are the ones that will progress–the cream will rise to the top. And it will work for both curators and creators.