Social media is anti-social and photographers need Alternatives to Instagram and social sites.

Do you NOT post because you’re unsure? What, where, and is this OK?

We have a major social media problem in Photography.

Remember the days when Instagram was for photos and you saw what people you followed shared instead of being spammed with video reels meant to generate clicks?

Facebook was the same. You posted and your friends and fans saw. Instantly. Not anymore! People don’t really follow you. They join a platform to be cleverly spammed by algorithms.

Social media has become a scam perpetrated by the biggest media companies on the planet. They create no content and you are the merchandise!

Share your photos. Get get on both groups gearted to real photo talk…

Join the Facebook group hereJoin the Flickr Group here.

As photographers we capture history and we tell stories that will never be told again- Mexico City 2023

We need to stop being only in ONE place.

Does this fit my audience, Does it break any rules? Does it fit my grid? Am I allowed to express this? Will it get ignored for videos of girls shaking booty? Yes, it will!

If you were in business around 2008 you probably invested a lot on your Facebook page. Because it worked People followed and saw your effort. Then Facebook took that away and made pages nothing more than a place to run ads.

These sites are about profit now so they will show whatever the algorithm thinks it can squeeze the most from. This sucks as artists. But photographers are also journalists.

We have important stories and messages. Censoring artists and journalists will change the world in a very bad way!

Portra 400 look from Filmist film presets.

But you have to be sensational Gav.

I don’t use that word in a good way. If you post something it has to outrage or amaze. Mocking comments and toxic posts are rewarded while thoughtful ones are ignored. You’ve no doubt seen this in many photo groups that are essentially driven by trolls.

“Platforms know that anger and sesnatislism keep us glued to the set. They mad it work this way to keep us enagdged, angry, commenting, and coming back.

I still have Instagram. But the truth is unless you play the algorithm game, it’s dead. That game mostly means short videos or sensationalized photos that go viral and have no relation to why we signed up. To share our ideas.

We need alternatives to Instagram and Facebook for photographers. We need places without constant censoring. We need a place to share with each other as photographers and learn and have real conversations.

Yellowstone National Park. 10 Second exposure.
Yellowstone National Park. 10 Second exposure.

They censor you but not to protect you!

The algorithm demands you do things to get attention. But if you do it wrong or policies change you are punished. Often in ways that make no sense and with no recourse. Your invenstment lost.

This is happening every day to creators on YouTube, Facebook, and beyond who did nothing wrong. And the censorship is not to protect. It’s to protect the bottom line. The money.

If filtering was there to protect you, censoring would be settings on YOUR account that told the platform what YOU want to see. Everything, disturbing new, naked people, etc.

I often take photos I love but don’t share them because of how sites might punish me. I edited this with a platinum look in Emulsion 4 and used Naked Darkroom to finish the texture.

For now 2 places I made to share your photos and Shadow talk.

Shadow Hunter Facebook group.

Facebook pages are pretty much uselessyou pay now but groups can still be a great place to share and talk among other photographers.

Groups come with all the downsides of Facebook but the upside is everyone is there so it’s still a good place to share among each other even if it’s not a great place to share work publicly.

Flickr Shadow Hunters Flickr Group.

Flickr used to be the place to share photos. Then came Instagram which now sucks. So Flickr has made a comeback as a place not to be influencers but just to share our work, explore new photos, and talk about the craft.

We had a very active group back in the early Pro Photo Podcast days before the other platforms took over and I’ve brought it back so go join.

Flickr is also a bit less restrictive than Facebook so you can safely post boudoir work and such in this group, just keep it classy and maintain a good mix. Plus it works amazing on a desktop browser. Most try and force us to use mobile because they better control us there.

Fixing the bigger problem means people, not platforms.

We should never trust our life’s work to a corporate platform. We need to de-centralize. This is not my idea and is a growing sentiment. Here’s a recent Engadget video on the topic.

There are start-ups like Vero. I’m on there. But it’s inactive, discovery is terrible and you can’t use it from the desktop which is the same as saying they don’t take professionals seriously.

The internet was supposed to make us more free. But now we live in a world of near-constant censorship where platforms control our voices and even the news.

This is true of Facebook, YouTube, and nearly every major platform. We always have to worry about expressing ourselves for fear of being banned, not because we did something wrong but because we trigger a corporate algorithm that could affect profits.

I think that social media needs to be more decentralized. That is you post in the app you like, but people follow you on a decentralized app where they are still following you even if you are no longer on that app or platform. It takes the power away from corporate interests and puts it back with us.

RSS for example does this which is why podcasts like Pro Photography Podcast don’t have to bow to algorithms. But we need tools that go beyond that. It’s being talked about but I have yet to see a large-scale solution to this problem and I hope we will all keep fighting for it.

Our voices are at stake.

The streets of Mexico City were edited with the Ultra 400 preset from Filmist. But on some platforms, this could be censored even though it’s a part of the city.

For now, the solution is to diversify.

You’ve seen me doing this in the past year.

I use my email list. I blog. I re-started the Pro Photography Podcast because I saw the way YouTube has zero respect for creators and realized I should to NOT make it my entire focus.

Growing a website is important. But creating content on that site beyond just a photo album, building lists that have people who care, and looking for a way to de-centralize matters.

For now I hope you’ll join me on not just Facebook but Flickr so we can NOT keep everything in one place and keep conversion going and these platforms like Facebook screw us over again and again as rules and politics change.

Gavin Seim

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  1. I completely agree with your sentiments. Instagram is where I post my work but it has become horrible to use as I keep being blasted with pointless videos and ads that I don't want to see. I dread going onto it. I am a stills photographer and I only wish to view the work of stills photographers whose work I admire and whom I follow.
    However – in my opinion the only way IG can be superceded is if another mainstream social media platform takes over from where IG used to be at the beginning. Running a feed on a social media site takes a lot of time and I want to reach the general public, not just other photographers. Sites like Flickr and other specialist startups will always be limited in usefulness. When I am taking street portraits, I am constantly asked by the public where they can see my work and I direct them to my IG page because they have IG on their phone in their pocket.
    I sincerely hope that a giant such as Apple, Google or someone else will see the potential of a new social media group that isn't driven by selfish, narcissistic, greedy principles.

  2. Good Morning ??? Gavin, today is 6 November 2023,

    Gavin I have been reading your photography articles and using your presets for sometime now. I can't say how long for sure but it has been a while in the terms of years now. I also find it hard to believe that Adobe Lightroom ? was released way back in February 2007, sixteen years now wow, where did that time go. Sometimes my learning curve is straight up with photography then other times my learning curve falls like a rock. Over those sixteen years of just learning and using photography skills for shooting good photos and then to post-processing those photos in Lightroom Classic ? has been daunting and a struggle to getting the right light to. And in those sixteen years I had to sort out who knew what they were talking about because every person thought they were an expert when really they didn't know beans!

    Gavin you were one I could count on, you were a square shooter and never danced around the subject with extra bs that wasn't need, you said what you needed to do and pressed on. That was my reasoning why I stayed close and have always followed you. I do you use your presets for the most parts in my post-processing workflow of editing photos in Lightroom Classic ? which has been for 16 years. Do I use someone else's presets in Lightroom Classic ? ? I have tried other presets from other people but have thrown them away. Just your presets remain in my Lightroom Classic ? catalog.

    I did read your article that brought me here. I actually agree with your statements you stated.

    I wish I was a better photographer and smarter with Lightroom Classic ?, but I always keep pressing forward and trying. I will leave my Vaquero.Photography website address below for you to go into and view my photography and work. My wife is old culture Tex-Mex from the high plains of Lubbock,Texas, so this is how my photography became know as Vaquero.Photography. If you have any tips or ideas for me that would be great.

    1. Thanks Verne. It’s good to know you’re still here and still at it after all this time.

      Times have changes but we are coming full circle so keep at it as authentic photos will soon have more value than ever. Make sure you check out the podcast as we dig into this more.

      I tried do check out your site but it’s not loading at the moment so I’ll swing back later.

  3. While any number of alternative platforms avoid censorship, they mostly have smaller audiences. My "Casually Undraped" images of the nude figure are welcome, but only a small number of folks see them. Some photographer friends display their figure work on Facebook using pasties or blurs to hide what my British friends call "The Naughty Bits". I tried that once and deleted the images a short while later. I hated having my work defaced into FB compliance. MeWe seeks to be the uncensored FB alternative, but they haven't reached a critical mass of users. My own photo gallery website displays a collection of my work but generates very little traffic… Thanks for a chance to rant. GB…..

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim