‘Say Cheese’: How Social Media has changed photography



Growing up, photos were generally taken at certain milestones and celebrations such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, holiday get-together, vacations, etc. – you get the idea.  Your camera needed film to capture a moment and you made sure everything was in its place before you took the shot.  You had no idea how the picture would turn out – was everyone looking at the camera, did Aunt Carole blink or I hope no one has those dreaded red eyes.  Once the film was used up, it was then taken to the developer and you waited in suspense to see the results. Duplicates were made and then shared with friends and family.  Photo were placed in books to be enjoyed as keepsakes.

With the onslaught of digital cameras and most importantly phones, coupled with social media, the art of photo-taking and sharing has changed dramatically.  The fact is that people have a camera via their phones with them every breathing moment.  Taking a ‘great’ photo has never been easier.  You can take numerous shots until you have the one you desire.   It is fast, cheap, and now easier to share.  People can snap their meal, the humorous billboard they just saw or the great sunset and share them with their social media friends via Facebook or Instagram. Everyone is a potential celebrity. Don’t get me started on selfies.

Nowadays, it seems that social media is now shaping how advertisers want to be seen.  Advertisers are changing their traditional format to one that closely resembles images that one  sees on Facebook or Instagram.  Getty Images sees a trend whereby content developers want to mimic the images that individuals are creating – spontaneous, unpolished and authentic. According to Getty Images, the filters that people used to enhance images in the past are giving way to a more raw image, “It’s no longer enough to look at the picture, we want to be in the picture.”


So here is my thought.  Ever since the camera was invented, people have been fascinated with the image produced.  The ability to capture a moment in time is well…timeless. But, has social media made us less focussed on the staging of photos and more obsessed with the sharing of the random things we capture every day?


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4 thoughts on “‘Say Cheese’: How Social Media has changed photography

  1. Andrea,

    Great post. It is unreal that we have the ability and technology to not only collect memories but to get the quality we can with with our phones. This is a rapid moving industry. I can’t even imagine what we will be able to do in the next few years.

  2. Hi Andrea,

    Definitely a thought-provoking subject! I love how social media has changed photography. Instead of the few photos we have of our great-great-grandparents, people today live their lives with thousands of photos capturing thousands of moments throughout their lives. We are not rigidly posed and dressed in our Sunday Best; we are more authentic in our photos and these photos capture more of our personalities than in the past. Sure, we are choosing which moments to capture and share, and typically highlight the best, but it is still a much more realistic view of who we are compared to that of previous generations.

  3. Thanks for your great comment. Technology has given us the flexibility to capture any moment we want to preserve. Photos taken in the past were quite staged. When I was looking at images on the internet from the 70’s and 80’s I couldn’t believe how staged they were and then I remembered that I have a lot like that too – they are quite humorous to look at now.

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