One of the trends in photography over the last few years has been the rise of the “Instagram style.” Instagram is a photo filter app for smart phone camera images. While some people might call the look “retro” and a fad (like sepia tone or HDR?), taken as a whole, this set of filters has lead to a shift in what younger consumers see as acceptable photography.
Not sure what the Instagram style is? Google Instagram Style for examples, or go to DeviantArt.com, a popular website for young artists. As a professional, you’ll probably think the color is wrong, the images are under- or over- saturated, or they break any of a dozen rules. However, if you market your photography to seniors and young brides, I believe you should be showing a couple of images with these filters in your portfolio.
How to get started? There are dozens of free Photoshop actions online that can give you this look. Or if you have a smart phone, install the Instagram application.
How to market? Some pro photographers use Instagram filters on a few of their smartphone images uploaded to Facebook only. This shows a variety and “youthfulness” of their style without changing their overall brand. Others are adding 1-2 Instagram style images to their online portfolio.
How to sell? Take a shot with both a smart phone and your DSLR, apply a similar Instagram filter to both, and print sample 8×10’s. Be prepared to show your client the difference a professional photographer makes. Also be prepared for the fact that while young consumers might like the Instagram style, when it comes to putting money on the table, many will still prefer traditional prints.