Social media to some people can be a joke. Social media to some people can even be pointless. For me, social media connects me with many around the world and helps me share my hobby to others.
Starting in November of 2016, I started a photography account with the handle @michelleg_photography. Just for fun, I posted various portraits of my friends, nature pictures and mostly staged photos. Slowly, I gained followers, mostly my friends and family.
Following many inspirations and role models of mine that are into photography, I started copying what they did: using hashtags, giving shout-outs and more. I started trying out long exposure photography, microphotography and played with various settings while in manual mode.
Photographers on Instagram started to follow me and direct message me, asking me questions or complimenting me on my work. Complements always surprise me because sometimes, I believe I really am not doing my best.
I started to really cherish my hobby of photography freshman year, mostly because I always played soccer, from the time I walked until senior year of high school and it was a way to relieve stress. Wanting to focus 100 percent on college and trying soccer for a season on Cabrini’s team, I decided to put my mind to school and quit my passion, for the time being, meaning I had no outlet to relieve stress.
Photographing a game, for example, is a way to concentrate on certain athletes within a split second, seeing their initial feelings in their eyes or how their body language is at that very moment. Through the viewfinder, I see a movie and I click my favorite parts with the shutter button, sometimes before they even happen.
It was not until a stranger who was a photographer and on Instagram messaged me, saying I should consider sticking to a theme, that I decided to not post as many portraits and long exposure and focus on action shots.
Many photographers have a theme on their social media platforms and because I was covering many themes, it was hard to gain followers that were always interested.
That message, I believe, made my account explode with more views and followers. I value other peoples’ opinions— maybe more than I should— and this Instagram really boosted my confidence in photography.
My Instagram is part of my portfolio when asked for one before photographing an event. I have met so many friends through the Instagram that I go to school with and even those that have professional jobs, taking pictures.
On Oct. 22, @michelleg_photography hit 1,000 followers and I was speechless. Followers and people interested in my account go up and down every day, but to actually hit 1,000 followers made me realize that this account has become kind of legit.
After photographing an event for a school, opening new plans to the building, I used all the money earned for more accessories for the camera I have.
I am excited to learn more, create new friendships and see where this hobby takes me.