On Instagram AggregatorsSo, today on the show I'm going to go over some ground that I've seen trod upon many times already, but I'm not really sure side I fall on. The question is whether or not instagram is good for photographers. To be sure, I follow a lot of photographers on instagram, but there's something else I have found myself following lately, and here's where I have the issue. I'll call them photo aggregators. My beloved state of Maine, for example. I follow DownEast Magazine, which is to my mind the authority on the State of Maine. Their photography...hell, just their iconic magazine covers, are extraordinary. But then there are accounts like For the Love of Maine, which is an aggregator of Maine photography that they repost from other users. Yes, they credit those users, but who's getting the likes here? I find myself wondering what the clickthrough rate is from liking a photo on those accounts to following the person who actually took the photo, and realistically it can't be very high. It's not just Maine, though. Hell, there's Nantucket and Cape Cod aggregators, Black and White photo aggregators, there's minimal photography photos...I bet if you went to instagram and listed whatever your strangest geekdom is, there's probably an aggregator for it. So I have to ask the question if posting your work on Instagram is worth it if it's going to be appropriated by someone FOR THE GRAM.I suppose it comes down to a personal choice. Personally, if I post a photo of my work on Instagram and someone picks it up and reposts it, I would hope that person has approached me and asked for permission. I don't see that happening in a lot of these cases, but you never know. I would really be pissed off if someone took a photo of mine without permission and removed a watermark and I'd ask for them to remove it, but I'm not sure if I do anything other than shame them publicly if that were to happen. If that's happened on Instagram I haven't seen it.To be honest, I think there's a wider question to be asked about whether we need social media anymore If it's going to be weaponized against the creative specifically, and the general public as a whole. Would it surprise you that I'm leaning against removing myself from Instagram and Facebook completely? Maybe it shouldn't. I'm sensing a little shift in the earth here and I'm going to talk more about this on another show, but one thing I really want to address is the free as in beer mindset that a lot of social media marketers and those nebulous 'influencers' seem to operate on. That model depends on the ability of a person to work for 'exposure', for likes, for engagement, and for that person to be ok with ceding control of their work in the hopes that they can turn that exposure into dollars. I am less and less sure that ceding that control is worth it. I'm not saying that you don't put your work out there, of course you should. However, I think you need to be able to control how it's put out there, and I think there's only one way you do that. We'll talk about that in more detail next time. See what I did there? Monochrome In-Camera? YES, PLEASEThe more and more I shoot the more I prefer shooting in Black and White. There’s something about it that grabs me. One of the problems I’ve had time and time again was shooting something I thought would be amazing in Black and White only to bring it home and realize it was a great idea, but not a great shot. The reason I failed is simple: I’m shooting in color, I see in color, and I’m guessing about monochrome in my head. Turns out you can change that. I shoot with a Canon t5i, and here’s how you can change the Picture Style so your screen shows you a preview in Black and White (note: This is for the screen ONLY, your viewfinder will still show the world in glorious color). Also, my Canon camera has a touch screen function, but yours may not. For that reason, I’m going to give you the manual instructions. Adapt these instructions as appropriate.Press the MENU button, and then use the right-arrow button to the right of the LCD screen to scroll through the menu pages until you find Picture Style. Use the down-arrow button to highlight the line, and press the SET buttonUse the down arrow button to highlight Monochrome. Press the SET button again to select it, then press the MENU button to exit the menu.Obviously, you may shoot with another brand, but I’m sure many later model DSLR cameras have this ability. Consult your user manual or online knowledge base for instructions on how to do this for your camera. If you can get this right in-camera, you’ll have less to do in post.Oh, by the way: if you shoot in RAW, you can convert to color in the edit if you want. You’re not committing to monochrome by changing the screen. For All My iPhoneographersOf course, you know that the best camera is the one you have with you, and nine times out of ten, it’s the one on your phone. With that in mind, I’d like to give you some ideas about how to take your phone game to the next level. These tips will be for the native iPhone camera app, but I want to remind you that there are several apps out there that give you a lot more control. I personally recommend the Moment app, but you don’t need to buy an app to up your game. All you need is some knowledge.As human beings, we’re not stationary creatures. Even when you think. You’re standing perfectly; still, you’re not. In fact, if you were a Christmas Tree Stand, you’d be on the rug, and the house would be on fire. This is why sometimes when you take a picture on your iPhone, you go to the trouble of framing the shot, you try to stay perfectly still, yet the thing comes out blurry and out of focus. So next time, tap and HOLD on the subject of our picture. This will invoke the Auto Exposure/’Auto Focus Lock, and the camera will stay locked on to the subject no matter how much you move around. Then make sure you frame your shot and take that photo. The RPS ArchivesThe Royal Photographic Society has made their archives from March of 1853 to 2018 available for free online. Just let that sink in. That’s 165 years of history, captured in photos. Mindblowing. The Society covered the art and technical aspects of photography and the developments in those spaces, major events, and reported the activities of the Society itself. Even if you’re not a photography geek you might be a history geek, and this should be up your alley either way. I know more than a few Civil War Historians that might find this interesting, and I hope there’s something in there to get their mouths watering. I’m going down this rabbit hole as soon as possible, I encourage you to do the same.