Admit it…You’ve been there. You’ve posted a great image to Instagram or Facebook & checked back later only to be disappointed by how few likes it received. Bad thoughts ran through your head – the kind of thoughts that can do nothing but negative things to your love of photography. Is my photo bad? Am I not a good photographer? I NEVER get any likes – why should I keep taking photos if no one likes them? You have fallen into the ultimate social media trap – judging your photography by the number of likes you got.
Hold up! Stop right there. Likes don’t correlate to great photos. I have seen basic photos of flowers get 1000s of likes while some gorgeous epic photos get barely any. There are many factors that go into the numbers of likes you get, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that very few of them have to do with the quality of your photograph.
Things to remember the next time you judge your photos by the number of like likes you get
- If you don’t have a large audience, you aren’t going to get a lot of likes. For the most part, the number of likes you get correlates to your audience size. So, the first thing you need to ask yourself is: Are people even seeing my photo in the first place?
- Only a percentage of your followers actually see your photos. So even if you have a large audience, not all of your followers will see you photo. Meaning you really need to be realistic about your expectations around the number of likes you receive.
- Some of your followers are not even real. I hate to break it to you, bots are having their way with Instagram & other social media channels meaning most of us have fake followers. Most likely you’ll never get a like from one of them!
- Most people are quickly scrolling through their feeds and mindlessly liking photos. The inherent value of a like is not that great.
- What does make people hit like may have nothing to do with great photography. Bright colors, very clear subjects, cute things – the list goes on and on but the psychology behind a like doesn’t necessarily translate to things that make photos great.
- Your photos show up on tiny screens. Some of your best photos just won’t have the impact they would have say if they were printed and hung on a wall.
- Likes are often more about your relationship with your followers then what they think of your photo. If you aren’t actively engaging with your followers they will be less likely to actively engage with you.
- Your followers are not necessarily photography experts. I think it goes without saying that most people are not photography experts – I wouldn’t ask my Dad to judge my photo although I do appreciate when he likes one just like I wouldn’t ask one of my followers to judge my photo and understand that their like is more about their preference then my perfection.
- Social media platforms are not designed to reward free users. Social media platforms typically use advertising to get paid. Free users are necessary but the platforms don’t want to reward them because there would be no point to advertising if you could do it all yourself. Because of that – getting reach & likes without paying money isn’t easy.
So what should you judge your photos by?
Every photographer is unique. We all have our own way of seeing the world as well as our own goals for our photography. Deep down most of us know when we captured a good photo. Our hard work & instinct bring us to those moments. Trust in yourself as the artist. Work on believing what your gut is telling you. This is the best way to judge your photos because over time you build a style that is singular to you. No amount of likes can do that.