If you’re interested in photography on any level at all, then the chances are excellent that you’re either already into Instagram or thinking about getting into it and with good reason. Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms out there today, but it’s especially popular with people that love taking and admiring photographs.

But what if you have more serious plans for your photography? What if you want to take an honest crack at going professional or semi-professional with your photos sometime in the near future? Here we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons Instagram brings to the table for more serious photography lovers.

The Advantages of Instagram

Instagram is as popular as it is because it’s so efficient when it comes to photo sharing. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s convenient thanks to the way users can maintain their accounts via their SmartPhones. When an interface is this simple and user-friendly, people are that much more likely to actually use it on a frequent basis.

If you’re new to photography and looking to get more feedback as far as the quality and impact of some of your shots, then Instagram can give you that. It’s also a great way to get used to sharing your work with others, as well as learn what does or doesn’t work when it comes to what you do. That’s an essential experience for every photographer.

If you’re not quite ready to enter your work in contests or look into opportunities to have it shown in local galleries, Instagram can be a great way to get your work out there and seen. It feels a lot less intimidating and it’s a great way to start building a following. When you are ready to start selling prints and services, you’ll already have an audience in place that you can market to.

The Disadvantages of Instagram

As far as the cons go, the biggest one is actually the flipside of the biggest pro. With platforms like Instagram – and even Facebook or Twitter – making photography so darned accessible and convenient to generate, there’s a danger of that same photography being devalued. More people than ever before are thinking of themselves as photographers and with Instagram in their corner, anyone with a mind to do so can develop at least the semblance of being a professional. This lowers the “rarity” factor that used to come attached to pretty much all professional level shots.

Another potential disadvantage to consider is the usage policy that takes effect once you sign up for an account. As is the case with any social media platform, Instagram reserves the right to reproduce or redistribute any of the images users upload. This means they can use your uploaded work in advertising and marketing campaigns (among other things) should they see fit. Definitely something to consider if you’re concerned with how, where, and in what context your work is seen or used.

All things considered, whether or not Instagram is right for you as an aspiring professional depends a lot on your values and concerns regarding your work. More specifically, you’ll need to determine whether or not gaining ease of use and the ability to build a following quickly is worth giving up at least some of your autonomy in regards to how your work is potentially used.