Using Instagram Filters on a Photographer’s Photos

Published: March 31, 2017

Instagram is a great photo sharing site. It is the love and bane of photographers. Photographers love Instagram because it allows us to share our photos and is the exact medium of what we do. Unlike Facebook, Instagram is meant for photography.

Why then do photographers hate this beloved social network so much? It is the Instagram filters.

Client Requests

The first terrible thing is when clients ask to have a particular Instagram filter applied to an image. Those filters are specific to Instagram. We can recreate those looks, but they are designed for the social network. Asking a photographer to use a particular set of filters is like asking a Sushi chef to cook you a steak. He can do it, but it isn’t his thing. Some photographers choose to do so, and that is their creative prerogative.

If you are hiring a particular photographer, understand that he or she has a particular style. If you don’t see their photos with Instagram filters on them, don’t ask them to add them to the photos. The photographer may not tell you that they don’t like doing it, but inside they secretly hate you.

Client Application

This is the worst. It is a slap in the face and a kick to the balls of the photographer. Here is how it plays out. The client likes the style of the photographer enough to hire him or her. Likes the images enough as they were shown to purchase those images. Then takes those images and applies Ludwig or Gingham to the photos. This is the same person that walks through an art museum with a crayon and draws mustaches on all the Renaissance portraits. Oh, wait, that is illegal and they have guards to prevent it.

This is a two-fold evil. First by saying the photographer doesn’t know what he or she is doing when they processed the image. Second, it leads other potential clients to think that is the photographer’s style. Neither of those issues even touches who actually owns the copyright on the images.

Correct Approach

Here is the right way to ask. First, look through the photographer’s work on their website. If you see an image that you like there, save it. Show that image to the photographer and tell him or her what it is that you like about it. Some examples of what you like might be:

  • Posing
  • Lighting
  • Color vs. B&W
  • Mood
  • Crop

If you don’t see any images in the portfolio with the style you like, then ask the photographer if images you have collected from Pinterest are within what he or she is willing to produce. Be prepared to talk about what you like about each of the images and what you want to recreate from those images.

For example, I am not known for “light and airy” images, my friend Ashley DePencier Photography is. I tend to produce images with a more dramatic look to them. Am I capable of producing “light and airy.” Yes, but it isn’t my specialty. Try to stay close to the photographer’s style when asking them to produce one of your favorite Instagram filters. This will ensure you get images closer to the style you want and of a better quality.

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