Instagram: 150,000,000 Photos Later
I understood it was new when I started using it, but I don't think I knew that it was only one week after it launched when I took my first Instagram shot on my iPhone on that fateful Wednesday, 13 October 2010 (Instagram was launched the week before on the 6th). It seemed to be the natural successor to my Project 365 at the time. Indeed it was, but it has been so much more.
Instagram has just celebrated their 150th million photo shared via its service. They are seeing Instagrammers sharing photos at the rate of 15 photos per second. They have also seen incredible growth since launching with more than 7 million users now.
For those uninitiated, Instagram is a free app in the Apple App Store (currently only for iOS devices) which allows you to share your stories via photos and words. It is Twitter meets Flickr in a sense. Like Twitter, you follow people and people can follow you. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it is thousand more than what you can convey in a 140 character tweet on Twitter.
People use Instagram in various different ways. Some use it share snapshots that they take with little fuss at all while others will use it an artistic medium and of course there are that fall in between there somewhere. You can apply more than a dozen different filters available in the app to give your image a look or mood which you want to convey, though you need not apply anything at all. Some use to extend their photography in the mobile space, while others use it to discover the world of photography.
Personally I love seeing how far you can push an iPhone photograph. Almost all my postings are iPhone shots (unless otherwise noted. I only share an occasional non-iPhone photo when I want to share something which I don't have a choice, such as a shot I took before the iPhone was even invented). I also try to keep the "insta" in Instagram. So I aim to share photos immediately after taking them or within 24 hours of taking them, though sometimes it's not possible). So there are some exceptions. I also keep my shots within the square format offered by Instagram.
Before Instagram I would never had imagined the amount of post processing of photographs I would be doing right on my iPhone (see Ten Go-To Apps for iPhone Photography). Prior to sharing my iPhone photos via my Project 365 and especially Instagram after it, I would simply post process them on my desktop computer after syncing my iPhone to it. Maybe I would then share them via Flickr or directly on a website such as here. Now I am sharing directly from the iPhone itself and as I stated before, it is fun working within the constraints of the iPhone. It has also made me appreciate the 1:1 square format so much more now. Whereas beforehand, I may had just a handful of 1:1 aspect ratio photos in my photo library, now I have thousands.
It's more than just an appreciation of iPhone photography that has come out of using Instagram. Relationships have been formed with other Instagrammers. New friendships from all over the world have come about from using Instagram. These relationships have also extended themselves to other social networking platforms such as Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You know who you are if you are one of them reading this now. It also has given us excuse to come together and meet offline via Insta-Meets and photo walks. Meet ups with other Instagrammers. I had organized a couple myself.
"Instagram" has turned into a verb now. There are many 3rd party apps and websites to further your Instagram experience. Instagram itself has said that an Android app and website interface are on their horizon. 150 million photos and 7 million users after its launch less than a year ago and it's still just the beginning.
Thank you Instagram team, the good folks at Burbn for giving us this wonderful platform and community. While sure you can still find room for improvement in the app, the progress that the app and community has made in less than a year since its launch has been very impressive.
"We're constantly amazed by the range of photos shared on Instagram. People use Instagram to snap photos of everyday moments with friends and family and also to document significant personal moments, like weddings and honeymoons. There are Instagram photos from major events like the World Series and the Grammys, and some Instagram photos have even made the national news. Artists and celebrities have begun to give fans a unique look into their lives through photos, while brands like Burberry have started to realize the power of communicating with their followers through images."
Instagram photo #150,000,000, taken by @janefot
You can find me on Instagram using the username, @louistrapani