Life Lessons Learned from Editing Instagram Pictures

Shooting good pictures represents only half of what it takes to be a good photographer.

Equally important is what happens after the shutter has snapped. A picture usually requires some editing. As an amateur photographer, I love Instagram because it simplifies the editing process. The built-in filters allow me to change the colors, the contrast and the focus. Cropping, though limited to square dimensions, allows me to select which portions of a photo I want to focus on.

This week while editing a picture on Instagram, my subconscious mind wrestled with a work-related problem. Suddenly I realized that my photo editing skills could be applied to my real-life situation. I could “Instagram” my problem by adjusting the variables. In other words, I could edit my circumstances in the same way I was editing my picture. Here are the three tools I used:

  1. Crop. Reframing a situation allows me to choose what I focus on. I can blow something up to a larger size, thereby cropping out the context. I must remind myself, however, that what I focus on also determines what I ignore. I sometimes like to zoom out and put things into a broader perspective. My work problem, just like my photos, looked differently depending on whether I cropped tightly or widely.
  2. Filter. I typically do not look at the world through rose-colored glasses. Sometimes, though, it’s helpful to play around with the hue, color balance and saturation. Pictures—and life situations—look differently depending upon how I choose to adjust the warmth, the contrast and even the drama.
  3. Script. For me, a well-written caption tees up a picture for proper viewing. I can nudge the viewer to look at the picture in different ways depending upon the narrative I write. Similarly, in real life I can control the situation by writing and rewriting the script. I can even direct the ongoing conversations by how I engage in the flow of comments.
A bureau-trunk that once belonged to General William H. Sears, field secretary and agent to Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. Now displayed in the archives room of the Kansas City chapter.

One of my Instagram photos—before and after editing—shows a trunk that belonged to the field secretary of Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross.

Once I’m finished editing, I also have the option in Instagram to share my pictures on Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Likewise, in life I always have the choice of how much to share and how much to keep private. I will usually share when others will benefit or when I might gain something from the collective wisdom of my community.

I love Instagram. For me it’s a creative expression of how I choose to see the everyday things that surround me. It’s also a reminder that I can reframe, filter, script and share my real-life situations, thereby creating a more colorful, brighter and meaningful world.

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One Response to Life Lessons Learned from Editing Instagram Pictures

  1. Wayne Malcolm Schafer, Q.C. says:

    I really enjoyed your short article. Very insightful and very true.

    Wayne

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