Social Media Managers Are Not Photo Editors

I need the photo congregation to come gather around. I feel the need to preach from the pulpit today. With the power of the photo holy trinity behind me, whether you believe it’s ISO, aperture, and shutter speed or the lens version of 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200, I have this sermon that has been brewing in me. And it’s time I preach about it and it starts off with social media managers are not photo editors.

Now before you think this is some hit piece on people working in social media, it is not. If anything it speaks to the fact that they’re hired to be social media managers and end up doing way more “other tasks” assigned by management. And that nonsense fall squarely on the shoulders of the leagues, professional teams, schools, businesses and so on who expert these social media experts to be miracle workers as well.

There have been numerous instances in my professional career where I’ve seen a photo of mine on social media and I just cringe. Like I was embarrassed that it was even posted like that. And that hurts me to the core.

As photographers we have a vision of how the photo should look like when we took it. We’re the ones with the vision, yet our clients or employers, who hire us for our vision, think it’s appropriate to leave that vision in the hands of people who weren’t hired to be photo editors.

When you see photos posted with crooked horizons, vertical photos being squished into an 1080X1080 square and a photo with more filters on it than Kourtney Kardashian has nose jobs; it pains me. There is no reason for these huge leagues, professional teams etc. not to have a photo editor on staff. Now there are plenty of teams, school etc. that do have dedicated photo editors, but the vast majority do not.

Why you ask? Because it’s cheaper to have social media managers be burdened with that task as well. It’s bad enough these social media workers are constantly under the gun to post content that needs to go viral or they’re being harassed 10 seconds after a game ends as to why the win graphic is not up yet. They have to deal with impatient higher ups who don’t care about the creative process but rather care about how fast content can be posted even if it’s not been vetted yet for issues.

Algorithms and likes are the gauge of if something is considered good or not. That mentality needs to be broken but I fear we’re so far along that it will, unfortunately, never happen.

In the grand scheme of things, social media managers and specialists should never touch a post or a story until it’s been handed to them. Photographers should upload and then the graphics person or photo editor quickly makes edits and they sends it along. Hire the right people to do their jobs and the results will speak for themselves.

You can’t have one person be the point person for editing, PR, communications, graphics, social media, email marketing and ticket sales. It’s called brands want to be cheap and put people into the fire for the sake of a “fast paced environment” where people get to wear “different hats.” Invest in hiring the right people for the right positions.

This incessant need to have things pushed out right away is deteriorating the quality of the work from everyone involved. And for what? To say you posted first in hopes of it catching fire like Katniss Everdeen? The girl on fire is probably your social media staff member who is literally burnt out from trying to pack every request and task into an 8 hour day knowing damn well these people work 15-18 hours daily and only get paid for 8.

If they get paid at all. Too many positions these days are internships aka free slave labor.

People don’t remember who posts first, they remember quality. Again for my people in the back. People don’t remember who posts content first. They remember amazing content.

And don’t get me started on videos that are 95% out of focus and then in focus for the brief 5% and then quickly back out of focus. Nobody thinks something that is out of focus for so long is amazing. It’s just that algorithms in social media apps favor video more and thus the emphasis on video has, unfortunately, hurt the quality of photos that get posted.

While I have the congregation’s attention photography and videography are not the same!

Thank you for coming to my service today. The offer plate is going around and any money donated is going to a good cause. And that cause is my switch the mirrorless. Thank you and god bless!

Image by DC Studio on Freepik

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