By Dalton Carver
News and Opinion editor

Instagram is probably the cheapest and most efficient way to socially share your photographs, especially while on the go. With its strong connectivity to Facebook and Twitter, your friends and family can view and like your photos within seconds of you snapping the picture.

Adding hashtags and mentions only makes it easier for your photographs to be shared throughout the social and online community. But does it discredit the work that professionally trained photographers do by making photography too easy and accessible?  Should it truly be considered as a legitimate form of photography?

“They all think they’re real photographers” is a sentence that I normally hear referring to individuals who utilize Instagram quite often. The question that I pose back to them is, “What makes someone a real photographer?”

Is it equipment, a $1000 camera as opposed to an application that costs nothing? Is it the editing software, Photoshop as opposed to a simple filter? Is it how much the individual is making off of the photo, something as opposed to nothing?

One must admit that some fairly random things appear on the average Instagram home screen. Pictures of food, screenshots of text messages, self-portraits, and satire-filled images known as “memes” are just some of the things that can keep you continuously scrolling through your news feed.

However, you occasionally stumble upon a photograph that impresses you just as much as one that may be in an art display. It may have been shot at just the right angle, at just the right time, just like a regular non-Instagram photograph. It may have the perfect filter, just as a regular photograph may have been perfectly tweaked in Photoshop.

Instagram doesn’t give you as much editing freedom as a high-end camera or Photoshop might, but that isn’t the intention of the app. It’s designed to take photographs quickly, add a small edit, and disperse them to be viewed by your online community. In reality, it’s better at sharing photos than any other method available today.

Before an image is seen as a photograph, it is seen as an idea in an individual’s mind. As someone who takes pictures with Instagram and regular cameras, I use the same method of previewing with both tools. If the same methods give way to the same results, why shouldn’t Instagram be considered a real form of photography, albeit a simple one?

Photography can be described as a capturing a moment in time, and Instagram achieves this goal through affordability and simplicity. It’s true that not all of the images on Instagram are award winning, but neither are the ones sitting on the majority of people’s digital cameras.

Dalton Carver is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email him at dalton.carver@sckans.edu or tweet him @dalty_james.