These days, no moment is too insignificant or unworthy of capturing with a smartphone, from what you are eating for lunch to idle moments “hanging out” with your besties. And perhaps more important than the moment is the insatiable thirst to share it with the social media world immediately, with the hope it will generate thousands of “likes.” Millennial photo habits have blossomed into a full-fledged love affair of photography. What did you expect from the generation that launched the selfie? According to a recent Pew survey, an overwhelming 79 percent of millennials share photos they’ve captured online. Toss in video and that numbers jumps to 81 percent. No other group comes close to those numbers.
Not Exactly Camera-Shy
Millennials are a generation of young shutterbugs all about personal expression, and they have clearly discovered there is no better way to express themselves than in front of a camera. “This is my life and it matters to me,” began 15-year-old Genna Greene of Bayshore, New York. “The pictures I take…I guess they remind me that everyday is special and that the moments I’m spending with my family and friends are a part of who I am.”
Greene is currently taking a digital photography class at her local high school that she claims is opening up new possibilities with regard to her photography skills. “Up ’til now I’ve really just been randomly pointing and clicking, but the class really has me thinking about composition and lighting and as a result taking way better pictures than I ever have,” she admitted.
According to InfoTrends researcher Ed Lee, millennals have created a resurgence in photography. “There has never been a higher level of interest in photos, photography and imaging,” he explained. “InfoTrends predicts that almost 200 billion photos will be captured by cameras, phones and tablets in the U.S. alone in 2016.” And their research shows that younger generations are clearly leading the charges.
“I think what I enjoy most about digital photography is the fact I can play with the images after I’ve captured them,” explained 16-year-old Hannah Cursie of Ridge, New York. “The ability to really personalize and put my personal stamp on an image becomes the real motivation to share it for me.”
And share they do. With a wide array of social channels to choose from, including Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, today’s young snap shooters are all about sharing their photographic adventures. Even the social networks that aren’t as focused on photos are all swiftly moving in a more photo/video-friendly direction.
Have I Got a Story For You
At the heart of that aforementioned sharing motivation, as Cursie mentioned, is storytelling. Millennials aren’t happy simply recording moments with their cameras. They need to do more than that; they need to tell stories. The emergence of the social site Snapchat has been at the core of this trend. The gimmick of Snapchat is that the photo stories posted only last 24 hours and can range from 1-10 seconds long. Snapchat is ultimately about freedom as the stories created using a smartphone camera are only seen by an audience the user has chosen.
“Snapchat provides that temporary glimpse at my day,” Cursie added. “And it’s kind of an invitation-only audience which allows you to feel some freedom with the app that you don’t have with some of the other social outlets. I can shoot and post with no fear of offending as I’m posting for my crowd for the most part.”
This generation is fortunate to be discovering photography at a time when it is enjoying more technological advancements than at any other time in its history, both with regard to the devices that capture the images and the imaging apps and outlets that are allowing them to leave their own personal stamp on the world. “My dad recently told me he used to carve or write his name on something in public to let people know he was here,” Greene said. “I think we’ve taken that a bit further as the story of my life will be what I leave behind.”