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Photographer ‘Breaks’ Instagram, Tricks Algorithm into Pushing his Photos


A photographer says he has tricked the Instagram algorithm into once again pushing his photos by leveraging the platform’s preference for Reels to his advantage.

Instagram, which started as a photo-sharing platform, has made no secret of its move towards videos, and in particular Reels, partly to fend off competition from TikTok.

Australian photographer Michael Amarico is annoyed at the way the Meta-owned company has turned its back on photographers and posted the above video entitled “I Broke Instagram.”

“Instagram clearly wants you to post Reels, and Instagram clearly will push your work if it’s a reel, so why not just give them what they want but you’re still posting a photo,” says Amarico.

Amarico decided to experiment by logging on to Instagram and posting a photo as a five-second video, rather than a single frame.

“I did it as a bit of a case study to see if it actually helps me grow my Instagram, and would you believe it, I got all green ticks from the back end and it’s actually working.”

Amarico says that there is plenty of downside to posting still images as Reels, such as the compression rate worse, and of course it’s still promoting Reels on the app, something that Amarico has an intense dislike of.

“If you like making Reels, you’re not a photographer, you’re a filmmaker, which is fine, but we already have an app for that, it’s called Youtube.”

However, the upsides are that Reels display 16×9 images, enabling photographers to display their entire images on-screen. And, Amarico says his “Photo Reels” ended up on Instagram’s recommended page in the Reels section.

“I don’t want Instagram to be TikTok, I personally love Instagram. I want it to give photographers our ‘out’ back, we love Instagram, we love posting photos. I can speak on behalf of all photographers, I’m not a fan of the Reels,” he explains.

Instagram Turns Its Back on the Still Image

The Californian-based company said last year that “Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app,” and is focusing its attention to compete with TikTok.

Furthermore, as reported last week, the company plans to turn all video posts uploaded to the platform into Reels.

More of Amarico’s work can be found on his Instagram and YouTube.


Image credits:Header Photo by Michael Amarico.





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