Dear friend,

If Instagram causes your mood to fluctuate, if you feel addicted to it (in a negative way), and you want to invest in yourself and your own platform (not into Facebook), I recommend you to do something crazy: delete instagram.

Why I deleted my Instagram

May 16, 2017 is the day I deleted my Instagram. And since then, I can say I am much happier.

This is why:

  1. Less stress/anxiety about always having to upload once, everyday, exactly at 12:00pm noon to maximize views, comments, likes, and to show up on the top of the Instagram/Facebook newsfeed algorithm
  2. I’m less distracted: I remember driving my car, and instead of focusing on driving or talking to Cindy, I would be thinking at the back of my head: “What photograph should I upload today?” Now that I no longer have an Instagram, it is one fewer distraction I have in my head — which leaves more energy and attention to doing more meaningful stuff (like studying philosophy, or focusing on my own photography/art/creation).
  3. Disappointment: How many likes/favorites is enough? You can never have enough. When I was at the peak of my Instagram followers (around 60,000), I would get on average 1,500-2,000 likes per photograph. But if I “only” got 800-1000 likes, I would feel disheartened and disappointed. Why? I fell victim to the “framing effect” — I would measure my success per photograph based on the # of likes I got on the photograph before. This lead me to going onto a social media treadmill: always wanting to get more and more likes, and feeling disappointed when I wasn’t able to get more likes than I did in the past.

Benefits of Deleting Instagram

To be frank, I probably took a short-term negative hit/disadvantage by deleting my Instagram. Instagram has far eclipsed Facebook in terms of usage/engagement by photographers. In today’s world, your calling card/business card is essentially your Instagram profile, and brands/companies will judge your “success” based on how many followers you have.

However, I still think that all things considered, I have still benefited tremendously by deleting my Instagram. For example,

  1. I’ve been able to innovate more in terms of publishing/sharing my work: To upload a photograph to Instagram is the “easy way” to share/publish your photos. No innovation necessary. After deleting my Instagram, I started to wonder, “How else can I share/publish my photographs?” I started to publish more “photo diaries” to this blog, and also uploading more photography slideshows to my YouTube channel. Uploading slideshows without music is boring, and I used to get a lot of copyright violation stuff on YouTube for using instrumentals of popular hip-hop/rap songs. Thus, it forced me to start making my own beats, which has been a phenomenal new creative outlet for me. Ask yourself: “If I didn’t have a Facebook/Instagram to share my photos — how could I share my photos?
  2. I’m less distracted by worrying about what to upload to Instagram/maximize my like count, thus I have more energy and intensely focus to do what is truly important to me– content creation (which will help me as a photography entrepreneur in the long-term).
  3. I’m not a digital share-cropper, building my kingdom on quicksand: If you don’t know, Facebook owns Instagram. The more you build your Instagram and following, the more eyeballs/engagement you give Facebook/Instagram. And as you keep investing into Instagram, you become trapped on the platform (which can screw you over in the long run). Imagine 2 years from now: if you want to access/engage more of your fans, you must pay Facebook/Instagram more money to “boost” your posts. A better solution: start your own email newsletter with, for direct access to your fans/followers, and of course– start your own photography blog.


Eric kim portrait fade red

To be clear, I’m not forcing you to delete your Instagram. Nobody can decide what you want to do with your life. For example, even though #DeleteFacebook has become popular, I still decided to keep my Facebook fan page, because it is the best way for me to share articles from this blog.

What I’m encouraging you is this:

Know that it is OK for you to delete your Instagram, and if you want to delete your Instagram (but are scared), know that if ERIC KIM could do it, so can you.

I think a lot of people are fed up with Instagram– with the constant algorithm changes (which screws up the dopamine receptors in your brain), as well as the unnecessary competition with other Instagrammers. I just want to know that it is an OPTION for you to delete your Instagram if you want to.

Portrait of Cindy behind red curtain. Program mode, ISO 1600. RICOH GR II

But, if you still get a lot of joy from Instagram, have fun on Instagram, or find it a good business-marketing too, please please please by all means DON’T DELETE YOUR INSTAGRAM. Only delete your Instagram if you don’t like how it is fucking up your mental circuitry, your self-esteem, or if you find Instagram to be a superfluous distraction in your life.

Less radical steps

Cindy at work at cafe, with red light. Kyoto, 2017

Or as a fun experiment, try uninstalling Instagram from your phone for a week or a month. See how you feel– whether you are happier, whether you are less distracted, and whether you are more self-confident in your photography.

All things considered, I think Instagram has been good for photography– it has helped democratize photography, especially to photographers who only shoot with their phone. And yes, iPhone/Android photographers are “real” photographers.


The reason I’m writing this essay is because I want you to become the most empowered, confident, and happy photographer. If Instagram is getting in your way, #DeleteInstagram. If you still like Instagram and the platform, please keep it.

Other ways to share/publish your work

Tucson, 2014. Lady with red hair and yellow shirt.

Once again as a thought experiment: if you didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms– how could you share/publish your work?

Practical suggestions:

1. Start your own photography website/blog.


I recommend, and installing I personally use and recommend the Genesis framework for wordpress. I currently am running the “Academy Pro” Genesis theme, which I quite like.

If you’ve never blogged before, here are some resources:

2. Share directly with friends/family

eric kim street photography gfx fujifilm medium format digital-7300

If you don’t want to make your own photography website/blog, then just share directly with friends/family. Email them your photos, or send them the photographs via SMS/messenger. I see this as a more intimate (Social Media 4.0) way to share, instead of just throwing your photos on Facebook/Instagram into the digital ether– not sure who you are exactly trying to share/target your photos to.

3. Print your photos

Between digital and analog: handmade linoleum prints of Eric Kim's photography
Between digital and analog: handmade linoleum prints of Eric Kim’s photography

I also recommend you to print your photos; make small photo albums for yourself, your family, and friends. Or get an Instax mobile printer, and print your photos for your friends and family. I think that the more we print our photos (even as cheap 4×6 prints), the more intimate, and more engaging our photos are.

If you want to order photos online, I use/recommend If you’re in the states, just print your photos at Costco (good Fujifilm paper/print quality) or at the local drugstore.

4. ARS Beta

ARS BETA Preview with photo by Simon Monk
ARSBETA.COM Preview with photo by Simon Monk

If you want feedback on your photos, share them to ARSBETA.COM (learn more about the story behind ARS here).


colorful rainbow penguin osaka

If you want more in-depth feedback/critique on your photos, share them to ERIC KIM FORUM; and join a positive, vibrant, and empowering community of passionate/like-minded photographers.

Conclusion: Make photos for yourself

Osaka street photograph head-on eric kim

Ultimately, I feel the most important thing in photography is to make photos for yourself. To make photos that bring you joy, happiness and meaning in your life. Always first aim to make photos that excite you, that photos that impress yourself — and then share them with others. Because of course, photography is more fun when we share our passion with others.

Related reading:

Why do you make photos?

cindy in osaka portrait wings eric kim rainbow

Love to hear your feedback in the ERIC KIM FORUM: Why do you make photos?


Never run out of photographic inspiration/motivation with ERIC KIM NEWSLETTER.

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