It is already the end of the first month of 2021 and as much as I want to forget 2020, I cannot help but reminisce on some of the little things I liked last year. I know likes on social media shouldn’t be the way to determine worth but I just wanted to share this phenomenon. As of this post, the current likes my favorite edit of 2020 is 789. For reference, my most liked post for 2020 had 8,988 likes. On average, I would get around 1,400 likes per post if I don’t care about following the algorithm rules.
It was April 2020, around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to lock downs, I could not go out to do photoshoots. To replace that lost photography time, I opened up my inbox on Instagram to edit photos from other people around the globe.
One IG user by the name of nc5220 sent me a photo of his Harley Davidson Roaster 1200. I didn’t think much of it as I don’t work with cruiser type of bikes. My Instagram account is very niche mainly catering towards motorcycles, specifically sportbikes so I thought to myself, I should put in a bit more effort in this style of bike so I can maybe open up more doors. I liked the initial lighting and composition of his photo so I decided to look at official Harley Davidson marketing photos to get an idea of what would look good as if Harley Davidson was the client.
I am not particularly good in 3d rendering environments but it is something that I want to get good at as I see it as a valuable skill for compositing in Photoshop. I put a lot of hours into this edit as I was working with a brand I am not used to. Trying to challenge myself to make it look like an official marketing image could look great as a portfolio piece even though it was just for a single person and not the actual brand. (Hey I still got paid for it!)
I posted it on Instagram with excitement but got barely any engagement. It was probably because my followers expected sexy sportbikes from me. I guess it was understandable from a marketing perspective but as a designer I knew I shouldn’t be pigeon holed into a single style (a subject for another time). I continued on the rest of the year with photos and edits but still, I considered this piece my favorite of the year.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon with other artists, sometimes what we value as our best/favorite work does not get the same response to others. Yes, its a sad state of affairs that social media “likes” and “follows” seem to be the metric that determines our self-worth nowadays. It is kinda like this blog/website, I don’t expect a lot of readers but I like the effort I am putting into it. The main takeaway is that if you are happy with the process and learned something to carry on to your next project, that’s all that matters.