Using Instagram Stats to Choose Your Next Camera Lens

Photographer Jason Webber recently embarked on a little statistical experiment. He wanted to see if he could use stats from his Instagram photos to choose the ‘perfect’ lens purchase by identifying the focal lengths he uses most often, the holes in his lens lineup, and what features he needs to prioritize.

Webber chose Instagram because that’s where he posts all of his favorite photos. So he picked 127 photos from his account, cross-referenced each shot in Lightroom, and categorized each photo by focal length, lens type (prime vs zoom), lens category (ultrawide, wide, normal, or telephoto), and genre (landscape, adventure, street, or cityscape).

The result is the video up top, where he breaks down all of this data in various ways in order to try and reach some conclusions about his shooting style, what kind of lenses he should focus on, and what lens he should buy next.

For Webber, the takeaways were three-fold:

  1. He needs to focus on weather sealed lenses, because 74% of his shots are adventure or landscape photos.
  2. The majority of the photos he takes are shot at 50mm or below, which he already has covered.
  3. However, based on his zoom lens statistics, there may be a hole in his lens lineup on the telephoto end.

Check out the full video up top to hear more about how Webber reached these conclusions, and how you can use the same approach to possibly do the same.

Obviously this experiment is not limited to pulling photos from Instagram—you can just as easily do it by breaking down data from your Flickr profile, 500px account, or by pulling all of the data from the photos in your portfolio. The important thing is that you’re analyzing photos that you’re actually publishing.

It might take a few hours to pull enough info to be statistically significant, but once you do, you may be surprised at the patterns that you find.