Two of her favorite worlds — social media and photography — recently collided and Molly Kaiser came out a winner. But more than the $20 she won in the Instagram photography contest, she now has national contest recognition to add to her resume.
The Great Bend High School junior recently entered a weekly photo contest on Instagram where she sometimes posts pictures. After being followed on the social media site by others, she received an invitation to enter the contest.
“I decided to make my photography account on Instagram for fun,” Kaiser said. “After I posted a few pictures, some of the more popular accounts started to follow me. Some had thousands to millions of followers.
“I think that social media platforms like Instagram are a great way to start a photography career,” she said. “You gain so much support when you do contests like this.
“It also teaches you how to market your photography such as using tags and places and tagging people,” she said. “It is a really good skill to learn early on, especially when you want to potentially own your own business.
Her contest win came from a photo arcade account contest. The theme of the week was summer vs. winter.
“I was bored one day so I decided to enter. I used the photos I took in the summer in Breckenridge, Colo., that I thought showed both the beautiful side of summer flowers and the frostiness of the mountains,” Kaiser said.
“I received the All-Star award,” she said. “It is strictly based on the merit of the photo and nothing else. Usually, the first and second places are based on points that include likes on post, comments on post and comments on other posts in the contest.”
Following the rules of the con
test, Kaiser posted three photos on consecutive days in December. They included one of summer flowers, faded trees and a friendly squirrel.
“There was a place on the side of a lake in the mountains where you can feed and interact with chipmunks and squirrels,” she said of the winning squirrel photo. “Learning to work with a wild animal like that was a challenge, but I got a good outcome.”
Kaiser credits 4-H with giving her a start in photography at the age of 9.
“My passion for photography started to grow when I got compliments from some of my peers when I used them as subjects,” she said.
“I went to the state 4-H photography judging contest in 2015 and earned first in team and ninth overall in the junior division,” she said. “I have also had many photos selected to be shown at many places from the state fair.
“I take photos of my friends and family members as well as landscape, sports and other subjects,” she said. “I have also been on the high school yearbook staff for the past two years where I have grown in my sports photography skills.
“I would like to go to college and learn how to retouch photos, tips on how to work with people and how to manage a business,” she said.