So often I hear photographers say “I don’t have time for another social network and I don’t need Instagram.” However, I find that these same photographers will then spend hours posting on Facebook, 500px, and Flickr, where practically zero potential clients will actually see their work!
Instagram can be useful in ways you might not have thought of before, and it shouldn’t take you too much time to build a presence on it if done the right way. It is without a doubt one of the best social networks for photographers because it’s a visual platform, and you’ve already GOT the skills and know-how to take breathtaking photos.
If you want to use Instagram to further promote your photography business – regardless of which niche you are in – follow these simple tips!
1. Show off your best work
Post your best work on your Instagram page. Think of your feed as a second portfolio, where you can handpick the highlight reels by posting only your best and absolute favorite images.
No one expects you to post perfectly curated images right off the bat on every single post, but as you grow as a photographer and develop your skills further, try to ensure make sure you’re posting content that delivers a ‘Wow!’ factor uniquely, yet still aesthetically looks consistent overall. You can do this by posting a common theme, color palette, or saturation to really show off your individual style. Visitors will become followers and engaged followers at that.
Knowing which photos to post can be a challenge, so if you have several from one session and can’t decide, consider using the carousel picture option. This way only one image will appear in your feed, but still gives the option for your followers to scroll through and see more.
2. Take your editing seriously!
Great photographs aren’t taken – they’re created.
This means working in your favorite image editing program (I recommend Adobe’s Lightroom) and using your skills to manipulate light, shadows, and clarity until your final product is something to be proud of and has that “wow” factor.
Instagram has its fair share of editing options and filters but in all reality, is not built for the level of sophistication that you are probably looking for. I recommend avoiding the use of their filters and effects, and instead of doing your edits on your computer if you want to really stand out as the incredible photographer that you are!
3. Share a story with each of your photos
When you combine strong images with a powerful story behind the image – you’ll evoke a much deeper emotional response in your viewer, leading them to feel connected to you and your work in a more personal way.
I really realized when I started sharing the story behind my photos, my account started to gain REAL interaction. People connecting to my words and the image were happy and eager to speak about how the image or caption affected them, their own experiences, and their appreciation for it.
No need to overthink it either, just simply telling your followers something about each of the photos, describing the shoot and what led you to take the photos perhaps, sharing details of the venue, the family, or the couple in the image are some great ways to get started on this!
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again… Use hashtags!! They are there for a reason and honestly can really help you find your perfect audience that will actually engage and be interested in the content that you share.
You should take the time to do a bit of research to see what effective hashtags you might be missing. Finding even just a handful of really awesome, yet related hashtags to your photography style can be a game-changer in helping you stand out on Instagram. Hashtags allow you to connect with similar, sometimes local photographers or clients nearby who may be intersted in working with you.
Whatever you do, avoid using banned hashtags or any hashtag that is not relevant to your brand or niche. Depending on what style of photography you shoot, there are specific hashtags that you can use to help people find your work.
For example, if you are a wedding photographer some great hashtags to use might be:
#weddingphotography #weddingphotographer #weddingphoto #weddingday #weddingmoments #weddingceremony #weddingstyle #weddingfashion #bridalfashion #weddinginspirations #weddingdetails #weddingideas #weddinginspo #weddingrings #weddingblog #weddingblogger #weddingplanning #loveauthentic #junebugweddings
5. Engage With your audience
Ask questions in your posts, and try to start conversations with your followers.
Take the time to respond to comments being left when they say something on one of your photos. Check out some of your follower’s profiles and like their photos and leave comments.
When they see you as an active participant in the community, they will be more likely to continue engaging with you and even recommend your account to their friends and followers.
6. Build a community.
Now I won’t lie, this is not a quick and simple overnight process. But worth doing!
You want to build a community by actively seeking out photographers that you respect and develop relationships with them.
You can do this by simply finding a hashtag that speaks to your work, and “following” it on your Instagram. Whenever you can, check-in on this hashtag and see who is posting what. When you see an image that you like, leave a thoughtful comment and consider following them.
Chances are this photographer will consider at least checking out your account back and might even reciprocate with a follow-back if they like what you are sharing.
Speaking of communities… I invite you to join my private Embrace Nation for Photographers Facebook group.
7. Use stories + reels!
In addition to posting on your feed, Instagram is always changing and adding in new features to grow engagement on your account even further. I totally recommend getting the hang of both stories and reels if you have not already done so.
Similar to TikTok, Reels lets Instagram users create short videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest way for the app to bring in users, increase the amount of time spent in the app, and establish the platform as more than just photos, but includes video entertainment too.
Stories on the other hand are similar to Snapchat and allow accounts to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.
Stories were launched in August 2016, and now more than 500 million Instagrammers use stories daily. If you’ve ever thought about experimenting with stories to boost your reach or engagement, now is a perfect time!