In this day and age, we’re all doing social media photography. We’ve got our smartphones, snap our pics, apply a filter and boom – we feel like we should’ve been the official photographer at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Royal Wedding.
But… if you’re a real photographer, if you truly know how to capture a perfect moment, a beautiful view and if your eyes just see the perfect shots – social media is a place where you need to be. There hasn’t been a better time for social media marketing for photographers. Platforms are encouraging it, brands are applauding it and people are loving it. It’s a must.
But why is it so important? Why can’t you simply build your portfolio and find clients locally? Better yet, why can’t you jump on a freelancer website, showcase bits and pieces of your work and let your clients find you?
Because you can go bigger!
Why is social media for photographers so important?
Social Media will help you in many ways. I’ll put it in 4 words to get you excited and keep you scrolling: fame, fortune, friends, and inspiration.
Once you’ll start being focused on social, showing some effort and sharing your talent with the world, the advantages will come. You’ll see for yourself what a bit of engagement can do, I’m only here to convince you and guide you through it.
So what should you expect to get from being on social?
A bigger audience 👏
You’re a photographer & you’re also a brand. Your brand is what will get you all the other 3 points. In the audience that you build, you’ll find clients, connections and fellow best photographers that will help with inspiration and lessons. However, besides who could be in the audience that you build, there’s also the fact that audience is power in today’s world.
More clients & accounts 🤑
Increasing the activity on social means first of all visibility and, as mentioned earlier, higher visibility comes with an audience where you’ll find clients and brands that can’t wait to work with you.
Besides visibility, take into account that big clients need to find someone credible and to be able to trust them before actually committing to anything. A good social media presence will help build that credibility and an influencer-level social media account will ensure that credibility.
Keep in mind that photography is a lot about emotion and clients choose photographers based on the emotion that their past projects spring in them. It’s a lot harder to build a connection and spring emotions in a 20 mins pitch than it is in time, using a constant presence on social media.
Good and useful connections 🤝
You probably know by now that as a professional, your network doesn’t only consist of sales or no sales connections. It can be about partnerships, future opportunities or introductions to other people that could lead to direct sales.
Considering the number of opportunities that can come from one good connection – try to picture how it would be to have thousands and thousands of connections. And before you’re 60. And without spending every evening going to events.
Inspiration for dry days 🤩
I personally love to have as many marketers as possible in my feed, in my network, in my messenger. Why? Because the community of professionals has a special way of inspiring one another. We all want to be smarter, learn more and we love to share it with the community that we’re part of.
So besides the fact that seeing other people’s work and style helps you get in the mood and lift your inspiration, it also helps you stay on top of the learnings in your space. Follow your fans, interact with your fellow photographers, share and learn, because that’s the very essence of social media.
Social networks like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and many others are already considered social media platforms for photographers. Many try out their luck out there, but professional photographers have a great advantage. We recommend you start with Instagram and Pinterest and after a while, you’ll want to try them all!
Who are the best social media photographers?
We’ve dug a bit and searched for some great photographers that are rockstars when it comes to social. It’s better to understand from what others are doing so I’ll highlight for each of these photographers what makes their presence so amazing.
Maria Marie is mostly on Instagram (D’OOH), but you’ll find her as well on Pinterest. I personally love Maria Marie. But besides my subjective love – I wanted to discuss a bit on why her presence is so great.
1. Consistency. Firstly, she has a clear brand and built a well-defined identity. Her work revolves around happy pastel colors and relies on contrasts between colors. Her photography is the kind of work that feels like honey sliding down your heart. It’s not even difficult to get to understand her consistency – it’s a glance at the grid and voila.
2. One emotion. The second thing that she manages to do great, is to inspire one emotion in her fans’: happiness. Art represents and gives life to all kinds of feelings. The fact that her audience knows exactly what to expect, makes that “follow” button very easy to push. We live in a hectic world so people’s brains need more shortcuts than ever. They need to know what to associate a brand, person, account with.
3. Context. If you stalk the account a bit more, you’ll find that every picture posted has some sort of a description. When I put those descriptions next to each other – it made sense. She completes the feeling inspired via the photograph with a clear description that fully creates a state of mind. We all know that a picture is so much more powerful than words and clearly, any photographer will agree to that – but it doesn’t mean that words can’t help an image achieve even more.
4. More than an Instagram account. Maria Marie does so much more than put pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. She recently published a book that I’ve already ordered. The main lesson is that once you build an identity and a fan base, you can start making money out of it, all the while nurturing fans with more content/ value/ art.
When you’re getting tired of bright and beautiful colors (as if?!), go follow Akihito Nagara (Instagram). Akihito is all about black & white picture and usually photographs architecture and people. He is quite successful – 62.7K followers and growing.
1. Clear theme & topic. Akihito’s strategy is great because, much like Maria Marie, his audience knows what to expect. Just look at how easy it was for me to present him to you: black & white, people, architecture. Three concepts that are the perfect introduction to his brand. His elevator pitch doesn’t need to be cut down, it’s not an effort, it’s just there. Choosing a niche is always scary – what if you want to change it? What if it doesn’t offer enough liberty and so on. I’d say – don’t be scared to do that on social. You can adapt it, enlarge it as you go, but don’t try to do anything and everything.
2. Clear audience. If you check Akihito’s description to his photos, they don’t tell a story, they don’t embellish the art, they talk technique & device. How the photo was taken & with what. I myself might not be the one who resonates with his descriptions, but I’m 100% sure that his audience does. Akihito is probably followed by people who are fans of photography, wanna-be photographers themselves or just impressed by difficult techniques applied using an Iphone.
3. Fight for visibility & acknowledgement. Social media opened up an entire world of possibilities beyond personal profiles. I took a look at the photos in which Akihito is tagged – guess what, a lot of photography contests. Such contests are just one of the many ways to be more visible, get more fans, become a real brand.
Sorelle Amore is a great influencer with over 258K followers on Instagram & over 400K subscribers on Youtube. Sorelle is amazing in so many ways and there are hundreds of lessons that you could learn if you follow her and watch what she’s doing. She is mostly the master of selfies, turning a photo of herself into a masterpiece every time. What can we learn from her?
1. Authenticity & Vulnerability. We tend to forget what people ultimately love. We want to display perfection when perfection depresses people in the long run. We want to display negativity and profoundness when that is tiring for anyone in time. We neglect plain old authenticity that makes people relate and be happy almost all the time. Sorelle Amore isn’t afraid to be authentic, to answer questions, to share her stories, to be herself. She loves beautiful photography but does not care about seeming perfect, she cares about showing who she is. Just look at her descriptions:
2. Community engagement. Sorelle doesn’t only showcase her work and expects for the fans to comment and engage. She asks for her communities opinions, reaches out and responds to their inquiries. She gives the sense of openness and she shows how approachable she is. So don’t shy away, be the friend of your audience.
3. Personal touch. It’s quite amazing what happens when we start being open about our beliefs, our stories, our current fears and thoughts. Here is where branding fades, and humanity shines. Besides defining your identity and stay true to consistency, people love seeing other people. So when Sorelle starts talking about her views on global warming or what she was thinking when she woke up or how she’s planning a career shift – we start paying attention. We’re curious, we want to be inspired, we want to know about others.
4. Sharing knowledge. Sorelle didn’t only make it as an photography influencer but she’s ready to share her experience, her knowledge, her tips and tricks. And that’s amazing and won her 400K subscribers on Youtube. That’s amazing. She uses videos to talk about lifestyle, inspiration and it makes her viewers time worthwhile.
3 photographers & social media influencers – 10 lessons to be learnt. Hope you find them useful & ping me, I’d love to follow your work!