Gone are the days of photographers printing their work, these days photographers are using social media to carve out their careers and make a name for their work on Instagram. Shunning the traditional way of working, Insta-photographers are pros at taking photos for digital media and have used it propel their careers into the offline world too.
Wondering how you can join the Instagram club? We’ve spoken to USB4Photographers to get their advice.
Remember it’s not your portfolio
Gone are the days of having to wait for a few months worth of images before you re-do your portfolio. You can update Instagram in seconds to include your latest work – whether it’s to show clients or the world.
However, you don’t need to always stick to including photographs that would only make the cut in your portfolio.
Share behind-the-scenes shots or images people may not necessarily find on your website – just remember to keep it on brand.
Only share amazing images
This next point slightly contradicts the above. While Instagram isn’t your portfolio, it’s still an extension of your work and brand so you should ensure that you only share incredible images. Even those behind-the-scenes shots should be of the highest quality.
Don’t get the ‘I haven’t posted in a day’ fear either. That’s ok. It’s much better to post consistently good photographs once or twice a week, over posting rubbish every day.
The trick with using hashtags is to use just the right amount; too many and you’ll be spammed by bot likes and comments, too few and your profile won’t reach it’s potential.
While you will of course be tempted to use generic hashtags which apply to your field such as #photography #photograph #photography etc., these will be bombarded with uploads every few minutes. Therefore, your image is pushed further down the hashtag feed far quicker than you would like.
Try to be a specific as possible with the hashtags you use on your photos. For example, does your style of photography have a particular name? Did you use a specific camera? Try to hashtag the more unique details which make your photo different to the rest.
Don’t include hashtags in your caption either. Always list them in a spate comment below for a cleaner look.
Photos taken in the Instagram app are automatically set to a 1:1 aspect ratio which fits the standard Instagram photo size. You can also take photos on most phone cameras in this size too. Instagram recently introduced the capability to upload photos which are larger than this. However, it’s worth remembering that they will be automatically sized down to the 1:1 setting when someone views your grid as a whole.
When taking photos, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind so that your photo isn’t compromised when it comes to uploading it.
Caption and Bio
Yes, Instagram is a visual platform, but you still need to think about the caption you upload to your images and your bio.
In terms of the caption, you can make this as long or as short as you wish, but a captivating caption will help to sell your work better than one which has had little thought put into it.
Story-telling captions can be some of the most interesting to read, especially if an image is particularly powerful. Share the story behind the image; who and where have you captured the photo? What camera did you use? How did you edit the photograph? Taking the time to consider your caption can help to connect your work to those who are viewing it.
Similarly, your bio should be a short snapshot of what your work is about. If you only take photos of a particular niche or use a certain camera state what it is. Your bio should tell your audience what they can expect and what makes you unique. Don’t forget to include your contact details either.
Don’t dismiss editing
You are never going to spend hours on the editing process when uploading to Instagram, but it’s important that you don’t dismiss it all together.
You don’t need to spend particularly long editing each photo, but giving images a spruce up here and there can ensure that your work is always the best quality that it can be.
To keep your Instagram grid consistent, editing all (or at least the majority) of your photos in the same way can help to give it a cohesive look.
Find a niche
If you’re an established photographer then you probably already have a niche that you focus on. If this is the case, then this point will come naturally to you. If not, then you’ll want to consider what you want to be known for. Is your focus on travel? Weddings? Portraits? Animals? Fashion?
The best photography Instagram accounts focus on a particular niche and don’t deviate from it. If you only photograph pasta dishes in Italy or beaches in Thailand – then run with it!