Types of Photos That Are Most Successful on Facebook

Types of Photos That Are Most Successful on Facebook

Over the years I have been able to organically build a base of over 26,500+ people that follow my work on Facebook. In addition, while many complain that Facebook is only sharing their posts with less than 10% of their fan base, I am averaging around 40% of my fans that are seeing my posts. So what's the secret? Here's how I get my fans engaged and some tips that will help you do the same.

As a wedding photographer I have thousands of photos of couples, hundreds of ring shots and more pictures of wedding dresses than I know what to do with. But do people surfing Facebook really care to see more photos of a wedding of people they don't even know? Unless they are actively planning their own wedding my guess is no. So why is it that as wedding photographers we focus solely on filling up Facebook feeds with our favorite wedding photos? 

What I have found over the years is that the photos that get the most engagement from my fans are the ones that have nothing to do with weddings. Typically they are photos of my kids, my pets or other random daily happenings in the Dayley house. Let me share some results with you. 

On average I receive about 150-200 likes for each photo I share and a handful of comments. However a few days ago I shared this photo of my boys playing outside in the rain and it picked up 738 likes and 23 comments. About 3-4 times more than normal. 

Here's another example. I woke up one morning (well actually it's about every other morning) and had my son's foot in my face. I reached over to my bedside table and grabbed my phone to capture this selfie. Shared it on my Facebook page and it picked up 686 likes and 28 comments. 

This next photo I shot of my daughter out playing softball. The sunset was gorgeous. She was lit up by the lights from the stadium. Sadly I didn't even nail the focus. But posted it on my Facebook page and it racked up 1,356 likes, 45 comments and reached 19,032 people. 

I want to remphasize that these photos are nothing spectacular. I realize that but yet time and time again it's these types of shots that get much more engagement from my fans. Why is that important? If Facebook sees that your friend John "likes" a photo on your page then the next time you post a photo you will have a higher probability that Facebook will deliver that content to John's feed. So the more people you get liking, commenting or sharing a photo on your page the better chance you have of Facebook resharing future content with them. Like a snowball rolling down the mountain this continues to build and build with each post. Just because one is successful does not mean that the next one will be. You have to keep working it actively and sharing content that gets people engaged. 

One night I was alone at the house and each time I would walk around my cat would jump out at me ninja style. When I realized he was doing this each and everytime I walked by I decided to grab my camera, toss on my wide angle lens, point my flash directly ahead at low power and focus a few feet out. I then carried the camera down low by my hip and as I walked by the cat I grabbed a few shots of him attacking. Posted it on Facebook and picked up 1,120 likes, 119 comments and 47 shares. 

The point I am trying to show here is that as a wedding photographer my wedding photos are not the ones getting my fans to engage. Or in other words stop trying to make your page about how great you are. Instead share your life with your fans. Let them see behind the scenes. Let them be able to relate to you. We need to stop trying to make every post a sales presentation ("hey look how good I am") and instead fill your fans Facebook feeds with content that helps you come off as another friend and someone they can actually relate to. 

Social media brand consultant Gary Vaynerchuck wrote a great book called "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook." In it he compares Facebook posting to a boxing match. If as a boxer all you are doing is throwing right hooks (posting your best photos) people learn to expect it and grow bored and tired of it. Instead you have to soften them up with jabs (pets, family, quotes, funny stories) and then after you have softened them up you can toss in a right hook every so often. No one likes to be sold to and especially while browsing for a few minutes on Facebook so instead make the experience enjoyable for your viewers and you will be rewarded with those likes, comments and shares that will result in more views and eventually more fans on your page. 

Here are some more examples of how this idea is working for some other talented photographers. 

Janelle Putrich Photography started posting a series of self portraits on her Facebook page and as a result her engagement began soaring. Here's one example of a self portrait that received 426 likes and 39 comments. 

Melissa Kilner Photography got a new puppy. Posted a sweet shot and asked her fans for name suggestions. By the end of the day she picked up 178 likes, and over 80 comments. That was about 3x what she was getting from most other posts at the time. She is now averaging around 200 likes on every photo. 

Chad DiBlasio Photography shared this photo of his family taken by Sara Long Photography and picked up 300+ likes and 30 comments. 

I know the buzz out there is that Facebook is dead. Photographers are scampering looking for the next big social media outlet to share their photos and stir up business. I'd challenge you to give Facebook another 6 months. Put this to the test. Give yourself a goal to post one photo to your Facebook page everyday. Every third day mix it up a bit and instead of sharing your work share something different like the examples above. When someone comments on it be sure to "like" their comment so they know you read it and if it calls for it engage with them on your page in the comments. 

Give it a shot. It's worked for me! Facebook is one of my biggest sources of referrals for my business and I am certain it can be for you as well. Much success! If you have had success doing this in the past share a link in the comments below along with your results. 


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Tony Northrup's picture

IMO, it's all about having a good thumbnail. Simple subjects, close-up photos, and clean compositions with no distractions make thumbnails that stand out better in the news feed. If the thumbnail doesn't get their attention, they'll never click like or see the full photo.

Bo Bickley's picture

I agree with Tony. The ultimate eaxmple is right here on FS. While browsing the communtiy photos how many do you pass by before clicking on one that grabs your attention?

I'm actually surprised you didn't write from a professional photographer's perspective, rather than stating the obvious: Facebook was built for social networking... NOT marketing and advertising. That FB has become a very strong platform for people to sell their wares, services, hobbies, whatever... it still comes down to the "social" side being more acceptable and the biggest reason people are on FB in the first place.

Tony gave a better insight/answer than you did considering the site we're on.

So... what ARE the more effective pro photos to put on Facebook when your marketing your photography business?

Trevor Dayley's picture

Doc I'm not quite sure I understand your comment. This was written from a professional photographer's perspective and gives tips on how I have built my business using Facebook as a platform. Not sure if maybe you just saw the photos and came to certain conclusions. I love your question, "effective pro photos?" - I think the answer to that though would entirely depend on what you enjoy shooting. If I am a wedding photographer, while I might get more likes on a professional photo of a model in a bikini, it wouldn't necessarily do anything for my business. On the other hand what I am sharing in the article is how we can use our business page to roll back the covers a bit and share a personal side of ourselves that in turn helps engage our audience and build our business. Hope that makes sense.

The title to this story, "Types of Photos That Are Most Successful on Facebook" is and has been blogged and posted to death on generic "Marketing Your Business on Social Media". I was expecting you to take a more pro photographer slant. I believe others including Tony Northrup were also expecting something written FOR photographers, rather than rehashing Marketing 101 for FB.

Your answer to publicizing your photo business is to get more "likes" by posting "snapshots" of your life, thus creating a familiarity with you, the photographer. I'm not bashing that at all and I believe it definitely should be done for any service publicizing itself on the "social network known as Facebook". Just look to the post below mine where a photographer is thoroughly misplacing his ire against the "social" in network, and confusing Facebook with a visualized Yellow Pages and/or taking the place of a strong website portfolio.

So IF you are going to show off some of your PRO photos along side "snapshots of your life and who you are"... what criteria would you use to select such PRO photos to gain attention?

Sorry... edited to add: you also put a PRO photo to the lead-in to the article and didn't explain why you chose it, and went on to glorify snapshots. Just saying.

Leigh Smith's picture

If you can convince me that photos of a cats will actually translate into dollars earned, then I might... MIGHT consider.
To me, there is nothing more annoying than sifting through peoples personal life when trying to get a feel for their work. Very unprofessional.

David Vaughn's picture

I don't understand how Facebook is dead. Everyone is still there. No one in my personal circle uses Google+ (and they're kinda pissed off that Google is trying to shove it in their face). Twitter is a better content aggregator than a content producer.

If I wasn't on Facebook, literally nobody I know would see my work. And I'm not talking from a marketing standpoint. I just mean in general. People are much more likely to click a photo on Facebook than to click on my blog post, wait for it to pull up blah blah

In other news, the most likes I've ever gotten is around 80, and that was on a photo of a lightning strike over my hometown. Lightning photography is uber popular.

Trevor Dayley's picture

David I agree whole heartedly. Facebook is alive and well for me and I love it. Lightning shots are very popular as well. Great suggestion.

Adrian J Nyaoi's picture

I am just a hobbyist:
G+ is not quite the same as FB, and one can't say one is better than the other. I have no luck in FB (been there for ages) but have over 20k following in G+( active for over a year). I average over 100 + per post in G+ and post view of over 5k is not uncommon.

There have been a lot of studies done on this subject. It's pretty basic consumer psychology. People get on FB to socialize with others, not feel like they are being advertised to (and they will block you from their feed). In general, people are a little voyeristic and will remember the behind the scenes stuff or the cats. Posting personal stuff like that allows people to connect on a different level - you are now a person with a family, a pet, and a personality, not just a set of final photos. They won't forget you are a pro photographer, you're just showing a different side of yourself.

Ross Jukes's picture

I'm not a professional, but I find this idea great. I always try to post my best work but it seems when you add 'personality' into it, it works wonders.

I always think 'Content is king' but personality shows some depth... Something I'd forgotten about. This is certainly a useful article for me and I will be putting this into practice....


Trevor Dayley's picture

Thanks Ross!

Jete Devisser's picture

This is so true. I receive way more likes and comments when I share random stuff on my business page about my kids or what to make for dinner. It's annoying and frustrating that I can't generate the same response from what I consider to be a kick-ass photo, but I just keep in mind that not everyone cares about wedding photography as much as I do ;) I recently posted an image of 3 sisters that are all expecting at the same time and received 7932 views, 52 comments, and 347 likes. And I have only 1800 fans ;) NOT BAD!!

Oh snap, this was fun to be reading and scrolling through and see my portrait of the Diblasios! Thanks!

I am sure this works for some but i have found that anyone who fallows me , could give 2 squats about what i have to say or share.....

Savi You's picture

Case in point: a simple snapshot of my wife during a Crossfit competition garnered the most likes I've ever gotten. It was accompanied with this status update "My wife is stronger than yours."

Michael Foyle's picture

An interesting read - cheers Trevor! PS love the cat!

Great article, for me anyways. I think everyone had good points. But, I think some are missing the point I took from both the article and the responses. There should be a balance of both. Mostly to showcase our work and to get more business, but with a bit of our personal personality so we are accepted for more than just an ad in their face. I will definitely start getting a bit more personal on my business page. www.facebook.com/sparklingimagephotography