How Instagram Brought Me Business After Only One Week Using It

How Instagram Brought Me Business After Only One Week Using It

For the past 2 years I refused to join Instagram. I just didn't think it was for me, I didn't believe I need it for my business and I just didn't like the idea of destroying my photos by cropping them and adding weird filters. So many people tried to convince me to join Instagram in the past year or two, and I always said "No chance!" But finally, after continuing insistence by friends, last month I decided to finally give it a try and just one week later, I got my first corporate client from it. Kind of crazy.

Instagram? Not For Me

I'm always one of the first people to try out new services, especially when it comes to photography. I signed up for Flickr when it was still a tiny website with only a few users. I signed up for Facebook way before it became popular. I can say the same for 500px and so many other services. For some reason (quite few of them as it turns out) I always refused to try Instagram. I always saw it as a platform for amateurs to share their not-so-great work. I thought I deserved better than this. For the past few years I built a big community of people who follow my work on my Facebook Page, and believed I don't really need to also join a service that crops my photos into a square, and adds filters to them, and basically presents my photos not in their best light.


After a lot of pressure from my friends, and after being annoyed by having clients/celebrities tagging me on there without even being on Instagram, I decided to just join. To just give it a chance.

Giving Instagram a Chance

All I have posted so far are a lot of random photos - some taken with my iPhone, and some taken with my Nikon D800. Some show behind the scenes of my photo shoots, some show my family and friends, and some show my actual work. Oh yeah, and of course some photos of the food I eat, after all this is what Instagram is really for, right?

I have to say, Instagram is not as bad as I expected it to be. Actually I find myself seeing it's the opposite: it's kind of cool. I feel like I can share more random stuff without being too annoying, unlike Facebook where I try to post only 1 or 2 times a day in order to not be that annoying spammy guy. I also have different crowds and different people seeing my work. People who never see (or care about) what I post on Facebook or Flickr, now see and like my images on Instagram. Without working hard, my work is being seen by more new potential clients, or at least by their friends or family members (which is as important).

First Client After One Week Of Instagramming

After posting only about 40 photos, I got an email from a corporate client. A new client. They told me they started following my work on Instagram and wanted to hire me to shoot for them. My reaction? "Wait. What?!" One week of posting very random stuff brings me paying clients? That's insane. I currently have only 200 followers - who knows what can happen when (/if) I have 3K, 7K or 10K of them. Just think about it.

Yes, I know it might have been just pure luck, who knows. Only time will tell if it was a one-time thing or not. I hope not.

The fact I got a paying client after such a short time on the service proves me I was totally wrong about it. Maybe it's not showing my work at its best, but it exposes it to so many new people and markets. I admit. I was wrong.

"O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Instagram."

(Props to those of you who recognize the quote above.)

Noam Galai's picture

Noam Galai is a Senior Fstoppers Staff Writer and NYC Celebrity / Entertainment photographer. Noam's work appears on publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Vogue and Us Weekly on a daily basis.

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nice to see he didn't vanish in the cloud after all! and the last part is from george orwell i think

You posted 70 photos in one week...?

Did you complete the corporate shoot? Did you get paid yet? Please update us as to what kind of client it was and if they were an awesome (or crappy) client to have. =) Also wondering if corporations who browse for photographers on instagram are looking for cheap or free work. Hope it goes well for you though.

it was a nigerian prince


haha Made my day

One Job, I think the Headline "Instagramm is a business maker" is bad and you should feel bad.

why should he feel bad when I highly doubt he was the one who put that up there?! If you know how media works there's headline writers for this stuff…you did all that to make him feel bad…irony.

Lol. What world do you live in? I've worked in online media for six years now and I've yet to meet a "headline writer" that isn't also the author of the article.

It's called sensationalism, and eventually all bloggers learn how to do it.

Haha, step up ya game bruh. Unless you own your own blog the people who run the sites usually determine the headlines. Sometimes they'll let you keep yours but not always. I agree it is sensationslism, the very reason the above "you should feel bad..." is dumb. How do yo work online for six years and not know this and then have the audacity to be rude and cocky about it? Lol! Thanks for the laugh!!!

I have made money because of my work posted to instagram. I only wish I had joined instagram in it's infancy to help me reach a larger audience.

agreed, my friend joined it early and has 156k followers.

How much more is picking up that one client worth in the long run? Awesome post!

I've landed several clients from Instagram as well as made some really great connections to MUA's , hair stylists and wardrobe people from outside my own region on Instagram as well. But I will say it didn't happen no where near as quickly as it did for you... Congrats on that... I had to do a lot of posting, commenting and likes to build an audience.


I am a photographer and I will say that Instagram is amazing for marketing. I have had numerous clients come from the app and it also drives a lot of traffic to my website.

I post on a average about 2-3 photos per week, some personal and some showing off recent work.

Instagram: @jessecallahan

Instagram is kinda of pain to use for photographers. Everything has to be squared other wise use a third party app, which I do. However, getting images on there can be chore unless someone has an easy way from the desktop. I would love to see the photo the company liked so much and like a few others have said how this all worked out for him.

i just use square ready app.

I recently joined IG as well, and of course, did not like how they square crop every photo, so I made a workflow just for IG. I post my photos the way that I shot them, with my post-processing, and never use IG's filters. I did a quick workflow write-up that shows all of my settings on my site. Maybe that will help you minimize your work.

I use Statigram and Nitrogram to post at odd times and also manage multipe accounts that I have and run for other clients. Its become quite the tool for me starting out as a photographer and I have been using it for about 3 years now. You would be surprised at what you can do and who you can meet on there.

This guy is the guy behind the Stolen Scream photo.... he's a damn legend!

The Terms Of Service of Instagram make it a business maker for only one company: Instagram. Read the TOS before you sign over your intellectual property. Instagram owns the right to use your images without telling you, for any purpose, without paying you, and you consent to this when you sign on to use IG.

Yep; I was going to comment the same thing.

Yoni you are spot on. Instagram is nothing more than a rights grab and money maker for Mark Zuckerberg and his shareholders all on the backs of photographers. Those that fail to value their intellectual property in this way also fail to understand the roll they play in undermining their own success and that of the industry as a whole. It is discouraging to see how many people commenting on this post are willing to be duped for such short term gratification.

Am I the only one who thinks its in-cre-di-bly narcissistic and arrogant to put 'responsible for creating one of the most influential photos of our time'. Djeez, deflate yourself a bit already. You haven't made the best picture ever dude, no one has. The balls on that guy.

Not the best, far from the best. not even close to being great. but influential - im talking about one photo. not more.


Noam, Congrats on getting a client from IG. Please post what was shot and bit of an update… The quote is from George Orwell's 1984 If I am not mistaken. Cheers

I dig it Noam! Bout time you got on there. I can't tell you how many times I have come across your name and looked it up on IG. I joined 3 years ago and have been loving it ever since. I didnt take it seriously until about a year ago but thats alright. Once I did I started getting recognition form guys I had never even thought I would connect with outside of this little app. Its unreal! Hit me up sometime and I would love to talk to you more about how Instagram can really be used as a powerful tool to market your work and reach other creatives and even companies or brands that would use you to shoot. Would love to chat!

Congrats, Noam !! you never know who is looking .. it's all about visibility ..

So wait…after his clients and celebrities kept on tagging him even though he wasn't on he decided to join…yeah, the reason you pulled a client after a week wasn't that much of a random chance when you have people with huge followings tagging you and recommending you. Better title for this article would be just, 'Give Instagram a chance.' I hate to be a hater, but this article, other then its content of saying you shouldn't just write Instagram off, was a waste of time. Hi, I've got close up photos of celebrities in places that only celebrities can get and I just happened to get more clients on Instagram for no other reason than I happened to post a lot of pictures and random luck...

Instagram here, Instagram there.. I mean, for thousands of people including me. Instagram doesn't even work like it has to.
Hashtags don't work, nobody else than my friends can see my work.
I mean, Instagram as a business maker, that's a big word mate.
You just got lucky.

Hey Noam,
You seem like a nice guy. Uninformed but nice. Unfortunately Instragram is looking for uniformed nice guys like you to take advantage of. If you had read Instagram's Terms of Use you would know that you have given Instragram alll rights to sell your images without compensating you in any way. If you really want to make it in the photo business without contributing to it's demize and yours, I suggest you pay attention, read contracts, consult an attorney if you don't understand something and by all means join one of the respected trade organizations (i.e. APA, ASMP) that are in existence to keep people like you from getting ripped off.

I guess the new client is Instagram for doing advertising here?

I have seen plenty of photographers land work purely through instagram.. I'm definitely a believer in the platform as means of marketing and landing business. But what I would like to see and hear is what exactly did you post to catch the company's attention?