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The Next Big Thing: Social Media Designed For Photographers

The Next Big Thing: Social Media Designed For Photographers

Want to get more leads in a specific area of your business? Have you heard of PhotogRefers.com? The next big social media platform for photographers is upon us. In fact, it is the only social media platform specifically designed for photographers and our creative community.

If you know me or a little bit about my background, I am constantly fascinated with new marketing and business opportunities for running a small photography business.  Effective advertising is not cheap. Many are unable to afford marketing campaigns. There may be a new solution for those with limited budgets that want to network with their peers.  In the summer of 2012, Chris Becker started dreaming and working on this project that released the first week of March, 2014. This new platform was similar to how he and others in the Southern California area built their foundations which have proved extremely successful over the last decade: sharing and receiving referrals from peers. Becker is not only the founder, he is a member and uses the platform daily.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Becker during WPPI to hear all about this new venture and the benefits it will have for our creative community.  Essentially, PhotoRefers.com is a platform to connect photographers and clients alike from around the globe. This isn't a directory or classified listing. This site is meant to be continuously updated with your freshest and favorite work. “We built this for the community. It is a win win for everyone involved” Becker commented. The site was soft launched at the beginning of this year which included only those who registered their emails about a year ago to receive an invitation. In 10 days, over 1,500 photographers created their profiles and started using the system.  This network will only continue to grow.

The most intriguing aspect of this new opportunity is being able to connect to a new audience. Your peers.  Each member has the ability to “friend” other photographers which allow you to keep up with their work. You can also “add to referral group” which will send out notifications when you are looking to hire or have a lead to pass out. Whether you are looking to receive or send leads or hire a second shooter for an upcoming event, this website does it all. Second shooters can also user their accounts to seek out shooting opportunities. It was built upon a system that offered three levels of referrals: friends, your referral group, and email. Members are able to share their favorite images and network with other photographers. The interactive tools allow users to “favorite” images; the cream of the crop will rise to the top of the gallery. This is a great way for your work to receive worldwide exposure and industry recognition.

The website has a clean design and is easy to navigate. Setting up your account is free and quick. List your name and business information and select a category that your business serves. The categories you can select include weddings and events, portraits, boudoir, and commercial/fashion. If you sign up for their premium account you can select multiple categories. Then, start adding images to your account for others to preview your work. It is important that you upload new images. This is not a place where you upload a few photos and forget about it. The success of networking with others is largely based on adding new photos on a daily or weekly basis. To get an idea of how to get the most out of the site, Becker shares his #1 tip for getting your work in front of people looking to hire a professional photographer:

“Only post 1 image at a time. You don’t want your images to compete with each other for clicks and views. Post it on PhotogRefers.com and then share it to your other social networks. The more love your image receives, the higher it’ll rank in our gallery and the more likely it’ll be seen by someone wanting to hire you.

Also you’ll rank higher on our site by posting an image a day for 10 days than if you post 10 images in 1 day. Just make PhotogRefers.com your healthy, 1 minute a day, social media habit that will actually help your business.

Remember, when you share your work to Facebook and Instagram, those images are usually only seen by those who already know about you. When you share your work on PhotogRefers.com, your work is exposed to an entirely new audience.”


In addition, clients seeking photography can use the site to find their perfect photographer. Perspective clients range from brides, commercial customers, or anyone seeking portrait (families, newborn, senior, etc).  The best part for the client is that they do not have to register or provide any sensitive information. They can simply go to the website and fill out a request form for services. They can select what they are looking for, their price range, and how many photographers they want to hear from. This request will show up in the dashboard of registered premium users. Once the allotted amount of photographers has fulfilled the request the lead will disappear unless the perspective client requests more.

Once you finish reading this, there is no reason you shouldn't go over and sign up for a free account. You have nothing to lose. You can search for other photographers in your area or those that you want to add as friends or add to your referral group. You can also upgrade to the premium account for a small yearly fee if you believe this system will work for you. The success of this website and referral community is largely placed upon our shoulders. The more photographers who use this service the more benefits we will be able to give and send to one another.  Make sure you also check out their Facebook page. PhotogRefers.com has partnered with 30 companies. They are offering some great discounts and promos! Head on over to the website now and get started on your profile; don’t forget to share this article with your photographer friends so you can connect on the next big thing in our industry. It maybe the best thing you do for your business in 2014.


Lindsey Pantaleo Facebook | Instagram | Twitter



Lindsey Pantaleo's picture

Lindsey Pantaleo is a wedding and high school senior photographer based in Central Missouri.

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1 question: WHY? Do we need to KEEP having to upload to "OTHER" websites, when we have OUR OWN websites that we SHOULD be promoting to a client?

That the whole point. When you share on FB or your site, your work is only seen by people who already know about you. When you share on sites like this, new potential clients can find you, then go to your website to see more work.

IF I pay to have my own website, I will promote my own website. I see no reason to spread my images online all over the place where they can have their metadata removed, and file name changed, and be easily stolen. Plus, until there's a cure for the "screen shot", I am not posting my images on FB etc. or anywhere else except my website, so that IF I find my images elsewhere I know for a fact they were stolen by screen shot since the "no right click" is enabled for my website.

Why would I make my images available for those who like to self-serve themselves?
Where are YOU marketing this website? and I am asking because of this:
1. How is a client looking for interior photography, a random interior designer, know about your website? are you physically targeting all interior designers in Tampa to let them know about your website? I doubt it. IF I have to direct them to this website, why wouldn't I direct them to MY website since I am not looking for my client to COMPARE ME with someone else, I am looking to GAIN that client for MYSELF!
2. how much money would we have to invest to BE promoted to the clients WE want?
3. I CHOOSE the clients I want to work with; "everyone" is not my client. Marketing is targeted; how can I target when my images are pooled together in a mass of pixels?
4. Everyone who wants to work as a photographer needs to be in charge of their own marketing; posting online on random websites means that you rely on the "hope" that someone will click your name, when in fact if you spent that time looking for the kind of clients you want to work with, and spend your money on unique marketing pieces, your chances of working and creating a client base for yourself are ten times higher! Clients like personalized marketing materials! Those who look on random websites are not paying clients, are just those who are looking to get a lot for nothing. The cases where one gains a client with a $20k budget off FB and the likes are counted like this: 0.0000000000000001% and I have a feeling you know this already.

These websites enticing "fauxtographer's" to upload their photos fall into two categories:
1. right grabs = Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr etc
2. to make their own money by charging photographers a fee to join and upload their images under the "we'll have clients come to you slogan" 500px, etc; they have zero interest in making a photographer any money because they make their money out of naive/desperate fauxtographers "join in" and that's where their involvement stops. You're not Agency Access to have lists that photographers can target with their marketing. There is already a flood of this types of websites....I don't buy into them. I am paying to have a website and THAT is where i send my clients to. I don't need to send my clients anywhere else to see my work if I have a website. AND....As a photographer, if you don't have a website, then you're not a photographer.

Photography belongs to the service industry; like flooring...so, each photographer is in charge of their own marketing, and products they are offering to a client. Everyone needs to do their own homework, and not pretend they are the stock market and play that "what if" GAME! There's no "what if's" in marketing; you have to target your audience and tailor your marketing to what you offer!

BTW, I cant steal any image from your site without doing a screenshot. Disabling right-clicking is just a deterrent for newbies and frustrate people like me who have to do the extra step to save the image on my computer (for reference, mood board, etc...).

And before bitching about Facebook advertisement, maybe you should give it a try. So far my friend is getting some pretty decent ROI on his media buy.

I am not saying you should not have a website. You should. But depending of your target market, social media could be the best way to get to your clients.

Not true at all. Where do you get this information, Photog Refers? If a friend of yours likes or comments on a photo, their friends see it, not only yours. I've gotten more gigs than I count this way. Let's assume you post a great photo and get 200 likes or comments. Those 200 people and their 300 friends will see it. That's 60,000 minus face book's weird algorithms. Also, I keep adding new clients and friends and guess what? They have friends, too.

A terrible pintrest ripoff with no redeeming features? Yeah, nah. Choose your thinly veiled advertising posts carefully, before you lose what shred of credibility you have left, fstoppers.

I wish I got paid for this post but sadly we did not.

This was not a paid advertising post. The article was written from my personal experience as I have benefited from connecting with some local photogs in my area. It may not work for everyone and by all means do what works for you; we will all have different experiences. It is a new concept and website that I wanted others to know about in case they are looking for something new and different to try.

imho, the biggest problem of sites like this is that they are made by photographers, for photographers, and nobody knows about them - except photographers.
so far I never got hired by another photographer...

I think the idea here is to share your profile to social media, and eventually they hope the site will grow. I agree with you though, but there's no harm in making a free account and posting a few of your best photos, after all you never know.

Actually, I am working on a social media site targeting photographer in a very specific niche. Can't talk about it now, but launch should be in a month or two. Why I did it? I am tired of seeing comments like "cool picture", I want my work to be talk about in a way that I can use the comments to improve my skill and so far, no social media is heading that way.

Hey, got an idea in the field. Let's connect via email - konstantin@toptechphoto.com

(1) It's just ANOTHER site to upload to pictures to, like we need another one of them.
(2) Looking at the content on there, its just more about porn than quality images.
There's much better quality sites out there.

I'm a fan of their sister site, Photog Reefers. Like a Pinterest for pothead photographers.

What I want to know is why is there not a site for photographers dedicated to second shooting, assisting etc etc. I would think this would bring fellow photogs together in a more productive way as well as nice way to take a break from full time shooting to help others out.

Bryan, A whole module of the site is dedicated to second shooting/finding second shooters. It's one of the main functions of the site. These people that think it's another Pinterest/flickr haven't looked at it enough to see it's nothing like that.

Nothing special from that site. Just another photos upload website, Pinterest style.

Here's how I see it: All good. Can't hurt. Maybe it can. For some people. Not for everyone. I try and not attack anything/anyone. Especially efforts that are at least in theory, designed to be beneficial and positive. Really, that's all it's about. At the end of the day...providing you're doing great work, improving your skills, working at what you love, producing great images.....your brand will grow, your images will get out there, you'll connect with the right folks and you'll get the work. Period.

We (ProductionHUB) struggled with this as well in the beginning 15 years ago. While
our community and job network is primarily pro video production, there is
some cross over with photography-specific skills/jobs. We focused first on
getting the jobs / leads in for our content creators, and then the community
followed. High end photographers will always want to show off their portfolio
and unique brand in their own personal websites. And many will ONLY want to
cherry-pick their clients and respond to leads, which we’ve found immensely
successful so far in our platform. (But then again, we primarily promote our
professionals to the clients / buyers who would want to hire them, so I guess
it’s a different model). http://www.productionhub.com/about

A website with a worse logo than Model Mayhem?

This isn't the "next big thing," I am sorry. It's a (somewhat inspired, sometimes terrible) amalgamate of other sites, in a weirdly convoluted setup. It is not more (and, I daresay, less so) "social" than, say, Flickr or 500px, has the same sharing functions, and reminds me of a white background ProPic 2.0.

In its current incarnation it's yet another photo aggregator (like 500px, PicPost, ProPic, Flickr, etc.). What's not so nice is that there is no (or insufficient) open graph, microformat, xfn, or twittercard data on any of the linked image pages, leading to a subpar sharing experience and, because of that, to stealing. Lest you think right click disabling is useful, every thief I know uses F12/Sources.

Can't see it serves any needs of photographers or the public. You need revenue to make something like this popular. The intentions no doubt of the creators is to sell advertising to photographers. I bet if I surveyed 100 people looking for a photographer no one would know about it.