Why Photographers Should (Still) Care About Instagram

Why Photographers Should (Still) Care About Instagram

If you haven’t been keeping up with your photography Instagram marketing, now’s the time to revisit. Instagram marketing can be incredibly fruitful for photography businesses. To make it work for yours, you must understand how to use Instagram productively. Let’s start off with some statistics…

Those are pretty big numbers for any small business owner to ignore. If Instagram isn’t already a major part of your social media marketing strategy, it needs to be now. You don’t need to run Instagram ads to build your business on this social media platform. So, how can photographers find success in their business on Instagram?

Let’s Get This Over With: Your Follower Count Doesn’t Matter

No, your follower count doesn’t actually matter. Whether you have 200 or 20,000 followers, you can bring in business with this platform. What matters most on Instagram for business is how your audience engages with your content. If users like, comment, save, and share your photography on Instagram, that’s where the real value comes in.

How to Get More Engagement on Instagram as a Photographer

There is no simple guide to Instagram engagement. So what you can do as a photographer on this social media platform is experiment. Figure out what type of content strongly resonates with those who are discovering your profile. One of the biggest ways to build engagement for your photography business on the app: engaging with others.

Build time into your marketing plan to engage with the content of others. If you’re looking to build a presence within your local community, start there. Engage with other local businesses using the platform and start building brand recognition.

Prompting Engagement on Your Social Media Posts

Another way to increase engagement on your posts is to add a call to action in your captions. This could be something simple like just asking a question. For example, a wedding photographer can post a photo of an engagement ring and ask in their caption “how did your proposal happen?”

The more that others engage with your content, the more your content gets seen. When your photos start to pick up traction with likes and comments, the algorithm knows that it’s likely more people want to see it too.

Easily Build a Local Client Base for Consumer Photography

If you’re a consumer photographer, this social network can easily drive sales to your business. For photography businesses like weddings, families, branding, portraits – you can easily bring in clients from Instagram. With this app, however, you can’t sit around and wait for the clients to roll in. Making small shifts can make a larger impact on your business.

Use Hashtags, the Right Way

When using hashtags on Instagram, you’re not going to get far with #photography #photographer. These tags are over saturated and aren’t bringing in local traffic. People in your area aren’t searching for #photographer to find someone nearby. Instead, get specific with your hashtags – #brooklynweddingphotographer is way more likely to have engaged couples cruising for a local professional.

If you’re not sure what to hashtag your images, think specifically. Get granular with it. For wedding photos, for example, hashtag the venue, #LocationWedding, #VenueWedding, #LocationPhotographer, and so on. These are way more likely to yield local results and potential local photography clients.

Use Location Tags

Similar to using specific hashtags, get specific with your location. Instead of just “New York, New York”, make sure you’re tagging the location or venue the image is taken at. Potential clients who are seeking photos in specific locations are going to be looking at those tags. Ensure that you’re using Instagram’s native tools to give your business an advantage!

Let People Know What You Do

Optimize your Instagram bio to share what you do. If you’re a family photographer, for example, you’d put something that users would search for like “[Location] Family Photographer”. After that, you can insert a little something personal. Make sure people know what you do when they stumble across your profile.

How to Use Instagram for Photographers

Create Connections With Other Professionals in Your Area

Not only can you build your business on Instagram by connecting with clients, but with professionals as well. There are plenty of other people in and around your industry using this platform. Create brand awareness for both customers and other professionals using this social media network.

Connect With Other Photographers

If building a community with other photographers is important to you, this is the social network. Use this platform to connect with other photography professionals. Learn from each other’s work – comment, engage, critique! Share the love for your photography community near and far with Instagram.

Connect With Other Vendors or Collaborators

There are plenty of local businesses that are paving their way with Instagram. Start engaging with ones that you feel connected to and passionate about. Build brand awareness with them and with their audience. It’s likely that if you’re connected on some level to a business, their audience may connect with you the same way.

What to Post, When to Post, How to Post

There has been plenty of marketing research put into the algorithm to figure out what, when and how to post on this app. It seems that this social networking site is quite elusive. The algorithm is constantly shifting and it feels like you have to find ways to “beat” it.

However, there are several platforms that are also keeping up with times to post and little shifts to the algorithm. Using a scheduling and posting tool will not only help you to keep up with the app’s shifts, but to keep up with your feed. It can be difficult to keep up your photography business and keep up with social media marketing.

Scheduling Your Instagram Posts

Connect your Instagram account to a platform like Hootsuite, Tailwind, or Planoly that will allow you to post automatically. That way, you can schedule out your posts ahead of time. It lets you forget about having to keep up every single day! When you schedule, you’ll have more time to use Instagram to actually connect, engage, and grow.

Is There a “Right Time” to Post on Instagram?

Photographers may worry that they’re not posting enough, posting too much, or posting at the wrong time. But are there really “right” times to post on Instagram? That depends on how your existing audience uses the app! One of the biggest Instagram marketing tips is to use the Business account feature.

Using an Instagram for Business account can allow you insights directly into how your audience is using the app. It shows you which days and which times they’re most active on the app. Whether you’re posting once a day or once a week, this can help you to determine when to post. You can also see the age, gender and locations of your audience using this tool.

Should Your Photography Business Be Using Instagram Stories?

In short: yes. Instagram Stories provide prime real estate at the very top of the app. They’re the first thing you see when you log in, and are often the first thing users tap through. Stories can give an impermanent look at your business.

Instagram Stories can be used to share behind-the-scenes looks at your business. Share some of your editing process for those who are curious. Let people know that you’re busy, you’re working and you’re present!

Instagram for Photography Businesses

Instagram can be an invaluable tool for photography businesses of all sizes and levels. Are you finding success with Instagram for your photography business? Have you abstained from using this social platform for your work? Share your personal experiences with this app in the comments section.

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11 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

I thought we were supposed to say "screw you" to IG because of the whole embedding thing and the degenerate culture, though... Now we're caring about it?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

From the same author?

Megan Breukelman's picture

Nope, I've never said screw you to IG!

David Love's picture

Sounds like a lot of work for a Facebook owned website that specializes in ruining reach and burying post. I use it for a portfolio site but I'm done running on the gerbil wheel for Zuckerberg. Seeing a lot of people buying likes now too so things have really gone to hell.

Greg Silver's picture

You forgot one more stat - 100% of all those stats listed are from Instagram. (I honestly don’t know if they are...but assumed they were).

Personally, whenever I use Instagram, I find myself taking VERY LITTLE time focusing on one picture. Because there is so much content, I’m constantly swiping to the next photo - even though the photographer or artist may have taken hours/days to complete. This isn’t how I would want to showcase my work.

Tom Reichner's picture

I am kind of the opposite. When I see a photo in Instagram that is particularly interesting to me, I usually send a direct message to the photographer with some questions about the photo. I usually want to know the story behind the photo.

Everyone I have ever messaged has always responded, and this starts a chain of messages with that photographer about the subjects he/she has been photographing and how he/she goes about photographing them.

I have gotten to know quite a few people that way, and have connected with many of them in real life to shoot together. It's a great way to get to know others who are passionate about the same kind of photography that I am passionate about.

james Tarry's picture

Big fan of sticking by IG. Still the cheapest form of advertising and in last year had more leads and new bookings through there than any other.

Megan Breukelman's picture

What kind of photography business do you have? Love to hear it!

james Tarry's picture

Hey Megan, I’m an interior photographer, So there’s a whole massive network of designers/architects etc on there to connect with

Megan Breukelman's picture

That's too cool! I'd love to dive into strategy with you sometime if you're ever interested in chatting - interior photography marketing is something I know very little about and am SO curious!

Andrew Towe's picture

I can't do that. No IG. After the two recent count hearings, copyright photos on IG is still available for free for whoever whenever however. I can only stand by a platform that's willing to protect me and the work. With that said, no one may never know what my work is.