Has your lack of followers affected you when trying to get a model for some project work? I have not experienced this situation. Maybe I was told another reason as to way they weren’t interested, but this hasn’t been one of the reasons I received. Recently, I was in a chat group with fellow photographers, and this topic was brought up. One of the photographers asked a model about doing a TF project, and the response was he didn’t have enough followers to work with. This isn’t the first instance where I have heard of. This had me thinking for a bit: why would this be the determining factor?
Photography is always evolving, and now with social media playing its part in it, it will continue to change even more. I know it can be tremendous help, but personally, I have not put much work into getting a big following on my accounts. Lately, I have been pushing to gain some, but it can be another job in itself. A tip I here offer is you have to be active on it, but as it is, I am already limited on time. As a photographer, we have to juggle so many positions, especially if we work alone, and now there’s another one to add to the list of hats we must wear. And now, with some models, it's best to contact them through Instagram or Snapchat. Mind blown! You mean to tell me you can't respond to a text message, but you will respond to a message in an application on the same phone? Maybe if I were a new contact, I could understand so you know who it is, but if we already exchanged info and you know whose number it is, why not respond in the text message? I know I am not alone in this matter, but just go through with it to speed up the process on the project or job for communications. Have you dealt with this issue as well?
I am sure many of you noticed a while back when Facebook changed their algorithms on the business pages to where you pretty much have to pay for people to see the post. At that point, my desire and motivation to obtain a larger following went away. With Instagram owned by Facebook and changing as well, now we have insights to see how the posts are doing if you switch to a business account. If you were unaware of this new option, make sure to check out our Instagram Insights article; I have also included a snapshot of the insights view on the Spekture page I am part of. I’m a bit worried they may follow the same trend of Facebook in the future. This brings up another hesitation to work to gain more followers if in the end I have to pay for them to see my work.
Going back to the issues of models turning down projects due to the photographer not having a huge following, what about the photographer’s portfolio? This would be number one in my book. Shouldn’t this be number one for them as well? If a not-so talented photographer happens to have a huge following for whatever reason, you will work with that one instead of a very talented photographer? I still believe that the portfolio should speak for itself; if it’s amazing, and the project idea is wonderful and something that interests you, shouldn’t you both come together to make another masterpiece? I understand the whole social fame aspect of it all, but I just don’t understand why you would turn down a talented photographer solely based on the fact their following isn’t enough in your eyes. In that thought, what is enough? Equal to your following, double, or triple? What if the social platform they use most isn’t the one where you have the best following?
This isn’t only a one-way street; models can experience this from photographers as well or even the makeup artist. Have I declined a model on a project based on their following alone? Nope. My main concern when looking at their portfolio is their body of work. I have worked with some models whose following isn’t bigger than mine or isn’t much at all. Do they have the look I am going for? Do they have a solid portfolio? Those are the questions I ask.
I understand their point of view when they say if I work with someone who has a large following, I can gain some more for myself. Well, that part of it may be one-sided; at least, in my experience, it has. I can work with a popular model, and when they share the work, I am lucky if I gain four new followers from them.
There are plenty of ways to buy followers, but then I am back to the point of questioning this for Facebook: buy followers to look more popular than you are and then have to pay for people to see you. Now, you can buy followers for Instagram as well, which is just for the perception once again of looking more popular than you actually are. I have seen some pages where the follower count is off the charts, but on average, their likes are absolutely small in reflection. I understand it’s not possible to reach all of your following based on the time you post, how active your followers are, and other factors. However, let’s say you have over 25,000 in followers, yet your photos only yield 20 likes on average; to me, it looks like you purchased followers. I could be wrong, but if I don’t have anywhere near that amount of followers and return more likes, something looks a bit fishy. I would like to see the average reach stats to see how many people actually come across the photos instead of how many followers they have. To me those would be the real numbers I would base any judgment on if I were to base them on numbers.
Have you experienced rejection based on a lack of followers? What social networking platform are you most successful on? Is the other person's amount of followers a major factor when considering trade work? What tips do you have for those trying to increase their following?