Why is Instagram a "Must Do" For Photographers?
Instagram Versus Facebook
Every photographer I personally know is on Facebook, but most of them are not yet on Instagram. Facebook is a powerful tool to get your work out there, but it has one major limitation. FB by design is a medium for friends, relatives and acquaintances. If we happen to get a “friend request” from a stranger, we become immediately suspicious. Facebook is a tool to easily communicate and keep in touch with distant family and friends. From a photographic point of view, these are people that will love your work no matter what you post.
Instagram, on the other hand, is not designed for friends. Its mission rather is to attract people with common interests and hobbies. Instagram users are said to follow their passions, not their friends. The vast majority of my Instagram contacts are people I have never met, but we share an affinity for photography. A stranger “liking” my photo is far more meaningful to me than my mom “liking” it. Instagram is the tool that connects the photographer to the world at large. We are only visually sharing photos, so country, nationality, and language are not hindrances. Literally with Instagram, the world becomes your potential audience. 80% of Instagram users live outside the U.S.
The old gateways for photographers were books, newspapers, magazines, billboards, television, and exhibitions. These were the ways to make your photography public and were the obstacles that had to be concurred in order to accomplish it. This is no longer true. The number of people who see you on these formats is so limited as compared to social media. Instagram is the new format to be seen and recognized. We live in a world of global communication, no longer neighborhood interactions. Instagram allows photographers to connect past the neighborhood to the world.
My Four Week Instagram Anniversary
After watching Scott Kelby’s class on the power of Instagram, I was sold. I joined the next day, and now 28 days later, and after 28 daily posts, I can say it has been both fun and rewarding. Not only do people I have never met get to see my work, but I get to follow and see the work of many great photographers. Instagram is definitely a two-way street. I post one photo a day, and then relax and view the remarkable photos of Scott and other great photographers. Looking at the work of others is both inspiring and motivating. It raises the bar each day. It is this artistic challenge that forces us to do the necessary work to grow.
A Screen Capture on My Instagram 28 Day Anniversary
Ten Reasons Not to be Without Instagram
First and foremost: -Instagram is the only social media designed exclusively for photographers. It is an international platform to showcase your work. Why would a serious photographer not choose to be on it?
Second: Unlike Facebook, everyone that follows you on Instagram will see all of your posts. On FB, only a small percentage actually see what you post.
Third: Instagram is no longer just for “Phone Photography.” Yes, kids still play on Instagram, but unlike on Facebook, your worlds never interact.
Fourth: Basically all serious, big name, professional photographers already show their work on Instagram. It has become an indispensable tool for displaying their photography. Become part of their community.
Fifth: Instagram is big with 400 million active monthly users which generates over 8,000 “likes” a second.
Sixth: For some reason Facebook people can be mean, and for other reasons, Instagram people are not.
Seventh: Do not worry, you can send your posts directly from Instagram to FB if you wish.
Eighth: In Instagram, links are not hot, except for just one, and this is where photographers link their websites. This makes it incredibly easy to see somebody’s daily work first on Instagram, and then immediately go visit their website to get the fuller view.
Ninth: Realize on your website, you basically only show your portfolio, which is your top 20 or so photos related to a theme. On Instagram, you are free and encouraged to show much more. This gives you considerably more creative freedom to experiment.
Tenth: It is actually easy and fun to do.
How to Acquire Followers
- Obviously post quality work. Someone said “Photos are the glue and currency of the social network.” Make your photos stick!
- Keep your bio neat, tidy, and inviting.
- Your photo is important. It establishes you as a person, not a business.
- Relate your site to a theme. If you are a portrait photographer, and people follow you to see your portrait photos, don’t all of a sudden start showing landscapes.
- Post daily – once a day is the goal
- Use hashtags creatively. Unlike Facebook, this gives you the opportunity to have your photos seen by people who are not following you. If they like what they see, you have gained another follower. Posts with just one hashtag have a 12.5% higher engagement than without.
- Add location to your photos - Posts with a location have 79% more engagement.
- Title and only write short photo descriptions. This is not FB or a blog.
- Be sure to “follow and like” other photographers’ work, and they will probably do the same for you.
Come Follow Me
If you are already on Instagram, and would like to follow one more hard-working photographer, please feel free to follow me at chucklevie I shall return the gesture.
A Major Thank You to Scott Kelby for "Inspiring" Me