More and more photographers are using Instagram to market their work. It makes sense, considering Instagram is a popular social media application with over 150 million users. It’s also one of the easiest photo and video sharing platforms: You simply post a square photo or video and add tagging, captioning, or both. Then, other Instagram users can like your photo, add comments, and share it with their friends. Moreover, every post you upload to Instagram will show up in your followers’ feeds, unlike Facebook.
Below, I’ve listed 11 tips for how to effectively promote your photography on Instagram.
- USE HASHTAGS
Every time you post a photo, add a series of hashtags (up to 30 maximum) to increase exposure. Your hashtags will vary depending on the photo, but here are a few options to consider.
- Location | List the city or town in which the photo was taken. If applicable, indicate the name of the park, building or event. Examples: #chicago #losangeles #mckinleypark (Geotagging is also another option.)
- Type of Photography | Indicate whether it is a family portrait, a wedding photo or a newborn shoot. Examples: #familyportrait #weddingphotography #newbornshoot
- Location and Type | Potential clients may be able to more easily search for you if you combine the location and type into one hashtag. Examples: #dcweddingphotographer #sacramentoseniorportraitphotographer #sanfrancisconewbornphotographer
- Your Equipment: Describe the camera and lens you used to shoot the photo. Examples: #nikon #canon #5DMarkIII #film #105mm
- Your Brand | Make sure to list the name of your photography business. Example: #claycombphotography #nichyphotography
- Details | Describe the relevant aspects of the photo using broad terms. For instance, if you are uploading a photo of a wedding bouquet, you might use hashtags like #weddingbouquet #weddingflowers #bridalbouquet #callalillies #redroses #bridal
Photographer Natalie Schutt (@natalieschutt) tagged this senior portrait with a variety of hashtags.
- TAG YOUR CLIENTS
When you post a client’s photo on Instagram, tag them by typing @ followed by their profile name. This will ensure that they see the photo, if they are not already following you on IG. The client can then like the photo, make a comment, and share it with their friends by simply typing their friends’ profile names in a comment below the photo.
- SHARE BLOG POSTS
Promote your blog on Instagram by sharing one photo from your blog post. In the caption, mention “link in profile” to direct people to your blog post.
- POST CONSISTENTLY
Share at least one photo a week, but avoid posting too many photos. One to two photos per day works best. Be sure to upload your best work; you want people who follow your Instagram feed to be wowed by your photography.
- UPDATE YOUR PROFILE
Make sure your profile contains your blog address or website. Some photographers also choose to list their email address to make it easy for potential clients to contact them. Keep your bio to 150 characters or less, and set your profile to public.
- CREATE A SECOND ACCOUNT
Some photographers have just one Instagram account where they post all of their photos—both personal and professional. Others prefer their personal Instagram account to be separate from their photography business. If you fall into the latter group, here are two tips to successfully create a second account: 1) Log out of your current account; 2) Use a different email address.
- WATERMARK YOUR IMAGES
Most professional photographers always watermark their images. If you’re posting your photos on Instagram, it’s a good idea to include both your name and website address in the watermark. Photographer Morgan Werner (@morganwernerphoto) takes it one step further. Werner, who specializes in senior portraits, watermarks her images with her full name as well as “senior photography.”
- ADVERTISE SALES
If you are offering a discount on your services, share this information on Instagram. Trina of Claycomb Photography (@claycombphotog) recently advertised a Black Friday special on Instagram.
- POST TO MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
When you upload an image to Instagram, you can also choose to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media outlets.
10. SHARE A VIDEO
Instagram is also a great platform for posting short videos.
Ana of Nichy Photography (@nichyphoto) created this fun video slideshow that showcases some of her favorite engagement photos, along with music. (She used the application, Flipagram, to make the video.)
You could also create a behind-the-scenes video, showing you at work as you interact with clients and take photographs. Or consider putting together a promotional video that includes some of your best work, along with a short clip where you talk about why you love being a photographer.
Possible hashtags for videos: #instavideo #instagramvideo #photographyvideo #flipagram
11. FOLLOW OTHER IG USERS
The more people you follow on Instagram, the greater the likelihood that additional people will follow you. Start out by following all of your friends and family members as well as other photographers. (To see who your friends are following, go to Activity and then click on “Following.” There you can view photos that your followers have liked as well as who they are following.) Regularly like your followers’ posts and leave comments. Respond quickly to any questions posted under your photos, remembering to tag the inquiring Instagram user by typing @ and their profile name.
There’s no doubt that Instagram appeals to a young audience (people under age 35 and mostly women), so it is particularly ideal for photographers who want to promote their photography to high school seniors, couples getting married, and families with young children. But even if that doesn’t describe your photography niche, you may still find success on Instagram. The bottom line: If potential clients are active on Instagram, then shouldn’t you be, too?