If you’re a professional or a budding photographer, Instagram is a social platform you want to use to showcase your work. Like many other photographers, you can use Instagram to grow your photography business online.
Instagram is not only an app where people share photos of their cats. With over 1 billion monthly active users, it has become the destination of many brands to connect with their audience. As a photographer, you should consider yourself a brand and see Instagram as a chance to grow your business.
Why You Should Promote Your Photography on Instagram
Potential clients will look at your Instagram profile when deciding if they want to hire you as a photographer.
With a huge user base on the platform, the competition is fierce, and you need to improve as much as possible the quality of your images.
See it as your online portfolio and aim at presenting it in the best way possible.
I did a research and put together a list of 6 essential tips to help you grow your photography business on Instagram.
Also, if you read to the end of the article, I included a couple of valuable videos from a social media expert and one bonus tip!
How to Grow Instagram Followers for Photographers
One Style to Rule Them All
You know what I’m about to say. Yes, find your niche, your style, and stick to it.
Changing your photography style every month will hurt your profile. Instead, if you want to grow your follower base, keep the same consistent look and feel, and if, for example, like me, you fancy landscape photography, introduce people in your landscape grid only sporadically.
It’s all about consistency. People will follow you and come back to your profile because they know what they are going to find.
Plan Your Instagram Posts
You must plan your posts to know how your profile it’s going to look.
By planning your posts, it’ll be easier to keep your feed consistent.
When people scroll through an account, the first thing that has an impact is the color palette of your feed.
On my iPhone, I use an app called Mosaico.
With Mosaico, you plan your grid and aim at keeping a consistent palette to create a pleasant visual effect. Users are more likely to click on your feed and like your photos and follow your account.
In a way, keeping a consistent grid will give you a mental framework to find your photographic style and a predefined method of editing your images.
I find Mosaico for iPhone a simple and easy to use tool, but it’s not free.
You can also try these tools:
- Planoly. For Android and iPhone. The free plan gives you 30 uploads per month.
- Later. A scheduling tool for Instagram that also has a free plan available. It offers powerful analytics tools to see what’s working and grow faster.
- Tailwind. Well known scheduling tool for Pinterest, recently introduced Instagram as well.
- Iconosquare. Similar to Later.com with powerful analytics tools.
Content is king, but don’t forget that curation is queen! Taking amazing images is fundamental, and using a tool to curate and plan your posts can make a huge difference.
Post Only Work You’re Really Proud of
You will inevitably come across guides that tell you that to grow on Instagram, you need to post every day, and listen, probably it’s true.
The more you post, the more chances you have that people will notice your work.
But think about it this way, are you a photographer or you want to be an influencer?
If, like me, you still love the art of photography, do yourself a favor.
Throw in the bin those guides that tell you to post every day and focus on quality over quantity.
Post only work that you’re proud of, and don’t compromise on quality. People don’t need more photos.
We need your best ones.
Don’t Try to Be Perfect
Alright, focus on quality, but don’t fall into the trap of seeking perfection.
A lot of photographers never post on Instagram the best version of a particular photograph.
The advantage of uploading your content on a platform where the image resolution is “limited” to a mobile phone format is that your content can be imperfect.
No one will zoom an image to see if you’ve been perfect.
People won’t notice if you removed all the dust spots or if the color of the greens in your photos is spot-on.
Stop overthinking and ship it!
Edit Your Photos
No, I’m not telling you to use Instagram filters.
Forget about that.
I want you to open Lightroom and make sure you give some love to those beautiful images you have in your archive.
Color correction, a bit of contrast, and most importantly, don’t oversaturate your photos!
If you don’t know how to use Lightroom I have something for you, here’s my guide to Edit in Lightroom Like a Pro
Don’t try to be an Influencer
I said it before, let me repeat it.
If you try to copy “influencers” for the sake of getting likes, followers, success, money, you will fail.
You are here because you want to grow your photography business on Instagram, not getting 100M followers like Cristiano Ronaldo!
Some people have made it to a remarkable number of followers. And sure you need to expand your follower base to be able to reach more people and promote your photography business.
It’s far more critical, though, for you to focus on building a small community. People will follow you because they like your content. Because your work is unique, and it represents who you are as an artist.
People will follow you because, with your content, you are adding some value to their lives. Add an exciting caption to your images, tell a story, give something to your audience, and you’ll see the results coming.
In many countries, Instagram is now testing a new design that hides the number of likes a post gets. You might be part of this test and have noticed that Instagram doesn’t show you the number of likes of other people, but only yours.
You know why? Because they want people to focus on quality. They want you to tell a story with your images and invite other people to connect with you rather than concentrate on the number of likes.
Videos From Instagram Expert
Chris Hau is a YouTuber with a pretty big follower base on his Instagram account. I’ve been following his work for a while, his travel and lifestyle photos are awesome and in this video, he made in collaboration with my friend, the amazing @throughmywickedlenses, Chris shares some valuable tips:
The video is 10 min long, and it goes through a few insightful points:
- Keeping your feed consistent,
- Don’t follow unfollow people,
- Use an app to clean up your account from fake followers,
- Follow the right people,
- How to use hashtags,
- The importance of having a business account,
- Engage and build real connections,
- Be part of the community
In this second video, Chris explains how to get verified by Instagram, and why it could be important for your brand.
Getting verified means Instagram will add a blue checkmark near your account name.
Let’s see how it works:
Here are the key points:
- How did Chris get the blue checkmark from Instagram,
- Get featured on blogs or notable websites,
- Apply to get verified,
- Don’t stress too much about it!
To grow your photography business on Instagram, you need viewers to engage with your posts.
It’s something people don’t talk about much for some reason, and since you got to the end of this article, you deserve to know it.
If you want to get more likes on your photos, the simplest and most fundamental rule is… to shoot vertical!
Instagram is an app for smartphones.
It doesn’t allow users to rotate the device horizontally. If you put your phone in landscape orientation, the app won’t rotate the images to it.
Content on Instagram is consumed in vertical orientation only.
A vertical image will get more attention. The reason is simple. It’s bigger on the screen, and it has a better visual impact on a viewer scrolling the Instagram feed.
Also, don’t forget to reply to comments, and to invite people to comment on your photos. Ask questions to your followers in your posts description, and you’ll start getting replies.
If you want people to engage with your content, you have to show interest in other’s people work too.
It’s a social platform, and engagement is critical for growth.
I hope you found my tips useful.
Let me know your thoughts and share your Instagram handle in the comment section below.
I’ll go and check your photos!
Stefano Caioni is the founder of Pixinfocus. His passion for photography helps him discover new places and live new adventures.