Here we are nearing the end of 2020, and Instagram isn’t slowing down one bit. Now more than ever, brands and businesses are taking to the platform to enhance their business performance and reach more people that may be interested in their offerings.
This is especially true for photographers; since Instagram is a visual platform that allows for a large amount of reach, photographers are taking to the platform to share their work and gain traction to build their reputation.
With this increased amount of competitors, photographers now find themselves vying for users in shared target audiences. This means that not only do you have to have a strong content and hashtag strategy, but your images need to be creative and on point.
The good thing is that Instagram is basically a photographer’s dream, giving you an outlet for your artwork while also providing the opportunity to monetize the platform and get noticed by potential sponsors or customers. Instagram offers you many ways to be creative and use your personality, image, and voice through your content.
In this article, we’re going to give all of your photographers out there the top tips to head into 2021 strong with an optimized strategy for Instagram, taking your profile to the next level.
Let’s get into it!
Instagram Photographers Tip 1: Tell a Story through Each Photo
People want to be impacted and affected by your photos; they want to see themselves through your photos, and be able to take something from your work as a photographer. If you are able to tell a story through each of your photos, this is going to generate a lot more interest around your work.
Anybody can take a decent picture; that may sound a bit disconcerting, but with so many editing tools and photography apps out there, most people can slab together a photo with pretty decent composition that people like to look at. If you can tell a story through your photo, however, that is what will set you apart and draw people to your profile.
Whether your niche is nature photography, portraits, landscapes, beauty shots, wedding photography, or any other branch of photography, find interesting ways to frame your photos into a narrative.
When you do this, you can use your caption to enhance your image and tell your followers and viewers more about the story, giving them an immersive experience that will keep bringing them back for more.
Instagram Photographers Tip 2: Engage with Your Followers
When you post high-quality Instagram photos, you’re likely to get comments that compliment your work or ask questions. When you get comments on your photos, respond to them and acknowledge them.
Also, when you post a caption, ask for people to comment something below or tag a friend. This is called a “call to action” and can help to boost your engagement rates. You can also do the same on Instagram stories.
Use Instagram stories features like polls, swipe meter, questions, and quizzes to gain more engagement and participation from your followers. It can be a quick and easy way to boost engagement.
The reason that engagement is so important because it is the way that the algorithm works; if you have high engagement levels, your performance against the algorithm will be better and Instagram will consider your post as valuable and successful.
Your post will get more reach when you have high levels of engagement because it will be shown to more people, and will appear first in the feeds of your followers who engage with you. It could even end up on the explore page or top photos in a hashtag feed.
Instagram Photographers Tip 3: Don’t Use Instagram as a Portfolio
If you posted all of your photos on Instagram, it would be incredibly overwhelming for your followers and profile viewers. Even with the possibility to use carousel posts, it’s still too much content if you try to load all of your photos, or a large part of them, onto your IG profile.
In reality, you should be strategic with what you post. Like we said earlier, you want to tell a story with your content, and you should try to get across a strong brand image and personality through your content.
You could use it as a daily photo journal, or you could feature different series or content themes to make your content unique and interesting. Instagram is like a brief advertisement for your work, and if people want to see more, direct them to your gallery or portfolio with a link in bio.
Instagram Photographers Tip 4: Create a Content Posting Strategy
It’s important that you know when your content is most likely to get in front of your followers and viewers in your target audience. The more that people see your photos, the more chances you have to gain new followers and boost engagement.
While there is not one right answer as to when content performs best, you’ll want to consider the habits of your target audience— when are they likely to be online, and what days are they most active? Knowing this information can help you outline a schedule.
You should then post some similar content at a few different times to see which one gets more engagement. This will be a good indicator that your posts will continually perform better at that time.
You’ll have to do it a few times to make sure you get a cohesive weekly schedule, and then you can use an Instagram scheduler to set up your photo posting schedule in advance and see how they all look visually before posting.
This is the best way to make sure your content gets the most views possible; you should use a photo that is similar for testing so that you know the reason for the increased engagement is due to posting time and not image quality or interest.
Instagram Photographer Tip 5: Have Fun
At the end of the day, you should always have fun. Social media is a form of entertainment, so you should enjoy what you do and be happy about what you share with your followers and viewers.
People can tell when you’re having fun, as that attitude can shine through in your content. Also, when you have fun, it becomes less of a chore to post regularly but something you actually enjoy. This can keep you creative and always thinking about ways to make your content better.
Let your personality shine through— people want to see you having fun and loving what you do. Be sincere and show your audience who you are.
Instagram Photographer Tip 6: Keep it Simple
Don’t get over complicated with your content strategy or photos. You don’t have to write pages and pages of captions in order to tell your story, and you also don’t need to be overly dramatic or artistic in order to gain people’s attention.
Stick to what you know, focus on providing value to people who view your account, and have fun in the process while encouraging engagement and sticking to your visual aesthetic. That will ensure that followers can clearly see what you’re all about and will know what to expect from your content.
When your content is straightforward, enjoyable, and valuable to your community, you’re likely to gain more followers because they’ll know what to expect from you and your profile.
Instagram Photographer Tip 7: Have a Strong Hashtag Strategy
Using hashtags is one of the most important ways to get your content discovered. When you use hashtags, your content will become more available to people, raising your chances of gaining more followers.
Try to avoid using very general hashtags like #photog or #photography, as this is unlikely to get your content out to the people you need to. Too many posts are being posted with these tags, so they’ll get pushed down the feed.
Use hashtags that are more specifically connected to your photography and niche. When you make it more specific, you’re likely to be seen by viewers who are interested in that content and not just random people on the platform.
Instagram Photographer Tip 8: Show Your Behind-the-Scenes Process
People want to know what your process is! Showing them your behind the scenes work can be awesome, especially in your Instagram stories.
You can also do Instagram lives and let your followers get a glimpse into your world. Giving little tips and showing how you do certain things may be really valuable to other photographers out there as well.
Instagram Photographer Tip 9: Use Instagram Stories to Promote New Posts
When you post a new photo on your content feed, you should post a preview on Instagram stories with a sticker that says “new post!”
Don’t show the full post on your story; hide some of it or block it out so that users have to go directly to your profile to check it out. You get a boost for your engagement through a profile view, and you’ll also get them onto your profile. Nice!
If you’re a photographer on Instagram, using these tips above can help you to take your Instagram performance to the next level. If you want to gain more followers or get noticed by potential partners or sponsors, these tips can take you there!
Don’t forget that your work should appear as put together and professional as possible, so using professional equipment, lighting, as well as editing can help you to showcase high-quality images and maintain your reputation.