Instagram for Photographers: Grow Your Account in 2021




You know what’s better than a stunning photography website? A stunning photography website paired up with a killer Instagram account. The way we consume media and information makes it nearly impossible to have a powerful online presence without these two elements. And, unless you’ve been living in a WiFi-less cave, you certainly know how important an online presence is for any creative or business. But why is Instagram for photographers so important?


Instagram has become the social network of choice for both media creators and consumers. As such, it’s the best place to build a solid community and position yourself as a reference in your field. But to do so you’ll need more than talent and creativity.


Want to learn how to grow your Instagram account in 2020? Here are the ten main things you should keep an eye on:


  • Be authentic and true to yourself

  • Find an audience you can maintain

  • Show the whole picture with carousel posts

  • Understand the power of video content

  • Make the most out of Instagram Stories

  • Say goodbye to geotagged locations

  • Share your knowledge with others

  • Partner with brands you can benefit from

  • Curate your social skills as much as your media

  • Create meaningful personal connections



Be authentic and true to yourself


For a long time, Instagram for photographers was considered a double-edged sword due to the belief that social media limits creativity and has a negative impact on mental health. Behind these strong accusations there’s a clear culprit: images depicting over staged scenes and seemingly flawless lives. And it’s not just users who think so. In fact, this is actually the main reason why Instagram decided to hide likes in posts.


It’s a brand new decade and social media users are done with these fake realities. This doesn’t mean you should start aiming for less than breathtakingly beautiful nature photos or portraits, but rather that you should complement this with more personal content.


For example, you can start writing longer captions talking about the image’s backstory, share behind the scenes footage, or hold Q&A sessions. Simply follow Nirvana’s advice and show yourself as you are, as you were, and (as your followers want you to be) as a friend.





Find an audience you can maintain


As the popularity of Instagram for photographers keeps growing, users are becoming more selective when it comes to choosing what are the best photography Instagram accounts to follow. Finding your niche will allow you to build an audience who is truly invested in your work. This will likely transcend the social media sphere and have a direct impact on your business, as these people will be the first ones in line when you decide to offer your services or sell your photos online.


In order to put together such a strong community, you’ll need to offer them something that no other Instagram photographer can give them. Developing your photography style is a must if you want to stand out from the crowd. Whether it is by focusing on a specific genre or subject, or giving your images a unique look, people should be able to easily tell you’re the author.


Furthermore, you should only publish images you’re proud of and follow a consistent publication schedule. The average posting pace on Instagram for photographers is at least once a day, not including temporary content.





Show the whole picture with carousel posts


For photographers, Instagram’s original layout had one main inconvenience: the square cropping. After some time, vertical and horizontal formats were added. This feature allowed photographers on Instagram to showcase their pictures with a minimal format edition, specially when it came to landscape photography. But, alas, a new issue arose: Vertical images are much larger than their horizontal counterparts.


In a space where you have only a fraction of a second to catch your audience’s attention, this size difference can be crucial. As a result, photographers on Instagram started publishing vertical crops of their photos and sharing the full version on their stories. Eventually, the carousel post feature became the preferred alternative to display horizontal photos in full size within the Instagram feed.


Photographers are now dividing their images in diverse cuts and then using carousel posts to put them together, a simple edit you can do with any free photo editing software. Because Instagram does not add spaces between images in these types of publications, the result is a complete panorama that users can scroll through. Some photographers choose to add a cropped version as the first slide, while others put the complete image as the last.





Understand the power of video content


Video will be one of the most powerful trends of the year across many disciplines. Funny enough, Instagram plays a major role in the latest video trends. IGTV changed the game with vertical videos, and the platform is considered the ‘next big thing’ in online video. Essentially, this all means you cannot ignore how much this type of content can help you grow your Instagram account.


Instagram for photographers is evolving beyond static images, and by extension, so is the photography industry. The line between photography and videography is less clear every day as creators broaden their skills and areas of expertise. As a result, they are able to offer a wider range of services and reach a larger audience.


So, should you start shooting videos just because everyone else is doing so? Of course not. However, if you want to stay ahead of the game and take your skills to the next level you should definitely read some video tips and give it a try. Don’t worry about buying a lot of equipment up front. All you need to start creating great content is your camera and a free video editing software.





Share your knowledge with others


There are two main reasons why people follow your account: either they’re part of your family or they admire your work. While the first type of followers will stay with you no matter what, you’ll have to make a bit more of an effort to keep the second one around. You’ll need to offer them an added value that they can’t get elsewhere.


The best way to do so is to share your expertise. This can be anything from your personal preference on Lightroom vs. Photoshop, your take on artificial lighting, your favorite camera accessories, what motivates you to continue developing your skills, or the types of camera lenses you always have in your bag. Think of it as a trimmed down, visual version of writing a photography blog.


It doesn’t necessarily need to be technical knowledge either. Recently, Instagram for photographers has become an incredibly popular and powerful platform for those using photography to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues. Professionals in genres like documentary, travel, and wildlife photography are sharing their knowledge about their fields to bring consciousness to the challenges certain areas and animals are fighting against.





Make the most out of Instagram Stories


Instagram Stories have become as popular as the main feed, if not more. Because of this, they will play a significant role in the success of your account. You should see Stories and feed as two separate photography apps within Instagram, each of them with their own strengths and purpose. Your feed is the place to post your best images, the ones that will convince people to follow you. From your Stories, you get the chance to connect with your audience on a more personal level.


Instagram Stories allow you to share content that doesn’t truly belong in your portfolio, such as less-than-perfect photos or behind the scenes footage. The highlights feature actually allows you to keep these pictures in your account without affecting your feed. Another way to take full advantage of Stories is to use them as a way to promote your other channels, such as your professional photographer website, or just to make sure everyone sees your latest feed post.





Say goodbye to geotagged locations


The feature itself is not disappearing, but more and more photographers are refraining from using it in hopes of saving the world. As dramatic as that might sound, geotagging has had an incredible impact in numerous locations all over the globe. Places that were once only known by a handful of locals are now visited by millions of people every year.


The popularity of outdoor photographers encouraged others to roam off the marked path and explore new locations. What started as a dream to capture the untold beauty of the world has evolved into a careless race to get the most epic selfie. Some of these sites have suffered irreparable damage, and others are trying to fight back tourism in hopes of recovering their environment. As for photographers on Instagram, they believe that making it harder for people to find these locations will act as a deterrent from them visiting.





Curate your social skills as much as your media


Instagram was originally born as a platform for photographers to share their work and connect with each other. Over time, the platform’s audience expanded to include a broader variety of content and users. At this point, many see Instagram as a new version of Facebook that parents have not yet taken over. As a result, the platform has moved its focus from highlighting beautiful photos to encouraging engagement.


In fact, engagement is one of the most important factors to take into account if you want to beat the Instagram algorithm. Posting your very best images is still a must, but you’ll need to pair them with a strong social effort. Browsing other users’ work and interacting with them will get you on Instagram’s good books and improve your exposure levels on the site. On a personal level, this exercise will allow you to fuel your photography inspiration and help you expand your creative vision.





Create meaningful connections


On your quest to become a professional photographer, you’ll soon realize that the more people you know in the industry the merrier. And few platforms offers as many opportunities as Instagram for photographers to connect with like minded individuals across the world.


The more active you are on Instagram, by both sharing content and engaging with other users, the higher your chances are to meet new people. Explore the work of others in the types of photography you’re interested in, and leave some comments on their posts. With time, some of these casual messages will evolve into private conversations, and before you know it you might be planning a travel photography expedition together.





Partner with brands you can benefit from


Regardless of the kind of photographers you follow on Instagram, you have likely come across a fair share of posts sponsored by brands. In fact, you could probably recall at least three brands who have partnered with photographers to include their products or names in their photos.


Companies are moving away from paid content to use Instagram’s own users as a means for advertising their products and services, boosting the chances that amateurs will be able to build successful photography careers. The reason why is pretty clear when you think of this question: How many actual paid ads can you remember seeing among your feed?


If you aren’t doing it yet, 2020 will be the perfect time to reach out to brands as a photographer. When you do so, make sure you aim for companies you can benefit from beyond monetary compensation. This can be anything from transportation to photography gear, or maybe even snacks. Make sure that their product or service is something which can be seamlessly included in your work, otherwise it could potentially jeopardize your portfolio and reputation.





Last Updated on November 25, 2019.



By Judit Ruiz Ricart

Editor of the Wix Photography Blog





#instagram #promoteyourpictures #socialmedia

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