In portrait photography, a profile is never just another photo. You need to find the proper setting, the right angle, the correct lighting… Social media is the same – and especially Instagram, the number one platform for shutterbugs. Unlike what you might expect, there’s a lot you need to take into account in order to create the profile that will present your professional photographer persona in the best way possible.
Did you know that the average Internet user spends less than half a second to form an overall impression of your account? Whether you’re the proud owner of an über successful Instagram channel, or only taking your first footsteps in opening one – there’s always room for maximizing the potential of your profile. You might already know that adding a link to your photography website isn’t enough: read on to learn the ins and outs of creating the perfect photographer Instagram bio and profile.
Instagram? There is no question
Instagram doesn’t need an introduction, nor does it require any further explanations of its digital marketing benefits, let alone for photographers. In a world where most Internet users come from the mobile sector, images have already spoken way more than one thousand words. Yet if you feel you need a quick reminder on ‘why’, before we get to the ‘how’, here are a few good reasons to take into account (and open one):
It’s like your business card, but a very personal and flexible one. Instagram showcases the full spectre of your capabilities, not just the creme-de-la-creme reserved for your portfolio. Photos from behind the scenes, various projects in the works and real-time experiences showcase your personality, alongside your photography talent.
There’s no better place to grow your network, become an influencer, and receive collaboration offers from brands and agencies.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram does not use algorithms to select the most relevant posts – every photo you upload will appear in your followers’ feed.
Did we mention that Instagram has 500 million active users daily?
Oooh-na-na, what’s my name
Your name is the first thing people see when they land on your profile. It is also what appears in search results, the second after people type your name in the search bar (and we hope they’ll do that pretty often!). To be precise, two elements in your profile are indexed by Instagram to appear in search queries: your account name (also referred to as ‘handle’) and your profile name.
The account name (username, or handle) should be recognizable and as short as possible, in order to be easily memorized by your fans. We’d recommend using simply your name (or brand name), with no periods or underscores. Since adding the word ‘photography’ will make your account name significantly longer, you can simply add the word ‘photo’ at the end – if at
For branding purposes, we suggest using the same name for all the social media platforms you use, as well as for your email address. In any case, it’s better to avoid silly or offensive names, repeating letters, and names that might be sound like other existing brands.
The profile name can contain a bit more info:
Your name (or brand name) can be followed by ‘photography’.
If you work in a specific genre that you’d like to get hired for, include it! Travel, wedding, portrait, wildlife – you name it (literally).
Just like the photo on the ‘About me’ page on your website, your profile picture should be both recognizable and memorable. Bear in mind that since Instagram is a mobile platform, there’s not much screen space to utilize – profile photos will appear quite small.
We often see photographers posing with a camera that covers their faces. As much as you’d like to include your “shutterbud” in the frame, considering the small screen real-estate we’d suggest going for a simple portrait photo that shows your face clearly. Served in a round format, the profile picture anyhow puts the focus on your face, rather than on the background.
Your life, your bio
The bio is where you actually get to position yourself and stand out from the crowd. It’s the time to define your services, find your niche, and simply be your true photography self – all in 150 characters! The question you should be asking yourself is: “If there were 10,000 photographers standing right next to me, how would I present myself differently?”. While you’re at it, think about your target audience. What are the main keywords that will attract their attention and make them click the “Follow” button? Typing these in will not affect search engines, but will help you sharpen your bio till it shines.
Photographers based in a specific location (not everyone on Instagram is a travel photographer – yet) should definitely include the name of the city or area they’re willing to get hired in. On top of including a photography genre, location, and the type of services you provide, try to make it interesting and personal. Emojis and line breaks can help you space out the text, while a clear call to action will help direct your viewers to where you want them. Needless to say, your bio should correlate directly with the atmosphere created by the photos you post on Instagram. You can even include one or two of the best photography hashtags to let people what you're all about right away.
Don’t miss out: your bio also provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration offers. If you’re on the lookout for those, include your email address and make it clear that potential clients and colleagues can feel free to contact you on any matter.
Think and link
After completing your bio, the next step is adding a link. There’s only room for one clickable link, so the spotlight needs to be spot on. Where would you want to send viewers, who were impressed by your photography and simply have to find out more information about you? To your photography website, of course. That being said, you might want to update this link from time to time with other destinations. For example, if there’s a specific photography project in the works, an ongoing sale you’d like to attract clients to, or a recent article you published on your blog.
Use it to the max
Having put so much effort into setting up and optimizing your Instagram account, make the most of it by adding the feed to your photography website. It will enrich your portfolio, keep it fresh, and those extra followers coming from your website will be the cherry on top. The Instagram Feed app is extremely easy to use and fully customizable to suit your brand’s look and feel.
To take advantage of your Insta marketing efforts, get yourself familiar with the 7 Instagram tips every photographer should know.
To sum things up, let’s quickly review the essentials of a successful photographer profile on Instagram:
Short and recognizable account and profile names
A bio that makes you stand out from the crowd, possibly including your: > Photography niche > Keywords > Location > Email address > Emojis and line breaks > Something personal: a fun fact or a quote > A call to action
Link to your photography website (or ongoing project/sale)
A candid profile photo