The Instagram Guide for Professional Photographers
When someone sets out to look for a professional photographer for their wedding or engagement shoot, they may reach out to friends or family asking for recommendations. Sometimes, they may send them websites or business cards to help them with their search and, they may even share a photographer’s Instagram profile to provide them with a sneak peek of their work.
If you’re a professional photographer, Instagram is one of the best social platforms to show off your talents and have your work be appreciated and recognized. With over 1.074 billion worldwide users, Instagram is full of opportunities for professional photographers to expand their reach, build an audience, and create a brand out of their profession.
You may be wondering: how do I use Instagram to the best of its ability?
All you need is a social media strategy. A strategy can help photographers gain the exposure needed to be shared, saved, and engaged with on the platform. Whether you’re looking to network with other professional photographers or reach new prospective clients, we’re here to guide you towards success.
Let’s take a closer look at some Instagram tips for professional photographers.
Optimize your profile
Your profile is the first opportunity you have to make a good impression on potential followers. From your profile photo to your bio, you want to ensure that your profile speaks to who you are as a professional photographer and complements your style.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep your bio short, sweet, and easy to read
- Add your phone number or business email
- Create highlights and add create consistent images covers
- Choose a clear, high-quality profile photo you love
- Add a link to your photography website or other socials
- Consider creating a Linktree if you have more than one link
Next, you’ll want to switch your account to a business account. This will unlock new insights and analytics that can help you develop a content strategy that your audience likes and hopefully attract new followers.
Engage with your audience
If you want your followers to engage with you, you have to engage with them! Make sure you are responding to comments and messages daily. You'll want to make sure you're always polite, true to yourself, and show you appreciate their support.
We recommend taking it one step further and engaging with like-minded individuals or other photography professionals you love to help build your network and increase your following. This will allow you to build a community that enjoys and values your content and build your brand.
Post your best, high-quality content
Think of your feed as a reflection of your work and your brand. To build a brand you're proud of, you want to make sure you are only highlighting your best, high-quality content.
Your Instagram feed provides unique insight into who you are as a photographer, the moments you can capture, and the overall beauty of your photography. To ensure you are providing value to your followers' feed, you want to make sure you are choosing quality over quantity.
To get the most out of your high-quality content, make sure you're including a location and tagging popular Instagram accounts that share photography. If you get lucky with a few reshares or two, you’ll gain authentic exposure, expand your reach, and gain new followers.
The power of hashtags
Your work deserves to be seen and shared with the world. The right hashtags have the power to help you reach a new audience and increase the overall engagement on your content. They help you make your content discoverable for people who actively seek out those types of posts. According to HubSpot, the average Instagram post has roughly 10 hashtags included. For starters, you should choose between 5-10 hashtags that are trending for photography professionals. For certain shares, you may choose to add some unique hashtags into the mix as well. You can do hashtag research to find popular hashtags for weddings, locations, engagement shoots, landscapes, or anything else you may photograph. For a list of trending hashtags for photographers, you can start here.
Consistency is key
There is nothing more satisfying than a consistent, on-brand, photography Instagram. Consistency is one of our most important Instagram tips for professional photographers that can help you build a dedicated fanbase. Be mindful of the way your images sit on your grid and what they look like cohesively.
When it comes to your photography content, you have a lot of creative freedom with choosing the images. If you have a certain look, want to stick to black and white images only, or have a particular theme, you may want to put some more thought into how these images look next to each other on the grid. You can download apps like UNUM or Feed Preview to plan and strategize your content before posting it to Instagram.
For the size of your images, you should choose one and stick with it. Whether you decide to go with squares, landscape, or white borders. There is no wrong answer!
Pro Tip: You don’t have to post every day to grow a following. You can create a posting cadence that works for you and allows you to consistently post high-quality content.
Utilize Reels to expand the reach
It’s no secret that video content is becoming increasingly more popular and there's no telling how it will change how we post on social media in 2022. Reels provide a great opportunity for professional photographers to bring their work to life and add an authentic feel to the work that they do.
Whether you’re recording video content during a photo session, walking your followers through your editing process, or showcasing some behind-the-scenes content, these types of reels can help increase engagement and expand your reach.
We recommend taking it one step further by jumping on trends, utilizing hashtags, and sharing your reels to your stories for optimal results.
Capitalize on Instagram features
Once you have a solid posting schedule and quality content ready to go, it’s time to expand into some of the Instagram features to bring your social presence to the next level. Instagram has a ton of features outside of posting on your feed.
Some of the Instagram features included:
- Stories: Show off photo previews, your days off, or your editing work
- Highlights: Categorize and save your favorite stories on your profile for new followers
- Reels: Jump on trends, show behind-the-scenes, or provide photography tips
- IGTV: Get behind the camera and have a Q&A or a mini photography workshop
When you utilize these features, you can position yourself as a professional, expand your reach, and gain credibility. Each feature provides a unique opportunity to create organic content that will grow your connection with your following.
If you’re keener on enhancing your posting on your feed, then you should consider posting more carousels. Carousels allow professional photographers to show off their work without over-posting their content. This feature allows you to post two to ten photos in one post, so you can highlight your favorite images from a photoshoot or get creative with the image layout. Not only do they provide more creative freedom but, they also have a higher engagement rate than any other type of content on Instagram, with an average engagement rate of 1.92%.
Once you’re set up as a business account, you’ll have the opportunity to view insights that represent how your followers view and engage with your content. One of the best ways to see if your content is resonating is by looking at the shares and saves. Even if you aren’t getting as many likes as you’d like, you may still be increasing your reach and resonating with your following.
Every month, take a look at your top posts and consider what you were doing well and how you can improve your strategy moving forward.
Wrapping up: Instagram tips for professional photographers
In some cases, Instagram has become more than a social media platform. It provides professional photographers with the tools needed to build a brand out of their passions and showcase their skill set.
Never forget: every great professional photographer started with zero followers at some point in their life. If you want to build a following and build your business on Instagram, you’ll need to work hard for it, be consistent, and have patience.
As you create a social strategy that works for you, always remember to stay true to yourself, have fun, and continue to create content that is a reflection of your style and aesthetic.