Instagram for Photographers: Grow Your Photography Brand

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Instagram is one of the leading visual-first platforms for photographers to showcase their work, reach potential clients, and improve their professional visibility. According to Statista, it has over 2 billion active monthly users and an average reach of 2000 per image which underscores Instagram's enormous global user base.

For photographers, this means access to a vast and diverse audience also implying varied demographics, allowing photographers to target specific groups more effectively. Instagram is a powerful marketing tool for photographer with paid advertising and organic reach opportunities. Here are specialised tips and underutilised Instagram strategies for photographers to make a more significant impact.

How to Grow Your Photography Brand on Instagram

Using Instagram as an online space to develop and define your brand is a no-brainer. Here are a couple of tried and tested strategies to make sure your photography gets seen on Instagram, by the right people.

Get to Know Your Audience

The platform offers nuanced tools and strategies that can be tailored to target exactly the right audience. Essentially, you want to reach people who are interested in your work, rather than trying to appeal to everyone.

Thankfully Instagram's analytics allow you to explore detailed insights beyond basic demographics. You can look into your followers' behaviours, preferences, and interaction patterns. Using this data, you can segment your audience based on their activity times, the content they prefer (e.g., videos vs. static images), and their engagement habits. You can shift your content to these segments and improve relevance and engagement rates.

These analytics tools also help you analyse where your audience is geographically. Posting during your audience’s peak hours can boost interaction. Utilise Instagram's analytics to determine when your followers are most active and schedule posts accordingly, especially if you cater to an international audience.

Once you have a deeper understanding of your audience, you can start building an online community around your photography brand. Use Stories to ask questions, create polls, or share behind-the-scenes content, making your followers feel like they're a part of your creative process.

Contrary to what you might think, Later.com reports that ​​Instagram hashtags remain a highly effective method for increasing visibility and engagement on your posts!

While it’s tempting to use trending hashtags to gain visibility, your content can easily get lost in the sea of posts. Instead, opt for less popular, more niche hashtags relevant to your work. If the hashtags you choose are too obscure, they will be difficult to discover and unlikely to be used by other social media users. Posts with hashtags that have between 10k to 50k posts already have a higher likelihood of reaching the top post section due to less competition, thus increasing visibility to your targeted audience.

A simple and free method for discovering Instagram hashtags is to utilise the related hashtags feature within Instagram itself. These are often more specific than the popular hashtags you might already be using, potentially helping you reach a more targeted audience.

Simply enter your hashtag in Instagram's search bar and observe the suggested search terms that appear. These suggestions are related to your initial search and offer excellent options for new, related hashtags!

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Here's how you can discover new hashtags and see the number of posts associated with each one.

Diversify Your Posts

While many photographers focus on static images, Instagram's algorithm favours diverse content types, most importantly Reels and Stories. Even simple behind-the-scenes clips or editing sessions can potentially drive higher engagement. Try repackaging your existing photoshoots as part of your marketing strategy. Turn clips, client testimonials, to behind-the-scenes footage into engaging and snappy video content tailored for Reels.

If you're big on storytelling, carousel posts also allow you to showcase up to 10 images or videos in a single post. This can be particularly compelling for photographers to display different photos from a shoot. Carousels tend to hold viewers’ attention longer, increasing the time spent on your post, which Instagram's algorithm loves.

However, always keep in mind to maintain a consistent theme or style across all posts to ensure your feed remains cohesive. For instance, if you prefer a minimalist aesthetic or certain colour schemes, keep this style across various content types. Being consistent is important not only for your brand but also for how often you post. Finding a regular posting schedule that works for you keeps your audience engaged and again, helps the algorithm.

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Remember to monitor your Instagram Insights to see what works and what doesn’t for you. Beyond surface-level metrics like likes also look into save and share rates, and comment types to understand your audience better.

Explore Collaborative Opportunities

Instagram began as a simple platform for sharing snapshots of daily life and creating social connections. Over time, it has transformed into a versatile arena that attracts a diverse range of content and users. Today, Instagram serves dual roles: while it's an e-commerce hub for many, it also still retains its roots as a social media platform for others. As a result, the platform has shifted its emphasis from simply showcasing beautiful photos to prioritising user engagement.

Collaboration has become a cornerstone of Instagram marketing for photographers. To capitalise on this aspect of Instagram, consider collaborating with other creatives or brands that share your aesthetic or values. Whether through co-branded content, influencer partnerships, or user-generated content campaigns, you can amplify reach and introduce your photography business to new audiences. These partnerships are especially valuable in a platform where authenticity and community endorsement are significant in user trust and engagement.

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Collaborative posts let you tap into your collaborator's audience, showing your work to potential followers who might not have discovered you otherwise. You can easily add a collaborator by using the 'Tag People' function while you are creating your post.

Where to find collaboration opportunities?

As in any industry, you'll discover that the more connections you have, the better. However, your collaboration projects don't need to be limited to your current network. Instagram is particularly valuable for photographers looking to connect with peers and like-minded individuals globally.

Being active on Instagram, both by sharing your content and interacting with others, significantly increases your chances of making new contacts and finding collaboration opportunities. Engage with the work of photographers in your areas of interest by commenting on their posts. Over time, these simple interactions can lead to private conversations and might even result in collaborative projects, such as planning a content shoot day together.

Follow and engage with profiles dedicated to photography. These communities often tag creators and post collaboration opportunities. If you admire someone’s work, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to propose a collaboration! Alternatively, you can join live sessions of other photographers and participate in live discussions. These sessions are great for networking and expressing interest in collaborations.

Jeffrey Wang, the Creative Director of Perfect Moment Photography and Video says;

"Leverage social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to showcase your work. Additionally, collaborating with wedding planners and venues for styled shoots can help build your network and attract new clients.

The photography industry is constantly evolving. Attending workshops, online courses, and photography expos can keep your skills sharp and your techniques current. This improves your craft and business acumen."

Instagram Advertising for Photographers

Instagram also offers advertising avenues for photographers to amplify their reach and get more clients. With detailed targeting options, you can showcase your work directly to potential clients who share interests in specific photography styles, such as wedding photography, portrait photography, or landscape photography.

For photographers keen on mastering Instagram ads, we've put together a comprehensive article on how to advertise on Meta Platforms, including Instagram. It's an essential read for photographers eager to explore the potential of Instagram advertising to grow their business and reach a broader audience.

In conclusion...

Instagram, much like photography, is about connecting with your viewers and telling a compelling story through visuals. To grow your photography Instagram profile, focus on helping your target audience find you. We hope that by implementing these strategic, often underutilised strategies, you can greatly enhance your visibility and engagement.

Remember, the key to success on Instagram lies essentially in staying true to your creative vision while using the platform's features and analytics to your benefit. Keep refining your approach based on insights from your audience interactions and emerging trends. With these tips at your disposal, you'll continue to capture beautiful moments, and the content you create from them will captivate your target audience!