5 things you MUST do on Instagram as a Photographer

posted on:

September 26, 2019

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Get ready friends, because I am dropping all of my favorite Instagram photographer tips right now in this post! It’s full of good tips but also action steps so be sure to take the time to read it all.

It’s no secret that Instagram is an incredible tool to help you grow your photography business. 

It’s an excellent way to get mega reach, make greater connections with your audience, and siphon leads from Instagram to your website where they can learn more about booking your services. So many businesses can attribute incredible growth to Instagram, but for many who want to reap the same benefits, it can be challenging to know how to harness it in such a powerful way. 

Photographers often wonder: 

Won’t a feed of really amazing photos eventually “catch its break” and see an influx of followers?

Do I need to spend more time trying to understand a complex algorithm and learn how to “hack” it? 

Do I need to spend hours on Instagram every day, commenting and building relationships?

Should I max out the hashtag limit? And what hashtags should I use? 

Is any of the above even important? 

So. many. Questions. 

There are a TON Instagram photographer tips on how to grow your business. In fact—there are so many that there are entire courses that teach that, so I can’t possibly cover all of the nitty-gritty. Besides that, I’m not an Instagram guru. What I am is a brand designer who uses Instagram successfully to grow my own business and get clients who also works with successful photographers every single day. 

I have seen first-hand how successful photographers are able to use Instagram to build a connection with their audience in a greater way, get more leads, and make more money even when they have small to medium followings and don’t have hours a day to spend on the app.

So, I’ve boiled down my top five Instagram photographer tips so you can have some really quick wins. Let’s distill down all of the information and noise and talk about some practical advice you can implement right away. 

Show your true personality to create a genuine connection so potential clients feel like you’re a friend

Today’s Instagram is all about engagement. And engagement goes beyond just hearting someone’s post or getting comments on your own. Just like you would in a social setting in real life, you have to step outside of yourself and get to know people. That means you must comment and strike up convos on other people’s posts. 

I personally know it can feel so overwhelming to make comments on other accounts. Sometimes it comes off as forced or salesy if you aren’t truly leaning into who you are. So my #1 tip is to be you – the real you – and make a connection. Yes, you have to engage on Instagram to work the algorithm but it doesn’t have to feel weird or manipulative. Don’t hold back and express some of the positivity you’re thinking. In the same way you find common ground or strike up a conversation in person, do so on Instagram. Give a compliment, ask a question, share some encouraging advice. This lets people get to know you and become more interested in what you do and how you can help them. How many times do we see an inspirational, thought-provoking, or cool comment and then go check out that person and end up following him or her? That’s how you drive engagement and connection.

Action Step: Comment on the images of 5-10 dream clients daily that you would love to work with BUT do so organically and by being you! If they’re a dream client that means you likely already share a few things in common and should be able to strike up a comment fairly easily.

How To Build A Stand Out Brand Using Instagram Photographer Tips

Be Strategic about sharing your images and captions

Instagram is a powerful tool for building community, sharing your message, documenting your legacy, and finding your ideal clients. Something that powerful—with so much potential to grow your business—needs a strategy to ensure you’re using it to its maximum potential. Otherwise, it’s kind of like you’re just casting a fishing net in an open lake and seeing what comes in, which isn’t the best way to fish when you want to enjoy yourself, throw your line out in the best spots, catch a specific tasty fish, and actually have dinner on the table LOL. 

Having to think about using a strategy on Instagram makes it feel like it’s taking all of the fun and spontaneous creativity out of it, but it’s really a way to carve out time to be more creative and intentional with the visual inspiration you’re curating. I know it can be SOOOO overwhelming to think about what images to post so your feed looks beautiful, what days you should post, and what words to put with your images to create engagement. But, I promise that having a plan and carving out time to be strategic will actually 1) take the stress out of posting because you’re not trying to make a decision of what to post on the fly and 2) allow you to use Instagram to its max potential for your business.

When you’re strategic, you have time to brainstorm, give attention to new ideas that pop up, curate a beautiful feed that stays on brand, and batch your posts so you truly don’t have to spend hours per day on Instagram, but can post, engage with others a little, and get back to living your real life. 

Action Step: Batch plan your content for 1-2 weeks at a time. This allows you to live in the moment but ensure you’re covering the topics you want to share as well as staying true to what your brand represents.

Plan your grid to highlight your brand

It’s important that you plan your grid both visually and content-wise.

While planning your content, make sure you’re sharing your brand voice, purpose, and values. When people consistently see you as a put-together brand, you’re elevating the perception of your brand. Consistency and cohesion are all it takes! Post visual images that are on-brand, but also speak to the target audience your brand is trying to connect with on a personal level. Demonstrate that you understand their pain points, struggles, and desires. When you do this, you’re building a stronger connection and building trust.

When it comes to planning your images, you have to strike the balance between perfectly curating your feed and sharing what’s real. Yes—gone are the days of perfectly curated feeds, because people want to see real, however, people want to see real – that looks good! And people want to see brands that are both authentic but presented in a good light. So be sure to share your work and yourself in a way that represents your brand well.  No, it doesn’t have to be super matchy or pristine if that isn’t who you are, but please be aware of how you are visually presenting your brand.

Action Step: Start using a planning service. I personally love and use Planoly (check out my affiliate link here), but there are a number of options. These allow you to visually see how you are laying out your feed, add fantastic captions that are in your true brand voice, and save your very own hashtag bank. It is so easy to use!

Use stories to build your brand connection

Stories are where it’s at right now! So we need to use them wisely if we want to elevate our brand. There is nothing worse than long ramblings monologues that don’t add value to your audience. Or just random posts to your stories without an explanation. If you are going to use stories for your business, be sure to think them through. The strategy doesn’t stop at your grid. When planning out your social media, be sure to plan out your stories too! When you are share on stories, have a beginning, middle, and end to your message. When people can connect with you through the whole story beyond just a random one-liner, they’re going to stick around and want to hear more from you.

As you plan out your message topics, make sure to share about your business, who you are, and your very own life and values so potential clients can get to know you and connect with you!

Action Steps: Plan out one small tip for 3 days a week that you can share with your audience. Make sure it includes a beginning (introduction), middle (the meat of the story), and end (the conclusion). These stories should be creative ways to share tips on your services. then add in the extra elements all about you and your life! To partner the power of “stories” with the power of storytelling (LOL), you can start with a personal or business story to hook your audience and then lead into the tip or share the tip and use a story to illustrate it further.

Be visually cohesive and consistent

While you may not want a perfectly branded and curated feed, it is very important to be consistent with the design of your graphics and announcements. When you share your brand and work with cohesive templates you create brand recognition. This means that your potential clients recognize your posts and stop while scrolling by or tapping to the next story. Brand cohesiveness and consistency includes having a professional brand, brand fonts, brand colors, and designs you repeat and carry through the visual images that you share. You want to be that scroll stopping brand right? Because scroll stopping means people like what they see and are more drawn to contacting you and working with you. Brand recognition goes beyond people being able to recognize your photographs or work because they see your photography style, so make sure you’re consistent and thoughtful about every aspect of your brand beyond the examples of your work so your entire business is cohesive and consistent.

Action Steps: Use templates and grab a bundle of the ones I’ve designed for yourself! Grab these beautifully designed Instagram templates that include: Now Booking, Quote Template, Sneak Peek – Photography Showcase (using photos from your sessions), Mini Session, On the Blog, and Sign up for Our Newsletter. Your Instagram feed should include additional content and calls to action beyond just examples of your work and templates help you stay on brand and true to your style when you’re sharing quotes, blog posts, calls for bookings, and more.

Check out these Canva Templates in the shop!

I hope you have enjoyed all of the Instagram Photographer tips I have shared with you and are ready to take social media by storm!

Hearts and Hoorays!

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