Instagram for Photographers: Knowledgeable Recommendation on Greatest Practices

Instagram has practically 500 million lively customers per day and pulls in engagement charges 23% increased than Fb and 84 occasions increased than Twitter. With statistics like these, it’s the final word social media instrument for photographers to share their work with purchasers worldwide.

Nonetheless, staying on high of Instagram’s frequent function updates and making the most of its potential to develop your online business may be difficult.

You’ve most likely heard plenty of contradictory recommendation about Instagram finest practices, significantly relating to participating together with your viewers. There are a number of totally different approaches you possibly can take to develop your following, however it’s worthwhile to do what’s finest for you and what’s constant together with your model. This information will allow you to develop your presence on the platform with some confirmed and efficient suggestions.


Most Instagram utilization guides emphasize technique and engagement – and naturally, that’s tremendous essential! It’s additionally what most individuals wrestle with. Nonetheless, generally even the smallest and easiest issues you are able to do, like including an expert headshot and writing a singular, impactful bio, could make a giant distinction in your profile’s total appear and feel. Earlier than we even take into consideration viewers engagement, first, let’s contemplate the way you’re presenting your model on the platform.

Greatest Observe: Introduce your self in your individual voice.

Instagram is extra than simply your fairly footage, and your work is extra than simply the pictures you’re sharing with the world. Behind each image is a narrative, and also you’re the narrator (or protagonist?). Consider your bio as your likelihood to focus on key factors about your self and your work in 150 characters or much less.

Meals photographer Daniela Gerson‘s Instagram bio

The character restrict is usually why photographers neglect their bio, however it might elevate your presentation and make you appear extra skilled when completed proper. Your profile ought to have the next objects:

  • Skilled headshot
  • Your full title
  • Photographer tag
  • Location + specialty
  • Web site hyperlink
  • Different stuff you need folks to learn about you!

Greatest Observe: Create a cohesive profile.

Your model is an extension of your images enterprise, so the one explicit query you must repeatedly ask your self when sharing a put up is whether or not or not you’re “on model.”

What does that imply? Nicely, everybody has a distinct strategy to their work. Some photographers have a extra clear, curated look, whereas others are extra spontaneous. Some have vivid and colourful personalities, whereas others have moody or muted types. Some have the famed “Instagram-worthy” meals photographs, whereas others are long-form storytellers. For instance, let’s contemplate two photographers each specializing in journey images. Stephen Matera maintains a vivid, nearly fantastical grid, whereas Chris Henry curates a extra matte and moody profile.

All of it relies on what your model is and the way you wish to current it. (And don’t overlook to have enjoyable with it!)

Greatest Observe: Be genuine. Be true. Be you.

As of late, advertising your self as a technically expert photographer is not sufficient to wow purchasers. Purchasers are extra inquisitive about who you might be, the story behind you and your model, and the way it all ties in collectively. Are you passionate and vocal about social and/or environmental points? Do you determine as LGBTQIA+ or BIPOC? Do you’ve got any aspect tasks you’re engaged on, or is there a corporation that you simply love and help?

As an alternative of constructing your Instagram an actual copy of your web site or portfolio, consider it extra as a approach to showcase your character. If there’s something particular or essential to you — don’t be afraid to put up about it! As an expert photographer, Instagram is your social media platform.

Relatively than juggling to handle one private and one skilled account, we expect that aiming to attain a harmonious stability between sharing your distinctive work and what’s happening behind the scenes will add an additional layer of depth to your profile. In any case, one a part of your model is the superior imagery you create, and the opposite half is you as an individual and what it’s wish to work with you.

Most significantly, you wish to be posting related photos and telling tales by way of what you share—whether or not these tales are about latest tasks you’ve been engaged on, adventures you’ve had, new updates to your online business, or behind-the-scenes photographs.

Greatest Observe: Having a enterprise profile simply makes enterprise sense.

This may go with out saying for a few of you, however we strongly suggest you make certain your Instagram is a business account. A enterprise profile to your model offers you credibility, plus there are many extra instruments you possibly can make the most of.

As an alternative of taking over valuable bio characters with contact information, there are separate buttons to name, electronic mail, and even get instructions to your location — making it simpler for purchasers to attach with you. Even with no enterprise profile, although, you possibly can and will instantly hyperlink to your web site in your bio, which supplies potential purchasers the flexibility to see your skilled portfolio and solidify their curiosity in working with you.

With a enterprise account, you’ll obtain helpful analytics in your profile by way of Instagram Insights, together with when your followers are most lively (by the hour or the day), the place they dwell (by metropolis or nation), and the demographics of your viewers appear to be. You’ll additionally obtain info particularly in your posts, corresponding to impressions, attain, engagement, and saves inside a selected timeframe, in addition to how many individuals clicked the hyperlink in your bio or tried to achieve out through the contact buttons.

As you get critical about rising your following, we propose investing in extra software program for extra strong, detailed analyses (Hootsuite is a superb possibility). Nonetheless, Instagram’s in-app analytics tab is actually an excellent place to begin.

Scheduling and Posting Frequency

Maintain your self accountable to an everyday sharing schedule after figuring out the sorts of content material you’ll be posting.

Greatest Observe: Publish regularly.

For most photographers, under-sharing is a matter extra so than over-sharing. Whereas there’s loads of assets on the market that supply totally different conclusions on how usually to put up, we propose making your purpose to put up as soon as a day. It’s okay when you miss a day or two every week as a result of, ideally, about 5x/week is the candy spot.

Be persistent with it! We inform photographers when you’re solely going to put up in your weblog twice a yr, there’s no level in even having a weblog. The identical goes for Instagram—don’t let your account go stagnant. In case your social media has the flexibility to get your work in entrance of hundreds of individuals each day, you ought to be participating extra continuously.

When you wrestle with discovering the time to replace your social media platforms in between assignments and tasks as an expert photographer, we propose making the most of one of many many scheduling instruments on the market. There are many third-party platforms on the market, corresponding to Later or Buffer, that mean you can schedule posts prematurely and put up them at a scheduled time. (Right here at WM, Later is what we use to remain organized.)

Fantastic Machine’s view of their social posting schedule in Later.

Tying in with the final level, these instruments even have the additional advantage of letting you see into your viewers analytics, with insights into classes corresponding to impression and attain. Make it simple for your self and do your scheduling and your evaluation multi function!

When you wrestle with getting ready a photograph to schedule and put up each day, don’t overlook that you would be able to additionally harness the potential of Instagram tales.

Greatest Observe: Make the most of Instagram tales.

Tales are the proper place to share in-depth protection of your course of or extra of the narrative of your day-to-day as a photographer. Since they’ll have disappeared in 24 hours, you don’t must take them as severely or fear in the event that they’re getting much less engagement than your different posts (nobody will even know)! Tales push up your probabilities of showing within the Discover part along with protecting you high of thoughts to your followers and purchasers perusing Instagram.

Instagram Tales additionally permit you additional enjoyable methods to be artistic by way of totally different fonts, colours, tags, mentions, and places. With Kind Mode, you possibly can share your ideas and phrases in varied colours and font types that tie in together with your visible model id. With stickers and doodles, you possibly can add on varied interactive decorations that can change relying in your location, climate, or if there’s a particular occasion occurring.

Even when you’re having a gradual work day or week, otherwise you’re shedding steam in your IG posts, profitable accounts share what they discover fascinating and/or related to their tales. On the very least, it retains you on the minds of your followers; on the most, it raises engagement in your web page and attracts in additional viewers.

Shutterstock has an excellent article about how to create amazing Instagram stories.

Captions and Hashtags

Captions and hashtags are a wonderful approach to attract engagement to your pictures and drive up the likes and follows. Whereas, in fact, visible content material is king, captions supply an extra house the place you possibly can infuse a little bit of your character.

Greatest Observe: Craft your captions effectively.

Keep in mind that your viewers will spend extra time on a picture if there is a fascinating caption to learn. Per Instagram’s suggestions, 125 characters are what to intention for if you would like the vast majority of your caption to show (for captions longer than three strains, folks should faucet “extra” to learn the entire thing). Whereas size is a consideration, if there’s an fascinating story to inform in regards to the photograph, take the time to jot down it out. You’re extra more likely to spark a real interplay this fashion, however maintain that first sentence participating and lure the reader into clicking that “extra” button.

Preserve your captions descriptive (although not overly) and keep true to your private voice, letting the language trace at your character. It’s an effective way to indicate purchasers what it’s wish to work with you.

Hashtags are a distinct story, used primarily to select related matters, uncover new accounts, and choose up followers.

Greatest Observe: Be strategic with hashtags.

Right here’s one thing to contemplate: Hashtags can have each a constructive and a unfavourable impact in your attain and engagement. Tens of millions of pictures are categorized with the “fashionable” tags, and new photos seem each second. So, when you use the preferred hashtags (corresponding to #journey) and aren’t pulling in hundreds of likes per photograph or being featured on the “Prime Pictures” portion, customers scrolling by way of are most probably by no means come throughout your buried photograph. Plus, it’s possible you’ll find yourself receiving extra spam feedback and likes from bots relatively than actual people.

The proper hashtags you wish to use are the extra particular ones that actual customers (and potential purchasers) browse — they’re typically not essentially the most used ones. Be artistic with it – @ and hashtag manufacturers, hashtag your particular style of images, the town, and state the place you’re based mostly, and many others. For instance, #fujifeed is a high quality tag for Fujifilm digicam customers run by Fujifeed.

We suggest protecting it easy with not more than 15 hashtags (you don’t wish to look spammy or like your greedy at straws) and utilizing a website corresponding to Display Purposes to search out related hashtags once you get caught.

When you use social media software program like SproutSocial or Onlypult, analytics will inform you what your most engaged hashtags are, making it simpler so that you can replicate the success discovered with sure photos.

You too can disguise your hashtags, so that they aren’t seen when your picture exhibits up within the feed by copying and pasting the ….. (5 dots) on every line of textual content after which following them by your chosen hashtags. You too can have a set of hashtags able to go, and as quickly as you put up the picture, throw them within the first remark.

Hashtags have been created to arrange the huge quantity of content material on social media feeds however have grown to be way more. They provide a brand new approach so that you can start conversations, work together with a artistic neighborhood, and promote your companies to many new customers. Hashtags are an essential a part of discovery and mean you can acquire publicity to area of interest teams and particular areas of curiosity as an expert photographer.


Greatest Observe: Geotag to search out and be discovered.

Geolocation means that you can tag a spot in your photograph. The identical causes you must make the most of hashtags and have interaction together with your viewers apply to why you must geotag all of your pictures. It makes it simpler to your viewers, plus folks trying to find footage of a selected place, to see your pictures. Oftentimes once we are doing inventory analysis for an advert marketing campaign that desires to make the most of Instagram pictures, we’ll verify the placement of a selected spot to search out related content material.

By turning on location monitoring in your cellphone’s digicam roll, Instagram will have the ability to monitor the geotag of a selected spot the place you have been if you wish to share a photograph you took there later. This is applicable to iPhone pictures, however many cameras have GPS capabilities, and you may simply map your coordinates and enter the metadata your self or simply search by way of the out there places.

Geolocation is an particularly essential instrument for documentary photographer Johnny Haglund, who usually travels between international locations.

Participating With Different Customers

Probably the greatest methods to develop your social media repute is to have interaction with others within the trade actively.

Greatest Observe: Get entangled together with your Instagram neighborhood.

Begin by looking hashtags your self to search out different photographers focused on the identical topics and methods as you and comply with accounts that encourage you.

Then, begin to work together with these different images accounts—we suggest liking, sharing, and commenting on different peoples’ posts in addition to responding to feedback by yourself feed. While you encourage a two-way dialog, you start to construct actual relationships on-line, and your viewers will develop with it. Attempt to spend not less than half-hour every day participating together with your neighborhood.

Moreover, who you comply with performs an enormous half in defining your model, just because who you comply with is who you have a tendency to have interaction with usually.

Whereas it is likely to be tempting to comply with your folks, household, and that cat IG account, these most likely aren’t related to your model. Save these sorts of follows for a private, non-public account, and focus your skilled account on skilled connections. Following different photographers means that you can see who’s working with what consumer and the kind of work they’re producing. You may also get an concept of the manufacturing crew dwelling in your space or discover a new images useful resource to take a look at. Participating with different photographers on Instagram is particularly essential as a result of they’re most probably to have interaction again with you.

Additionally, you will wish to comply with the Instagram accounts of dream purchasers, present purchasers, and related trade accounts. Participating with all these accounts will enhance your follower base with the fitting sorts of followers. An enormous follower base is all effectively and good, however having followers which are photographers or photograph trade professionals is way more useful as that viewers may have the next engagement price and connections within the trade. Determine which consumer accounts you wish to interact with after which commit—usually work together by way of likes and feedback and tag the account in photos you put up if the content material pertains to that account. Be constant—doing one thing a couple of times is unlikely to realize traction, however constantly interacting with an account over weeks or months may have the next success price.


Instagram has varied algorithms in place that set up an order of customers inside any given individual’s feed. Up to now, Instagram offered posts in chronological order. As increasingly folks joined the platform, nevertheless, they needed to personalize every account’s strategies by prioritizing the publicity of some accounts over others. Which means for an account to be seen by different customers, it’s important to interact with others continuously sufficient for the algorithm to work in your favor.

Keep in mind that Instagram’s algorithms are supposed to present customers the posts and accounts most related to their pursuits. It is necessary, then, to have interaction with accounts which are focused on images. From there, it’s easy: the accounts you work together with most can even be the accounts that offers you most publicity. Ensure that, nevertheless, to not concentrate on solely a handful of accounts to work together with — you’ll wish to regularly ramp up your efforts to make sure your posts are being seen by a variety of customers.

Different methods to make use of Instagram’s algorithms to work in your favor embrace posting at fashionable occasions (which may be discovered inside “Insights”) and following traits (corresponding to using new options like reels).

Finally, for Instagram’s algorithm to work in favor of your account, you’ve got to pay attention to your viewers and who you interact with.


Collaborating with fellow photographers and different trade professionals is a wonderful approach to construct your social media presence in addition to total model recognition.

Greatest Observe: Plan for cross-promotions and takeovers.

Make the most of cross-promotions, shoutouts, and takeovers everytime you get an opportunity. Don’t low cost an account that doesn’t essentially have the largest follower depend, as they probably entice a really totally different viewers than you might be. Generally manufacturers will do takeovers with photographers and influencers that they really feel signify their model, and that is the place tagging these accounts in related photos you put up turns into essential. They might repost your work or ask you to submit a number of photos for a themed takeover in the event that they really feel your content material resonates with their aesthetic.

Right here’s an instance of the favored journal and model Bon Appétit sharing one in every of photographer Chona Kasinger‘s latest photos. It’s an excellent instance of how one can function your content material on a associated model’s platform to garner extra publicity to your work.

When posting work from a latest mission, at all times tag related crew, purchasers, and types. It could encourage them to repost your picture, and it’ll present up in Instagram searches and the account’s tagged pictures. Contemplate Lauren Pusateri‘s Instagram tagged page — averaging not less than one put up per week wherein she’s been tagged, slowly however absolutely broadening her viewers. As soon as, Savage Common observed photos utilizing their seamless paper in non-traditional ways in which Lauren was sharing and reposted quite a few them—resulting in extra publicity for her.

Ultimate Ideas

We dwell in a cellular world the place you’ve got a a lot better likelihood {that a} photograph editor will stumble in your Instagram account relatively than in your portfolio (even when it’s well-referenced and cross-linked).

Greatest Observe: Use it or lose it.

While you join on Instagram, you’re becoming a member of a artistic neighborhood that can mean you can interact together with your viewers, share, be impressed, and proceed to encourage others as you develop your online business. So long as you put up high quality content material, are strategic about when and what to share, and work together with others on the platform, your images will proceed to achieve increasingly folks with every put up.

Make the most of the visibility that Instagram can give you, and be fascinating and within the on-line neighborhood round you.

Staying on high of Instagram traits requires steady progress and evolution, similar to your online business.

In regards to the writer: Jaymie Hommel and Shannon Stewart are a part of the group at Wonderful Machine, an artwork manufacturing company with a community of 600 photographers in 44 international locations. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the authors. This text was additionally printed here. When you have any questions, or when you need assistance together with your web optimization, you possibly can attain out to Fantastic Machine through email.

Picture credit: Header illustration photograph licensed from Depositphotos

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