Why Instagram is great for photographers

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. – Wikipedia

How do you find work?

To get hired you need to find your audience. This is where your potential clients are that you want to show your work.

Many years ago the way photojournalists and photographers got work was by flying to places like New York and making appointments at as many publications or agencies that they could pack together in a few days to a week.

It was common for a person to spend $3,000 to $6,000 on transportation, hotel and miscellaneous expenses to just show their work. Most photographers would have a few books. Each of these books cost were a few hundred dollars or more to produce. You often would drop off your book and hope they would give you a call. So having a few books was important to get your work out there.

Today clients are more likely to just ask you to send them a link to your website. Face to face meetings are more reserved for the actually projects than just seeing people’s work.

How do you get their attention today?

Now if you are a writer then Twitter might be the best way to get your work noticed.

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. Registered users can read and post tweets, but those who are unregistered can only read them. – Wikipedia

It is important to note the difference between Twitter and Instagram. Twitter was established to share TEXT and Instagram was setup for PHOTOS/VIDEOS.

While you can post photos on Twitter the audience is expecting mainly text. Instagram requires an image or photo because that is what the audience is expecting.

People like Instagram because it is visual and this is the audience that will appreciate your images.

Your Target Audience uses Instagram

The odds are pretty high that your audience [Potential Customers] uses Instagram. Take a few minutes and go to Instagram.com and type in the search box the names of the companies you want to work with in the future.

Here I searched for Delta Air Lines and before I could finish typing it popped up first.

When you then go to their account they tell you to share your travel pics and use the hashtag #Delta.

Hashtags are a pound sign immediately followed by a keyword. They’re used for categorization on social media.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA]
Instagram is another hotspot for hashtags, and the good news for those who love to extensively tag photos is that there doesn’t seem to be a saturation point.

Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.

Now here is another tip. If you use @Delta then whoever manages the Instagram feed for Delta gets an alert/email that you have tagged them.

This is because @NAME is the account. Only the account holder will get an email, whereas the hashtag is something anyone who follows that hashtag will see.

Believe me there is someone at Delta paying attention to those posts. If they like it they may share your post and if they really like your style they may end up hiring you to shoot material for their Instagram feed and other projects.

Relevance!!!!!!

While I just showed you the backdoor to getting your work in front of potential clients it is important that you use this technique in such a way as to be relevant to your potential client.

If you tag your photo with @NAMEOFBUSINESS be sure the image is something that they would post on their account.

Here is a post where I and tagging Coca-Cola.

Here is a post that I tagged Nescafe.

I also used hashtags for the country and region of the world.

Now just remember that because you are using the correct account name and hashtags to get in front of your potential customers that doesn’t mean success. Your images must be compelling and they must think your style of work is worth pursuing.

Now here are some of the Instagram accounts I follow because I think they are relevant and reaching an audience:

I follow many others, but this is a good sample. Most of the successful photographers using Instagram in my opinion marry the text and images so there is a short story.
I have noticed that those who are most successful tend to stay on theme for their Instagram posts. 
Be careful how you evaluate Instagram accounts!!!! Do not base your opinions on what you think about their work alone. I highly recommend taking the time to analyze an account and figure out why they have 40K+ followers. Humans of NY has 5.5 million followers. Now if you are a trained photojournalist you may find fault with the work of some of these Instagram celebrities. Don’t discount them. Learn from them and then put your personal touch on your posts using some of their techniques.