There is a happy community that feels as if it was meant for photographers! We are talking about the social media app Instagram. It is a place with beautiful pictures and simple content that makes liking images and following people super simple! We started using Instagram in February of 2012 after hearing more about the power of it from WPPI, little did we know how much it would end helping our business. Three years later our Instagram has been a place that we can show off our professional images and personal iPhone snaps all while building our photography business.
You may be already using Instagram and if not JOIN NOW—why not try it after all?! Below we will be showing you a few easy steps to follow in order to build a following and grow your business. The best part is it is more simple than you would expect.
-Keep it clean! It’s easy to get caught up using Instagram filters (we made this mistake in the beginning, oh so embarrassing lol), instead try editing any phone images manually in the style of your professional photography. We also differentiate our images by keeping iPhone images in the square format of Instagram and using the No Crop app to keep our professional images to its true digital aspect.
-Use your branding to attract ideal clients! For our branding we want cleanly edited images, outdoor photo sessions, and fun and romantic couples who are adventurous. We showcase this a few ways;
1.) We only show outdoor sessions because that’s what we want to photograph. Studio photography is not our thing, that’s why you’ll never see it in our feed.
2.) We include our date nights and adventures so couples are able to see that romance is a big part of how we photograph and our own personal lives.
3.) We want quirky and fun couples, so by showing funny images or quotes we are attracting our ideal clients.
-Don’t overload the feed with several images in a row! On Instagram it’s always better to space out the images you want to post. Personally when someone we follow post several images in a row it makes us want to unfollow that person—even if their work is beautiful! We limit our posts to three per day at the max. On average though we only post one or two images a day, just to keep top of mind.
-Take it easy on the selfies! All we think when we see selfie after selfie is, “we get it, you are really into yourself.” We encourage posting some images of yourself (both professionally captured and phone pictures), because it helps your brand. However, if you feed has more pictures of yourself ( especially taken in a car and with duck lips) then please save yourself the embarrassment and just stop. Or at least create a personal account that you can fill with selfies.
-Take a couple phone pictures during a wedding (or portraits session) it could book you another session! All of our couples know prior to their photo session that we love taking a few iPhone snaps and behind the scenes images of them. As soon as we have a free moment we quickly edit, tag them, and post the image. Some wedding couples even have a custom hashtag all guest can use for posting! Our images stand out being the only ones well lit and looking professional. We’ve booked several weddings and portrait session now from wedding guests finding out about us that way.
-Hashtags are your friend when used correctly! On our Instagram we type out the hashtags in the comments, not in the post itself, as you can see here. The hashtag is still searchable, but is not cluttering up our content that we are talking about. As far as what kind of hashtags to use it’s pretty simple; what kind of session is it, where are you located, and what’s happening in the image? For example we photographed a wedding in Cape Cod this summer. We used the hashtags #massachusetts #capecod #thecape #travelphotography #weddingphotography #weddingday #letitrain #bestdayever as well as their custom hashtag #TrippSmithWedding. Please note that numbers will work in hashtags, but special characters or spaces will not work. We do not recommend more than 10 hashtags, even though Instagram allows up to 30, because it looks like you are desperate for likes.
-Follow clients and others who inspire you! We follow our clients in order to see their style and what their lives are like. We love commenting on their images and keeping up with their lives. We also adore following others people and businesses that inspire and fit our lifestyle! You can find these people by searching hashtags or viewing suggestion from Instagram located under the search tab.
-Don’t just like posts, comment on them! We have gained many followers and clients by finding their images on Instagram via hashtags and commenting on their images. Likes can get lost in the activity feed–but by commenting people are more likely to stop, read, and check out your profile. If they like what they see they will follow you. It’s also good to have your followers interact with you page. For example we posted this image with the question, “color or black & white?”
-Make sure your bio and information is easy to follow! In ours we state our location, a few fun facts, and the direct link to our website. You can see it by clicking here. If a potential client views your profile and sees you are located in their area, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact you. So by having a link to your website it provides them access to contacting you.
-The number of followers does not matter! Yes, it needed to be said! We see so many people paying for followers, but all that matters in the end is the number of followers that are actually going to be engaged enough to utilize your business. You could have thousands of paid followers who will like your images, but it will never go further than that. Wouldn’t you rather 200 followers that will actually contact and book your photography services? It’s a no brainer! This isn’t a popularity contest after all.
-Last, but certainly not least, have fun with it! Most of our posts are well thought out and planned, but we also through in the occasional random pictures that is special to us or something that isn’t related to photography at all. Maybe it’s because we were at a cool location or maybe it was just our mood that day—sometimes you should just post because you want to.
About Wren Photography: Allow us to introduce ourselves! We are the husband and wife super duo of Wren Photography, but you can just call us Jen and Alex. We love to laugh, love to photograph, love working together (on most days), and love to travel.
We adore “Telling the Story of You” by capturing not only great portraits, but also all the little details that truly help us tell your story. We specialize in local and international weddings, engagements, family & senior portraits, and now we also offer videographer services. We are located in gorgeous Northern Michigan and are available for travel worldwide.
About Jen: Oldest of seven girls, crazy cat lady in the making, studied photography at NMU, obsessed with weddings, in love with anything sparkly, adores traveling, and met Alex by “stealing” his bike.
About Alex: Youngest of two boys, taught Jen how to use a camera while working together at the Old Time Photo on Mackinac Island, enjoys British television (especially Doctor Who), loves to cook, and has seen almost every movie out in the world–or so it seems.
p.s Thank you Alex and Jen for such great advice and every one lets thank them by following them on instagram!