Most photographers will scoff at those people who post images and hashtag “pro photographer”. It’s no surprise to you that people are exposed to thousands of images a day through TV, magazines, and advertisements but social media also plays a big role in the life of a photographer.
Fortunately or unfortunately, this is the world we live in now. There are plenty of ways for all photographers to fight and scramble to ensure they are posting their best photos all the time in order to show other Instagram “photographers” that they actually are not producing the most amazing images despite their hashtags. Fight all you want, but there are ways to leverage your social media instead of constantly fighting against it.
1. It’s Creative Central
The first way to leverage your social media is to meet people. In this social, or anti-social, world we are thrust into we can use these accounts to actually meet people. In fact, there are almost always real humans on the other side of that Twitter or Instagram handle. Give those people feedback if you like their work and other creatives like you will repay the favor.
Many new photographers use Instagram and Flickr to meet other photographers. With a little planning and desire, these people actually meet up in certain locations to introduce themselves and get to know each other and take some pictures together. Instagram, Flikr, and Twitter are creative central! Use this to your advantage for inspiration and a healthy sense of competition as well.
2. Engage & Gauge Your Audience
Posting to these social media sites may seem futile but this actually is a great feedback tool. Posting your work on these platforms gives you a chance to engage an audience and meet other creative people but those numbers tell you a lot about your photos. Now, this should not be the only determining factor to tell you whether a photo is great or not, but read the feedback and even follow up with those that like or comment on your work. Engage an audience with your work and show them what a great photo looks like and then gauge your own work to see what catches people’s attention and how to recreate that in more of your work.
3. Free Practice
Finding your niche in photography is difficult. There is a large learning curve when you are new to the business and it takes time to create your signature image and style. These social media accounts are free practice to test different methods, types, and niches of photography. Dedicate a week or two to black and white images and see what happens. Practice with your landscape photography on a different week and see what feedback you get. You will learn a lot about yourself and your own photography niche when you are trying new things and gaining practice in the field.
4. A Living Portfolio
As much as you may dislike these sites because they are flooded constantly with images of all qualities, this can work to your advantage as well. This is basically a living portfolio. After a while, it becomes a marketing tool and might even get you noticed. Scrolling through your own photos after a few weeks, months, or even years will show how much you have changed and grown. This is such a confidence boost regardless of the number of followers you have. This is a place for your work to be published with almost no risk to you and gives you time and space to see where you have come from since the beginning of your photography journey.
Don’t Swim Upstream
Social media may be annoying to those who want to go pro simply because the sheer mass of images and people that are sub par. That’s where you come in and that is exactly why you should enter this platform. Social media is a free resource for photographers of all levels to experience the thrill of published work and the growth that comes with that journey. Don’t fight social media. Social media is not going anywhere but you are. You are going to use these tools to your advantage and leverage each of them because you, my friend, are headed straight to the top.