Improving Social Media Presence for Photographers

The more time I spend looking at trends on social media and how they translate into my community, the more I notice the differences between how most models and model photographers use social media in general. Many models seem to gravitate naturally toward the social aspects of social media. Model photographers, on the other hand, seem to struggle a bit more with putting themselves out there on social media. I’m writing this article to help model photographers who are struggling to get started on improving their social media presence.

Improving Social Media for Model Photographers

Get Out of the Negative Mindset

First things first. You have to stop letting comparisons to others (models specifically) stop you from moving forward with your social media plan. If you stay hung up on that, you’re not going to be able to move forward.

If this isn’t a problem for you, that’s great! I’m only bringing it up here because it’s a common problem I’ve seen and I feel it needs to be addressed.

Social media growth is all about growing your fanbase, your followers, and hopefully your customers (and possibly collaborators). This means what you need to focus on how your numbers increase with the things you do. I only want you to look to others for inspirations and ideas, not for negative comparisons.

So from this point on stay focused on developing your plan and you will start seeing results.

How to Be Social

Here’s the part you need to remember: in order to be successful on social media you need to be willing to share more than just your photos. The reason many models seem to flow well with social media is because they’re willing to share things like:

  • insights into their creativity & inspiration
  • behind the scenes stories
  • their personal stories
  • more about their process

This is called adding value to posts and it’s an important part of social media. I’m going to share more about how you can do that in just a moment.

Before we do though, let’s take a moment to talk about platforms.

What Platforms to Use

As a photographer there are two platforms you’ll probably find most useful: Instagram and Facebook. Facebook has become more and more difficult to use, but Instagram is a thriving, growing place that is perfect for photographers. I suggest using both a Facebook fan page and an Instagram account.

There will be differences in how you use them, but you can still use much of the same content. Having a Facebook page will also allow you to create ads on both Facebook and Instagram which you may find useful later. It also allows you to view your stats on Instagram if you choose to switch to a business account there.

Now that we’ve established where you should be (at minimum), we can move on to the added value I mentioned earlier.

Creating “Added Value” Posts

Let’s talk about some simple ways you can add value to your posts within the text of the post. These tips should also help you plan what to post as well.

  • Share details about how you got the shot, especially if it’s something different or interesting. Just remember to keep them easy to understand. Assume your followers are non-technical. You can always elaborate later if asked.
  • If there was a funny or interesting story behind the shot, share it.  It could be about how you met the model, something that happened during the shoot, etc.
  • You can also share a couple sentences about your concept and what inspired it.

What you’re doing is adding something extra to your post. Keep your followers reading and interested in the story that your art creates. Don’t get hung up on the idea that your art should speak for itself. Maybe it does, but it doesn’t hurt to offer something extra. That’s what keeps people coming back because people are curious to know what’s below the surface of what they see.

Take a few minutes now to look at some past posts (or planned posts) and brainstorm some added value text to add to them. You might even find that you can repost those things with your new text and get more interaction.

Now that we’ve started you off with a good foundation to start moving forward, let’s talk about how you can keep learning.

Continuing Education

I’m going to let you in on something else you need to do: keep learning about how to use social media! There are tons of free and affordable courses out there that you can learn from.

Here are a few free resources you can start with:

7 Days to More Impact on Social Media from Udemy

Growing Followers with Interaction from Dekilah

10 Instagram Tips for Photographers from PetaPixel

Increase Instagram Following With These 10 Tips For Photographers from SLR Lounge

Three Easy Ways To Drive New Followers To Your Instagram For Free by Fstoppers

Your Official Instagram Hashtag Guide for Photographers by Fstoppers

If you found this blog post helpful, please considering donating a little bit to my blog via the donation buttons near the bottom of the page. You’re also more than welcome to share this post and I encourage it if you found it helpful. ^_^

And if you find you’re still struggling and would like some one on one help in coming up with how to add value to your own posts, get in touch with me to discuss an affordable mini consultation session. I’d be happy to help guide you through a few examples using your photos.

My Thoughts on “Real” Models

One “trending” topic I see over and over in online discussions about modeling is the idea that only some of us are “real.” People say things like:

“Real models are published.”

“Real models don’t pose nude.”

“Real models always get paid.”

“Real models don’t do this.”

“Real models always do this.”

“Real models don’t shoot this genre.”

And I see this for photographers too. People want to assign being “real” to those who shoot certain styles, who use certain equipment, who have certain training or goals, etc.

I think it’s all foolishness. Why in the world do people think it’s upon them to decide who is “real” and who isn’t? Modeling and photography are both creative. They are subjective (meaning each person sees each creation differently). There are certain techniques and technical aspects that may be generally accepted as “good” such as types of lighting and having images in focus, but in the end we all have personal tastes. And even if we can all agree that a photo is “good” that doesn’t make that model or that photographer more “real” than those who created an image that fewer people like.

Similarly, I can completely agree that some models are more skilled at posing than others. Some have a more versatile or sought after look. Some may behave more professionally or take things more seriously. But they are all real. Good or bad, skilled or not does not equal real or not real.

What I think it really boils down to is that some people feel threatened by others, some people need to be able to say they are better than others to supposedly increase their perceived value, and some people are just focused on the money (or rather, how they feel someone else is “taking” money from them). And by the way, I really dislike the idea that people think that other people take money from them. If you want to earn money, you have to offer something that people in your market want to pay for. You can be absolutely fantastic and if your market isn’t able to pay or isn’t interested in paying for whatever you offer, you have to understand that and either change what you offer or move yourself to another market. And if someone else is getting the work you want, then you find a way to compete by making yourself a better option, not by tearing the other person down. Moving on…

I’m not saying I don’t understand how some people feel discouraged or slighted. I’d be lying if I said I never felt jealous of another model or if I said hadn’t come across a model who made me question how they were so popular, but I can’t remember thinking “They’re not a real model.”

Being a model is something you do. You can do it well or you can do it poorly. Sometimes skill and experience are factors in a model’s success and sometimes it’s more about look or even just who you know. You’re still a model. You’re still modeling. You’re real. Focus less on being real, because you already are real, and focus more on improving, on enjoying what you do, and on your creativity.

I think models and photographers need to stop feeling so threatened by each other and stop trying to tear each other down to make themselves look good (and that actually doesn’t work so well). We also need to stop supporting people who do this, stop agreeing with them, stop pandering to them. I’m not saying you have to like or work with everyone or anyone. I’m just saying we should respect each other and be okay agreeing to disagree or just look the other way if we see a style that we don’t care for. Let’s not feed those who troll for comments on these things. If we must respond, let’s show them kindly that we don’t agree with their generalizations and negativity.

Just a bit of a final note: I’m not saying everyone who wants to be a successful model can be. Obviously that takes hard work, networking and, for models, it does mean you’ll need a look that works for your market and the genres you want to shoot. What I am saying is that anyone can model if they can find photographers (or artists) who are willing to work with them.

I do realize that my opinion is just that, my own opinion on this topic. I also realize that I may not have a popular opinion on this. Maybe once upon a time I had a different opinion (I honestly don’t remember that ever being the case, but I don’t remember everything), but this is how I feel now and I feel strongly about this. I know not all areas are like this or it’s not as big an issue in some areas, but in my area it runs rampant and it’s going to take a lot of us to put a stop to it.

My Thoughts on "Real" Models - Dekilah