In this episode Oh Shoot! podcast, Cassidy Lynne shares a breakdown of how to use Instagram as a photographer and the best way to stand out on the platform.
Today we’re talking about Instagram and how you can use Instagram as a photographer going into the end of 2023 and into 2024.
What you do on social media RIGHT NOW impacts your bookings a year from now.
This is super important because we’re getting into booking season and what you do now on Instagram is going to impact your bookings for next year. The way that social media works is the longer you dely your activity on social, it’s going to hurt you.
Not posting is ONLY HOLDING YOU BACK!!!
With social media and Instagram, the longer you wait to start and post, the more it’s going to hurt you. It can feel intimidating to see other photographers with more followers than you, but the only person holding you back is you. If you are just being yourself and showcasing your interests, hobbies, and photography, that is unique to you.
What is the goal of Instagram for you??
What is the goal specifically for you and your business on Instagram? Everyone has different goals on Instagram. Some people are building passive income. Some people want to get people to their website or to another platform. People use Instagram to sell products and sell services. Think about your goal and why Instagram is important to you as a photographer.
Here are goals you might have with Instagram:
- to get bookings and grow your business
- to build community
- to build credibility
- to connect with potential clients
- to build brand awareness
- to establish your business as a brand
My approach to Instagram:
Here is my approach to Instagram and the things I think about when I’m creating content and posting.
1. I always want to showcase what I want people to remember about my brand.
Here are some examples of what I want people to remember:
- Presets: to lead to preset sales.
- Travel: to lead to travel bookings.
- Weddings: to remind people I photograph weddings.
- Podcast: to remind people I have a podcast and to consume my long form content.
- Trends: to remind people I’m with it with current trends.
- Relatability: to attract clients and followers that connect with me.
2. Post SOMETHING every day.
I try to post something on Instagram every single day. Here’s what I try to post every week.
- Reels 3-5 times a week.
- Stories daily.
- Feed posts 1-2x per week.
3. Bring people to my other platforms /website
Bringing people to your website should be a goal for everyone. You should be creating community on Instagram and directing people to other places.
- Direct people to Tik Tok.
- To my email list.
- To my website.
4. Start a conversation.
I try to post things to my story that prompt or showcase conversations I’m having in my DMs.
- Creating Q & As in my stories.
- Posting DMs to my stories for everyone to see.
- Creating content that causes interaction, like asking a question on a reel.
- Being little unhinged. It keeps things interesting and gets people commenting.
5. Notice trends & change my content accordingly.
Some trends are simply sounds and audios, but then there are actual trends like the actual content we’re seeing on Instagram is changing or the set-up of the content. For example going from super curated feed posts to more photo dump style is a trend to take note of and start doing.
6. BE YOURSELF.
The second to last approach I have to Instagram is just being myself literally and unapologetically. Being myself is what makes my content and brand unique.
7. Posts what interests you.
Yes, you’re a photographer, but creating that connection means not just posting photography. There is so much more to you than being a photographer. There are so many things in my life that I wouldn’t be doing if I didn’t start posting about it. For example, posting my outfits or my matchas led to certain brand deals. Some things come as a result of posting my hobbies like pickleball or playing disc golf with my husband.
Content creation needs to be a huge priority in your business and a huge part of your schedule.
- You need to make time to create content (even during busy season).
- If it’s not in your schedule, ADD IT IN!!!!
- Posting content is how you’re going to get bookings, create community, build credibility, etc.
The more you wait, the more you’re hurting your business and missing opportunities.
The way I built my brand to where it is today is by CREATING THE RIGHT CONTENT & POSTING IT. It’s that simple. If you get stuck on not knowing what to post or not knowing if it’ll perform well, the only way to find out is by posting it.
As a photographer, what content do you need to create on Instagram?
What content do you need to create?
- Film videos of everything (your shoots, your daily activities, etc.).
- Take photos of everything.
- Create a stockpile of content to make it easier when you need to post.
- Get a phone mount for your camera or a sling to make your phone easy to grab. Have a friend or significant other take behind the scenes videos for you.
- Create videos in CapCut & repurpose it to all platforms.
- remove text & add custom text in IG, Tik Tok.
- Use text/audio in CapCut for Pinterest.
My philosophy for Instagram stories is keep it simple and keep it consistent.
Instagram stories should feel like a retreat for people, not like more work or stress. It needs to be entertaining, informational, or valuable.
What not to do on stories:
- Your stories should not be full of reshares (when people tag you in their stories).
- Avoid sharing posts to your story (like sharing an Instagram Reel you just posted to stories).
- Don’t over-saturate your stories, otherwise you’ll lose interest & views (and those are hard to get back). For example, don’t post a bunch of stories sharing previews from a wedding where people have 20 slides to tap through.
What to do with stories:
- Always use text on Instagram stories to create context. The easiest way to lose someone’s attention is to not give context. For example, posting a video of you talking without captions or text. Most people don’t have their volume up on Instagram.
- Tell a story and make it interesting.
- Create a series. For example, sharing my furniture saga on stories. It doesn’t have to be just photography-focused.
- Post more than just your photography. Post your hobbies and interests on stories.
- Alternate between static images & videos on stories. It keeps things interesting.
Instagram Reels are the time to use your stockpile of content! I have 3 rules when it comes to creating reels.
1. Create reels to grab attention.
What topic do you want to talk about? How can you grab attention about this topic?
2. Create reels that aren’t over-produced.
You don’t need to film everything on your actual camera or spend a ton of time editing. Some of my best performing videos are ones I spent 15 seconds filming.
3. Create reels with a purpose.
There’s nothing worse than watching a video and feeling like why did I just watch that video? Your reel should educate people or share a tip or trick. Your reel could be inspiring or share a story. Whatever it is, make sure there is a purpose to it that ultimately benefits your audience. You reels should provide some sort of value.
Instagram Tips for Photographers:
Think Outside the Box
The best performing reels are the ones that are different and unique, so think outside of the box. Allow yourself to be inspired by things outside of your niche & apply it to photography. So when I’m on a walk or scrolling through TikTok or Pinterest, I may get inspiration from things that aren’t photography related. I then can bring it to my niche and try it! So if you’re inspired by something, think about how you can apply it in your niche.
Random video ideas to try:
Here are a few random video ideas I haven’t seen before, but would probably do well for photographers.
- Use the green screen to share clients reviews of your service. You could read the review and showcase some of the photos.
- Another video idea is a green screen of you explaining why you chose each preview photo for a wedding. You could share your thought process behind the shot and how you edited it. It could show that you’re very intentional and are a good storyteller.
1. Photo dump style is still very popular. Try doing this with photography:
- Show the professional photo, some BTS, a video or two. It doesn’t have to be all camera photos.
- Try bringing a point and shoot camera to a photoshoot and add in those shots.
- Set up a tripod while you’re shooting to get videos.
2. The best posts have a mix of media and story in a single post.
Here’s an example Photo Dump Recipe:
1. Professional photo
2. BTS still photo.
3. Random detail (professional photo or phone photo).
4. Point & shoot photo or lower quality photo or different type of edit.
5. Another professional photo (completely different setting from #1).
6. Selfie with camera. Bonus points if you can get your subject or couple in the photo with you.
7. BTS video.
8. Professional photo.
9. Professional photo.
I think that’s a really fun photo dump recipe to try and see how it works for your audience!
3. Another popular idea: stack landscapes on top of each other.
- Do three landscapes in one photo. It makes the post intriguing and showcases your storytelling ability.
- Try posting a single photo, then three photos stacked, a single photo, and then two photos stacked.
That’s all I have for this episode on Instagram! My goal with this episode was to motivate you to try new things and create content! If you’ve been feeling stuck or unmotivated with content creation, I wanted to light a little fire under you and get you going when it comes to Instagram because it’s such a huge platform for photographers.
Remember the only thing holding you back from getting bookings from Instagram is by not posting today!
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