As a photographer, you use Instagram. Perpetually, all the time. Your photos are getting some decent engagement and comments. People ask to book you and it feels like your business is going in the right direction. But what’s the next step? How do you get it going to that next level?
I had a chance to catch up with Laura Grier, photojournalist, and owner of Beautiful Day Photography, one of LA’s top wedding companies where she specializes in destination weddings. I asked Laura for her Instagram secrets. She shared her top 5 tips for photographers to maximize your reach on Instagram. Some may surprise you. Some will likely inspire you.
#1 – Writing Matters
Instagram is for images, right? However, Laura’s first tip is on the importance of what’s written in your posts. Laura notes, “Definitely write and make your images searchable. So, the more you write and the more you hashtag the more people will find you.” Help potential fans find you by adding some text for them to discover you, the genre you’re promoting and pepper in your hashtags.
#2 – Reuse Great Content
Creating new content can take time. Your portfolio images are a great example of your work and something that can attract the right prospective client. “Don’t be afraid to share old posts. Go through your old [posts] and pull out some things. Don’t be afraid to reuse the old stuff.” It can be a reminder to your followers that you shoot a specific type of genre they didn’t realize. You could even use older work as a copy starter to demonstrate where you’ve come from as a photographer and why a certain shot or experience in that moment has stuck with you. Plus, something visually “old” to you still is likely very “new” to others, and it’s easy to tire of our work, but remember that many have yet to even see it.
#3 – Guest Posts
There are lots of brands that have guests doing takeovers. Is there someone you think would be a great partner? Perhaps you can do a guest spot for your favorite IG friends. It’s great new audience exposure!
“If I have someone take over my account and they’re producing content for me then I get to take a break, and then they get to share my audience and get new eyeballs on their work. And so it’s really mutually beneficial. So, don’t be afraid to do that for other brands.”
#4 – Tag Relevant Brands and People
Your hashtag game needs to be on point. According to Later.com, “A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.”
Laura suggests, “Tag branded accounts that are relevant to your post. The more people you tag, the more people are going to see it, like it, and share it. I tag as many travel accounts or publications or people that I want to see my work, all the time. When people you know search tags a lot of times then your images can pop up.”
#5 – Locations Matter
Geotags and hashtags for specific locations help local people find your work. Laura shared, “It’s also important to location tag your image. When you location tag your image, a lot of times in [Instagram] search it’s done by geographical location. So a lot of times people have found me just from location tagging. I don’t think you realize that total strangers will get your feed to pop up on theirs if you are in a three-mile radius of them or something.” Some studies show adding a geographic location or hashtag can increase engagement by up to 70%.
#6 – Collaborate
Partnering with other businesses for a styled shoot can be a way to highlight your work and have others who share each of your names and photos together, creating a broader reach.
Grier suggests, “Cross-promote and collaborate with other people as much as possible. So every time you do a styled shoot and you’re working with 10 vendors, share all of your imagery. Have them tag it. Have them then share it. So the more collaborations the better.” By all tagging participating vendors, your brands all get cast to a wider audience. As the photographer, your work is of course front and center, shining a light on everyone to showcase the flowers, models, clothing, hair, makeup, location, etc.
She also reminds us to be sure to use all the tools in the Instagram environment, “Use all of the Instagram features like Live, Stories, Q&A’s, and hashtags. They just launched “Reels” in the last couple of weeks which is like their version of TicTok. I’m actually excited about it because I think it’s going to be a really fun tool.”
And finally, Laura suggests, “Get yourself out there and have some fun just use all the tools you have. They’re all free.”
Listen to the full 90-minute interview with Laura on Zenfolio’s YouTube channel below.
Along with her destination wedding business, Laura has a travel blog called “Wanderlust by Laura Grier.” You can read up on her travels and get a behind the scenes perspective of her jet setting around the world.
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Robert is the host of Zenfolio Live. He has been a photographer for over a decade working in Volume Sports Photography and Real Estate Photography. However, his passion is capturing photos of the old run-down and abandoned places hidden throughout our country.”When I am photographing an old home, school, or theme park that is literally on the verge of extinction, I feel such a strong connection to the past, it also serves as a good reminder that beautiful things can come from broken places.”