Are you confused about social media photography and how it all works? You’re not alone, this area of business in nuanced and can take a little time to understand it all.
Has social media strategies got you banging your head on the table? You’ve come to the right place to get it sorted out. We’ve got a few strategies to increase the reach of your posts and potentially bring in new leads!
What is social media photography?
Social media photography are photos composed for or cropped to fit specific social media sizing. Sometimes photographers come up with photo shoot concepts meant to attract attention on social media platforms. But more often than not, a photographer’s everyday artistic vision is what attracts followers to them. The everyday beautiful work you make will attract people to see your work and social media provides an excellent platform for people to see your work!
As mentioned before, different platforms have different ideal sizing requirements. These are the 2019 sizing requirements for each platform. These sizes are listed by width first and then height.
- Facebook timeline photo
- Landscape image: 1200px by 628px (1.91:1)
- Portrait image: 1200px by 1800px (2:3)
- Square Image: 1200px by 1200px (1:1)
- Facebook profile photo: 344px by 344px (1:1)
- Facebook cover photo: 1200px by 527px (2.27:1)
- Shared link thumbnail size on Facebook: 1200px by 628px (1.91:1)
- Facebook event cover photo: 1920px by 1080px (1.77:1)
- Twitter header: 1500px by 500px (3:1)
- Landscape image:1080px wide
- Portrait image: 1080px by 1350px (4:5)
- Square image: 1080px by 1080px (1:1)
- Instagram IGTV cover photo: 420px by 654px (1:1.55)
Some photographers decide to size their photos larger to ensure that viewers looking at them on large computer screens see the images to their best potential. Images with low resolutions viewed on large screens will look blurry. If you decide to do so, scale the images up according to the aspect ratio in brackets above.
In addition to sizing photos correctly for social media, you should also keep cropped sizes in mind when composing your shots. A camera sensor either has an aspect ratio of 3:2 or 4:3, which doesn’t match the aspect ratios of any social media sizes. So your photo will need to be cropped somehow to fit your social media size constraints. This might change how you choose to shoot your image.
How do photographers use social media for photography?
Social media photography allows your photos to reach its widest possible audience. Certainly much wider than the traditional mediums of prints in galleries or books. Social media also distributes your work around the world within seconds of posting. One of social media’s biggest uses in photography is to act like a portfolio for your work. Because social media allows audiences to see all your work together in one place, it is important to ensure your work has consistent editing. If you’re switching which filters you’re using between different photos in your portfolio, it can feel subtly disjointed. Using the same filter on your images creates a cohesive look to your gallery and gives your audience a base of what to expect from you if they hire you.
In addition to sharing their work on social media, these platforms also offer your audience a better chance to get to know you. If you choose to share glimpses of your personal life, or perhaps some behind the scenes shots of how you work then people get a sense of who you are and if they want to work with you. At a certain point, people can’t tell photographers work apart from one another because it all begins to blend into one another. The only way they can truly distinguish you from your competitors is your personality. So bring that personality out for your audience to see and connect with!
Once a photographer has their photos cropped, and edited consistently, the next step is to make sure it reaches their intended audience. Facebook and Instagram work in slightly different ways so strategy begins to differ here. The next step for Instagram social media photography is to use hashtags to define your photos. Your potential audience is using hashtags to find photos that appeal to them, so you need to figure out which hashtags reach them.
One way to do this is to search for one hashtag that describes your work. When you click on the link to that hashtag Instagram will suggest related hashtags to the one you clicked on. Adding your location onto the hashtag is always useful too. For example, you can use the hashtag #portraitphotographer and also #calgaryportraitphotographer or #yycportraitphotographer. YYC is the airport code for the Calgary airport, so Calgarians use YYC with their hashtags to reach local clients. Most photographers want to promote their work to people who live close enough to them to be able to work with them.
Good old Facebook on the other hand works better with a sharing strategy. Facebook users aren’t searching hashtags like they do on Instagram, so you need to reach them in a different way. Facebook’s algorithms limit who your business page posts are shown to. The people who see your posts are limited to the people who follow your page or have liked a post on your page. If you don’t have any followers, try sharing a post from your business page to your personal Facebook audience.
When there is another person is in your photos, share a link to your post with the person in the photo. If that person likes the photo, they might share your post to their own audience. I say might because not all Facebook users are very active. To get around this potential issue, create an incentive for your followers to share your work so it reaches their audience. The more people it reaches, the greater the chance one of those people follows your Facebook page. Incentives run in the form of contests for a free shoot, or perhaps a free print if they promote your business on their own pages.
What is the best social media for photographers?
Different photographers have varying degrees of luck with different social media photography platforms. While one photographer might find they get more interactions with their desired audience on Pinterest, another photographer might find they get most of their business inquiries from Instagram. The best thing to do is limit which platforms you share your work on. You don’t have unlimited time to share your work across a dozen different social media sites. The effort to keep up that many accounts might become a burden. You may find sharing across one or two platforms to be a comfortable compromise.
We do recommend using more than one platform because social media companies are always tweaking their algorithms. Any single tweak could negatively change how many people see your work, which could dry up your leads. These tweaks may never be announced to the public, and often when the rumored tweak is confirmed by the company, it happens a while after the change. By diversifying which platforms you share your work across, you limit the negative impact an algorithm change could have on your business.
Mastery is key
With so many platforms available, you’re better off choosing a small number of social media photography platforms to master. It’s far better to be the master of a few than be average at many platforms. You need to spend some time on these platforms to get a true sense of how they work, and how you can work them to your advantage. Don’t expect to grow your audience immediately. You will need to be a little patient to grow your audience organically. You can always pay to get followers, but there is no guarantee that paying for followers gets you followers that could turn into leads or potential clients. We wish you the best of luck with your social media photography, may luck and hard work bring you new clients through social media!