Advice + Insight
Instagram + Social Media
Before I begin, let me do a little housekeeping. This is the first entry in what will be a series of advice + insight posts here on DSmithImages. It’s my hope that they’ll help people, whether they are prospective clients, other photographers, or just the general public, in some way, shape, or form.
Alright… now that that I got that out of the way…
I’m guessing the title of this post might have gotten your attention, especially if you did the all-powerful act of clicking on the link when you found it.
Let me thank you for doing that. I appreciate the traffic.
Yes. You read the title correctly. I’m a wedding photographer, along with a portrait and event photographer, and I’ve done away with Instagram. Well, I still have my account up, but I don’t really have any plans of updating it.
I didn’t delete it outright because I do like to use it for inspirational purposes, seeing what other photographers are doing, and having the account online for past, current, and future clients.
“But David! Instagram is a great tool! It helps to spread your content. You can be an influencer and reach a lot of people!”
That’s the thing. I’m not an influencer, and I do not produce content. I know some of you might roll your eyes at that, and you might feel like I’m being old fashioned. More power to you if you do. It doesn’t change how I look at things.
I’m a photographer, and Instagram is not really in the game to help photographers showcase their work.
Instagram is there to be a content delivery system, and, well, I feel reducing what I do to mere “content” is insulting. Some of you might feel differently, but I take pride in my work. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be considered just a photographer.
I’ve never had the best reach or impact or whatever you want to call it on Instagram. That’s probably because a lot of my followers were other photographers, and, well, photographers tend to have a habit of not wanting to interact.
That’s another post for another time, and it’d probably get me in trouble.
Then something hit me. As much as 2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year, it’s also been the best year I’ve ever had in a business sense.
I’ve photographed more weddings and portrait sessions than any other year before, and guess what? The overwhelming bulk of that business came from outlets other than Instagram.
Now I know Facebook and Instagram are part of the same corporate monster, but, hey, Facebook is still useful for me even though most of the service is a giant black hole.
I still have a Facebook Business Page, but what’s more effective is actively contributing and posting in the numerous wedding vendor and bridal groups for places all over the country.
See the photo above? I was able to book a wedding in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with a simple response to a bride looking for a photographer.
I have similar stories for celebrations in Maine, Oregon, and many other states. All because of a concentrated strategy.
That type of direct contact to couples looking for a wedding photographer, I feel, is a far better usage of time and effort than posting on Instagram, worrying about hashtags, and then seeing a post fail because no one engaged with it for a variety of reasons.
Other methods I use outside of Instagram include advertising on specific vendor sites such as Wandering Weddings and Junebug Weddings. I’m also a big proponent of Pinterest because Pinterest can tell you so much about what a client wants and likes.
I also try to drive traffic to my site with a good SEO strategy built on trying to reach couples directly looking for a wedding photographer in specific geographic locations. That has also had some success, including securing a wedding celebration in Galveston, Texas, but it’s a long game I will continue to play.
Because I believe in stopping before you wear out a welcome, I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this post.
If Instagram works for you, awesome. Keep doing what works. That’s the point of this whole post. Ride that horse as long as you can.
If it isn’t working for you, though, don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Get away from it and put your time into other efforts.
No matter what some people might try to sell you, and there are MANY that will try to sell you just that, there is no sure-fire way of promoting your work and art. Everyone has their own path to take.
You just have to figure out when you’re going to take that path, and where it’s going to lead you.
I hope this helps. If not, well, I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read it anyway.