Fact: you can grow as a photographer by collaborating with folks and networking with people on Instagram. But there’s a huge difference between growth on social media and actually growing as a photographer. In fact, they’re very far from one another. If you’re making money as a photographer on Instagram, it’s because you were hired to do a gig. But let’s explore more of that in this post.
Networking Off of Instagram
Instagram isn’t the end-all-be-all of photography. Here’s the truth. If you’re an Instagram photographer of some sort, then the truth is that you’re probably actually a social media influencer. If Instagram suddenly deletes your account, who would want to hire you? By legal definition, a photographer makes money off of sales of their photo services. Folks call me a photographer all the time because I test cameras, but I’m a journalist. We feature photographers all the time on this website, and those are working photographers typically.
With that said, you need to find ways to network off of Instagram. Maybe it’s in-person with the clientele that you’re interested in working with. Otherwise, it could be with lots of other folks that can bring you sales and support. You can also find ways to network virtually. But if you do, then make sure that it’s at a place that can bring you sales or some sort of symbiotic relationship.
Develop Your Website
Do more than just Instagram. For ethical reasons, we recommend choosing Format, Wix or PhotoShelter to develop your website and grow as a photographer. We don’t at all recommend Squarespace because they’ve supported the Unsplash awards before. A website will function as a place to permanently store your work. Think of it as your flagship store location, and now you have to find a way to get people there to make a purchase.
Develop a Photo Speciality Social Media Presence
Besides Instagram and places like TikTok, you should work to share your photos on a place that actually supports photographers. A few examples are spots like:
- Behance: Owned by Adobe
- Flickr: Yes, I know…
- 500px: Another long time place for photographers
- Model Mayhem: It has surely cleaned up over the years.
- Photo Vogue: One of our favorite spots
Get an Email Newsletter List
I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important it is for a photographer to create their own email newsletter list to let people know about what they’re doing. It can sometimes be the most effective way to talk to people professionally. More importantly, make sure that it’s a list of only the folks who might want to work with you and bring you revenue.
Grow as a Photographer by Making a Zine
To make a zine, you need an idea. More specifically, these ideas need to be worth putting into a zine. Don’t create a zine about your photography. Instead, grow as a photographer by making a zine about a specific body of work.
Form Actual Bodies of Work, like Projects
That brings us to our last way to grow as a photographer: to develop actual bodies of work. On various websites, I see things like portraits, landscapes, etc. all under subsections. And those are great! But sometimes it makes more sense to segment them even more. Remember, you’re thinking as an artist, but you’re catering to people who don’t think like artists. You need to make it simple for them to navigate.