Here’s Why Your Website & Social Networks Are Giving You Zero Photo Clients – Fstoppers | Ad On Picture

One of the challenges for photographers who post online is learning to cultivate what we choose to post. When I was just starting out as a headshot photographer, I only had occasional clients and the fact that I did a headshot at all was a huge achievement. For that reason, I would immediately post pictures from the session on my Instagram feed and website. However, as my client base grew and I developed my own style, I realized that I needed to be much more selective in deciding why and when to post an image.

part of the growth process

Growing as a photographer and artist is something I’ve made a conscious choice to do in a very public way, be it on my Instagram page, my YouTube channel or when I post photos and articles on Fstoppers. One of the main reasons for this is of course the growth of my business and brand as a photographer, but I also feel that posting, especially on Instagram, has fueled my growth and improved my skills faster than if I was working in a nothing. Also, I like to have a visual record of my progress in thumbnail form on Instagram as, in theory, the work should improve over time. I talked about this in one of my early Fstoppers articles, which can be found here, and I still think posting our work is best practice – up to a point.

If you’re just starting your photography journey and looking to build your brand or online followers, start posting. Any photo or video can act as a beta test for future posts, and even if you post something that doesn’t go down well, it’s not the end of the world and can be a great part of the learning process. On my YouTube channel, which is fairly new, some videos resonate and some don’t. If a video flops, I don’t enjoy it, but if it helps me improve content, content, and presentation, it’s still a win in the long run.

Cultivate your artistry and brand

Growing our brands is like growing up. As children we say whatever comes to mind, we act silly no matter what situation we are in, and we have very little awareness of how the world sees us. But as we mature, we start to become much more selective about how we present ourselves to the world, and the same should be true of our social media presence as photographers.

Scrolling through Instagram, a headshot sometimes pops up that makes me pause, and not for the right reasons. Whether it’s bad lighting, a bad facial expression, a distorted view, or whatever, I stop and gape like someone slowing down the parkway to see an accident (I’m sure people feel the same made with some of my photos). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking the photographer or the person in the picture, but I’m often surprised when the photo was taken by a photographer I know and whose work I admire. Instead, I wonder why they post such a photo when they have much better work to showcase? And the only answer I can find is that they basically post a picture of every single session without even thinking about whether the photo helps or hurts their brand.

I find that crazy and unnecessary. And I think we’re all to some extent to blame for that. As I write this article, I’m actually scrolling through my own Instagram and reminding myself that I need to take my own advice and be more selective in maintaining my page. So to bring up this topic, remember that I know how many fingers I have pointing back at me (more on that later).

Many of my photography friends and mentors have said, “Show the work you want to get paid for,” and I think that’s solid advice for all of us as we build our business and nurture our social pages, especially when we’re few years on our journey as image makers. As we grow, our style will certainly change, and hopefully our work will get better over time. If your work isn’t improving, that’s a topic for another day, but other than that, we need to be careful about presenting our images and videos, whether that’s on our own website or on any of the various social media platforms we use every day.

time to think

Some of my favorite Instagram pages are populated by a single theme, whether it’s headshots, portraits, landscapes, or street photography. The photographer’s work is evident from the moment I visit his profile and it immediately tells me what he is doing. As we reflect on our own work and personal brands, now is a good time to review what and how we present our images and videos online. We should also keep in mind that consistency doesn’t necessarily mean you only have to post in a single genre. More importantly, we strive to post content that is consistently good and renounce the desire to post just about anything or anyone that comes in front of our lens.

I work with many clients who never make it onto my Instagram page or website for various reasons, and often it’s perfect photos. But if they don’t reflect the direction I’m taking with my business and artistic vision, they only serve to muddy the waters for potential clients and companies who might want to work with me in the future.

When we think about these things, I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer either. For some of us, having a dedicated site that only features headshots, for example, might be the best move. For others the solution may be different, and having a variety of genres on one site might work well, but the theme for all of us who have been photographers for a while is to post quality over quantity and post with intention.

As I mentioned earlier, I think my Instagram page has kind of become a hodgepodge since I started my YouTube channel. That’s partly because I now post a lot of content aimed at both photographers and clients, and the feed is peppered with example images of gear I envision in roles as I apply for roles and try to mine to keep Instagram page relevant. Whether that’s wise or not is something I’m currently considering, but so far my business and network continues to grow and I make sure to only post content that I feel is quality. If I make a change, it will most likely be in the form of an Instagram dedicated to my YouTube activity.

In summary, my advice to you is to take a hard look at your website and social media. Do you create a consistent, high quality brand that is easy for others to recognize, or do you post everything without even thinking about it? If you run a photography business and are not carefully managing your online brand, now is the time to take care of your website and social media presence.

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