Sharing your content online as a photographer!
I am an emotive guy! I don't look like that but I can assure you that social media drove me nuts back in the day. I shyly started posting pictures in early 2010. I didn't really understand what I was doing on social media. I felt so bad when people didn't respond to my posts, and really pissed when I had negative feedback. After all, what was I doing there? Boosting my ego with more "likes"? I didn't have a clue of what it could really bring me and how I can use it as a tool to communicate my work and get in touch with other artists and future clients.
I would love to say that I was too young at the time, but I was already truly a grown-up man. I guess I was simply lacking maturity. Apart from reacting negatively, I made a lot of mistakes when I launched my website, my youtube channel for my behind-the-scenes videos, and my Facebook and Twitter page.
Here are a few tips for you who want to start out in photography whether you're an amateur or a starting professional regarding your work on the web.
1/ Want a website? Make it simple. Your website has to be easy to navigate. I discovered that nobody liked my website because people had to click through multiple pages before getting to the content. Make it clean, clear, simple... Get to the point and if your 5-year-old nephew is lost while traveling in it, there is something wrong.
2/ Only share your best work. No need to be the latest. Today, people tend to produce more and more images of poor quality instead of creating pictures that will stand through time. Quantity never equaled quality. If you have 30 crappy pictures you may miss a client who will choose a guy who put out only 5 excellent ones in the same domain on his website.
3/ If you have a blog, blog regularly! (Something I'm still working on) Chose a particular day for your posts, this will push your audience to come back regularly because they will be sure they will find fresh content on your blog.
4/ Choose only social media you feel comfortable with. Facebook, Google + and 500px, and Twitter were my favorite platforms to share my work. The problem was that when I started, I only posted content on Facebook erratically. Like point number 2/, share your best work there even though you will probably share more on Facebook than on your website. During my first 3 years of activity, I complained about not having any feedback and followers on Google +, 500px, and Twitter but, oddly, I didn't share anything there. It didn't take me long to understand the issue. If you feel that you only want to work with Facebook, stick with it. Don't complicate your life with new platforms if you're not willing to invest some time in them.
5/ Don't be afraid to share your pictures. With or without a logo. It's up to you to decide if you want your logo on your pictures or not for branding. If you do it to prevent theft... well there is nothing out there that can prevent anyone from removing it unless you write your name all across the picture. It's part of the game to accept it. Unfortunately, for us, we've got to live with it and cannot avoid being on the web for the sake of the success of our business. It doesn't cost much and is a great tool for your audience and future clients to communicate with you and keep in touch with your work.
6/ like you may have guessed with numbers 4/ and 5/, social media are important. But don't just share, and post links. Interact with your followers, ask questions, answer questions... It cannot work if it's a one-way conversation. To sum it up, communicate with your audience when possible. Make this task fun and take 30 minutes every day to keep your blog and pages alive.
7/ Share backstage pictures, if you can make a behind-the-scenes video, it's great! People love to see what it takes to make great images. Show the process behind your work, scouting, sketching, setting up, shooting, retouching... Share your stories, show the world it's not just pointing, and shooting!
My first behind the scenes video :
8/ Share your knowledge! I truly think it's part of the job. I first was afraid to do it, afraid that other photographers would steal my style and my job. You should never think this way. I've learned so much from watching Aaron Nace's video on Phlearn. Competition is healthy. Do not forget your toughest opponent is yourself. Someone is trying to follow footsteps? steps? Be happy that you let a fellow photographer improve and show him you're still the one he will look up to. There are so many awesome photographers out there and being unique these days is a tough challenge.
9/ You have to be organized because if you read alone my suggestions from 4/ to 8/ you can easily spend your week constantly connected on your blog and on social media. Try to plan your blog post when possible and post on chosen days. Give an hour (and only an hour) to social media alone every day interacting with people that follow your work. When you know you have a specific time slot dedicated to a specific task during the day, you will slowly eliminate this habit of checking your notifications every 30 minutes on your phone or laptop. This will really help you be much more efficient on the web and save some time for other important tasks.
10/ Last tip, will be simple: stay yourself. Don't fake it, be true to your audience. Find your own style in your photography and develop what you like and what you feel comfortable in. If you force yourself to do it, it will never work, you will feel you're wasting your time and nobody will follow your journey feeling you're not into it.
These are 10 simple tips, and some of them might sound obvious to some of you. But even me, sometimes, I tend to forget to apply some of them. So A little reminder never hurts. I will share more of these in a near future. Until then, take your camera out for a ride!