Instagram Adds Facebook-Like Business Features

instagramInstagram has added several new tools and features to help you connect with clients. Basically, they are using the Facebook model (Facebook owns Instagram!) of separate personal profiles and business or “brand” profiles. With this change, you’ll be able to promote your studio, as well as boost images and put them directly in front of potential new clients.

Why Instagram?

Instagram is an image-focused social media platform, which makes it perfect for professional photographers. It is a great way to build your brand. In 2016, Instagram hit 400 million users with half of them using the site daily. According to Pew Research Center, 56% of online adults ages 18-29 use Instagram. And Instagram is owned by Facebook, which has shown they know how to build a social media platform to connect your studio to potential customers.

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Use Instagram to Build Your Photography Business

instagramMost studios treat Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook like a photo gallery. They serve as a place to post a picture of your latest shoot, but photographers rarely them to tell a story. Using Instagram, that’s what Kate Sigfusson did.

When she launched Babies4Babies on Instagram, she was expecting. She took the opportunity to share pictures and information about her pregnancy. She posted everything from pictures of herself pregnant to her plans to launch a line of premium baby products like swaddles. Her entire Instagram page chronicles her journey.

“By sharing the Babies4Babies story, specifically my journey as a new mother and entrepreneur, we have humanized the brand,” Sigfusson said in an article. “It makes the company more of a family rather than a product.”

Sigfusson says every business should treat Instagram in a similar fashion. As small business owners, show your audience the human side of your business. Show your audience pictures of you packing orders, heading to the post office, helping other customers and dealing with obstacles.

Get used to taking snapshots and “selfies” to populate your page with faces and images (best practices for image sizing) that tell your story, rather than just images of products. Use the platform to tell your story – one picture at a time.

If You Offer Wedding Photography Read This

wedding-statisticsWhen someone is using social media successful, it pays to notice. That’s why I was intrigued by a Wedding-focused page I recently discovered on Pinterest.

The Pinterest page is called Wedding Industry News. It collects pins about the US wedding industry: historical costs, statistics, and even a few fun facts you might not know about the professional wedding business.

The page is the brainchild of, a New Jersey resource for wedding services for brides. They make money by getting photographers, DJs, venues and other wedding industry providers in the NJ area to purchase a listing on their site. But that’s not the point. They make themselves valuable by attracting brides to their website, and use social media to do it.

If you’re a wedding photographer, here is what you can learn from them.

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Latest Trends in Social Media: What You Need to Know

social mediaMy friends 19-year old son was searching for off-campus housing at Northwood University in Midland, where he will be returning to school in the fall. He called his mother excitedly, telling her he’d found both a 2-bedroom house and a roommate.

“How do you know your roommate will like it?” his mother asked.

“I’ve already sent him a video from my phone,” he said.

“Can you send it to me?” his mother asked.

“Nope. You’re not on Snapchat.”

The social media landscape is constantly changing. While posting daily on Facebook may have worked in the past, it is no longer enough. Here are 3 trends you should be aware of if you want to turbo-charge your social media marketing.

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Have You Added the Instagram Style to Your Portfolio?

instagram-filtersOne of the trends in photography over the last few years has been the rise of the “Instagram style.” Instagram is a photo filter app for smart phone camera images. While some people might call the look “retro” and a fad (like sepia tone or HDR?), taken as a whole, this set of filters has lead to a shift in what younger consumers see as acceptable photography.

Not sure what the Instagram style is? Google Instagram Style for examples, or go to, a popular website for young artists. As a professional, you’ll probably think the color is wrong, the images are under- or over- saturated, or they break any of a dozen rules. However, if you market your photography to seniors and young brides, I believe you should be showing a couple of images with these filters in your portfolio.

How to get started? There are dozens of free Photoshop actions online that can give you this look. Or if you have a smart phone, install the Instagram application.

How to market? Some pro photographers use Instagram filters on a few of their smartphone images uploaded to Facebook only. This shows a variety and “youthfulness” of their style without changing their overall brand. Others are adding 1-2 Instagram style images to their online portfolio.

How to sell? Take a shot with both a smart phone and your DSLR, apply a similar Instagram filter to both, and print sample 8×10’s. Be prepared to show your client the difference a professional photographer makes. Also be prepared for the fact that while young consumers might like the Instagram style, when it comes to putting money on the table, many will still prefer traditional prints.

Are You Using Instagram Yet?

instagramAre you using Instagram yet? You should.

Instagram is a free application that lets you add effects to images and save them to Facebook. Since being acquired by Facebook, millions of users have used Instagram to turn their Facebook accounts into channels to show off their artistic photography. In fact, Instagram has about the same number of users as Pinterest and Twitter!

So I’m sure you’re thinking, “I use good equipment and Photoshop. Why would I want to snap a low-res photo on my iPhone and add a cheap effect to show potential clients?”

The answer is, from a marketing point of view, your style and posting frequency is just as important as your equipment. Because it is designed to work with low-res smart phones (iPhone or Android), viewers don’t expect Instagram photos to be perfect – they just expect them to be interesting. With Instagram, instead of lugging your DSLR around, you can easily expand your subject matter to pets, animals, street scenes and local events with whatever camera you happen to have in your pocket at that moment.

See something cool on the sidewalk? Snap a photo, edit it in Instagram, and post it to Facebook in about a minute. If you take good photos, your friends and fans will share them with their friends. That kind of viral posting is what can make social media work for you.

Need some other ideas? Check out the Instagram for Business blog.

Like Pinterest, Instagram gives you a perfect opportunity to show off your strength – photography – using social media. The combination should be irresistible to you.

Social Media Key To Future Photographic Studio Marketing

customer-interaction-changesWhen I was a boy, I remember surfing through the channels on TV and stopping on an interview with Prince Charles, who was at that time assumed to be the future king of England. I stopped at the exact moment the interviewer asked the prince, “When will you get married?

What Prince Charles basically said was this: “As the future king, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with presidents, kings, philosophers and some of the greatest minds of our generation, and they’ve all said the same thing: wait until you’re 30.

At that moment, somehow through my addled brain, a single, clear thought emerged: “This is great advice. I’m going to follow it.

I thought of that story again when I read that IBM had recently spoke with 1,700 CEOs worldwide and asked them, “What are the most utilized customer interaction methods today, and what do you predict in the next 3-5 years?” This is the largest survey of its kind ever taken.

The answers were not surprising. Click the graphic to see the results.

Here are some highlights:

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