With a hat tip to Chris Brogan, I want to approach an important subject for photographers. There’s pretty much nothing more important to us than getting our work seen. The problem is, billions of photos are made and posted online every week. Who has time to look at OUR pictures? How can we stand out? Why aren’t we getting more traction with our online galleries?
The answers are both simple and complicated. It primarily boils down to too much noise. EVERYONE has pictures to share. Every social media service, new media service even old media service is inundated by photographs.
The photographers who manage to rise above all the noise – and all the marketing hype – and all the distractions today’s world has to offer will win.
So how do you do that – rise above the noise?
There’s no easy answer, but in my experience, there are some things you can do to get you started on the right path.
1. Think Niche
I can photograph just about anything and everything, but I started to find real commercial and social success with my photography when I decided to focus on one niche – i.e., birds. I am not suggesting YOU focus on birds, rather, I am suggesting you narrow down what you post and promote to one specific genre, and the more specific the better.
Seriously, this is the most important tip I can give you. Become a specialist.
Now I can hear your questions already. You want to know won’t that limit you? Yes – but in a good way. People want to spend time looking at things they are interested in. If you have that, great. If you don’t, you’re not going to convince them to look at your stuff anyway. There are simply too many choices. So just do one thing very well and do it consistently.
Consistency is a big factor in deciding whether or not your work gets noticed. I have posted nearly every day since 2007. And most days going back to 1998. That commitment to consistency has served me very well and it keeps my audiences coming back for more. If you only post once in a while, your audience will grow tired of waiting on you and will seek out other sources.
Don’t just post pictures on social media. Blog and podcast about them. Show them in-person and online to anyone you can. Showing the work often is a key to success – showing it in varied places makes that more powerful.
4. Improve your branding
If you have a logo, use it. Make sure it matches your genre and style. Hopefully it says something about you. Attach it to every post. My logo – taken in context with my bird photographs – says I am a bird photographer. It’s not a big deal but it does matter.
5. Tell people your WHY.
People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it. If you can articulate, with specificity, WHY you post the pictures you do, you’ll get more traction.
Nothing about this is easy. It takes hard work. Let’s face it. We live in a world that wants instant gratification WITHOUT the hard work. Sorry to say, that’s just not the way it works. You have to be committed and sincere and oh yeah, it helps if your pictures are good.
I am rooting for you.