My Definitive Guide to Social Media for Photography

 

The number of social networks that exist now is almost daunting.  Here I’ll outline some of the most popular ones for photography and how to make good use of them.

 

Here's my definitive scale to rate each network:

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IG has turned photographers (and models) into rock stars.  Getting fame on Instagram can not only lead to paid work, but it can also land you sponsored posts from brands if you’re lucky and good enough.

Pros of Instagram:

  1. It’s a great source of inspiration.

  2. You can branch out beyond your immediate circle.

  3. Popularity can lead to paid work and brand partnerships.

  4. Can easily be used for networking, just DM models and other photographers and ask if they’d like to collaborate

Cons of Instagram

  1. Competition is fierce.  It’s getting harder and harder to gain exposure and followers.

  2. Lots of fake ass and shady people.  Many will follow you just to unfollow you once you return the favor.  People steal your images, many utilize bots to gain followers, and there's a lot of other bullshit involved.

  3. Obsession with followers and likes is not healthy.  You’ll find that a lot of people with no talent may get more engagement than you.  This is just life.  Try not to compare yourself with them or cater your work to whatever you think will get the most likes.

  4. The format can be limiting.  Photos in landscape orientation look like crap because Instagram is meant to be viewed on a smartphone.

Everybody knows about the use of hashtags.  Below I’ll list some popular ones that might get you featured on big feeds.  However, using too many will make you look whorish.

Huge Feature Feeds

#creativetones #leagueoflenses  #urbanAisle  #fatalframes #citykillerz  #acreativevisual #killyourcity #globalhotshotz #shotzdelight   #master_gallery #heatercental #theimaged #moodygrams #visualcentral #igrefined #visualcentral #justgoshoot #ig_moodysouls #trappingtones #real_system #gramslayers #all2epic #killeverygram #primeshots #createexplore #visualsoflife #timeoutsociety #shotzdelight #ig_color #dopeclickz #nakedplanet #ig_underdogs #igtones  #artistfound #agameoftones #creatorgrams #creativetones #heatedtones #worldtones #iseeyourtalent #shotzframes #ig_underground #creativegrammer #theuniversalart #enter_imagination #artshub #jaw_dropping_shots #majestic_earth_ #hubs_united #photoobserve #edit_perfection  #igcreative_edits #artofsystem #playoftones #ig_escape #sociality #vqmag #visualquest #ig_today #ig_worldclub #special_shots #worldbestgram #worldprime #visualcaptures #weekly_feature #instagood10k #lightroommasteres

Street Photography Feeds

#streetlife_award #challengerstreets #ourstreets  #wearethestreet #capturestreets #everybody_street #street_perfection #lensculturestreet #streetscene  #myfeatureshoot#streettogether #streets_vision #streetshared #streetcollectors  #streetleaks

Landscape Feeds

#discover_earthpix  #globaltravelgram #main_vision #ourmoodydays #delightfultraveling #fatalframes #vscoaward #master_gallery #nature_seekers #timeoutsociety  #nakedplanet #heatercentral #theimaged #visualcentral #justgoshoot #ig_moodysouls #theunknownadventurer

Travel Tags

#travel #instatravel #travelgram #tourism#instago #passportready #travelblogger#wanderlust #ilovetravel #writetotravel#instatravelling #instavacation#travelblogger #instapassport#postcardsfromtheworld #traveldeeper#travelstroke #travelling #trip#traveltheworld #igtravel #getaway#travelblog #instago #travelpics #tourist #wanderer #wanderlust

 

 

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While Facebook and Twitter may have become cesspools,  but Reddit serves as a beacon of hope for the social media  world. On Reddit you'll likely be judged on solely the merit of your work. Here are a few threads to consider posting  on:

https://www.reddit.com/r/CityPorn/

https://www.reddit.com/r/itookapicture/

https://www.reddit.com/r/EarthPorn/

https://www.reddit.com/r/CLOUDS/

There are plenty of other feeds that you can post on based on whatever you shoot. Others are dedicated to general photography  discussion which you may or may not be interested in. Just do a little browsing.

 

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This is more of a resource than a network, a resource  that will kill the entire stock photography industry, but a resource nonetheless.

At first I was hesitant to join. What kind of sucker gives out his or her photos for free?  The only thing that Unsplash offers is an empty promise of ‘exposure’ in return.  However, this is where the industry is headed.  Either ride the waves of change or drown by them.  You'll likely gain nothing  from this site,  but at the very least you can tell yourself that somewhere somebody appreciates your work and made good use of it. Then you can die poor, alone, yet somehow fulfilled with this bit of satisfaction.  

Innovation never comes without  a price.

 

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Here’s a place to go if you start feeling like you’re talented.  You’ll quickly learn that you’re not.  Behance was launched by Adobe and features the best people creating with their programs.  It’s an excellent place to draw inspiration from.  Unlike a lot of other places, these people seem to be doing paid work for advertisers and such.  So it’s a good spot to see what level of work you should be able to compete with.  

 

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Flickr used to be a pretty good community for photographers.  I don’t know what happened.  There’s basically zero engagement on there now, but I think Flickr is a good place for last resort cloud storage since they allow you to upload full-sized photos.

I also use Flickr as a convenient place to let people download my photos for free.

 

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500PX is the successor to Flickr.  They basically have the same format, but there’s a lot more engagement.  Plus they sell stock photos.  You’re not likely to get noticed on there unless your photos are in the top 1%.  However, there is a small chance that if you have a certain niche that somebody will buy your photo.  Their geotagging system is also pretty good, making it useful for scouting.  

 

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The first word I think of when I hear Facebook now is ‘anger.’  I feel that Facebook has become really toxic in the past couple of years.  As a company it’s obvious that they’ve desperate to capitalize as much as possible.  One of the places they try to capitalize the most is through ‘Pages.’  Once somebody opens up their public page they will be bombarded with emails and notifications urging them to dump money into it for engagement.  Don’t fall into this trap.  

The best way to get your photos noticed on FB is by posting them on your personal page or sharing them in private groups.  Here are a few popular ones:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/digitalphotographyschoolgroup/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/854213337959128/?ref=category_discover_landing

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1796382367348820/?ref=group_browse_new

https://www.facebook.com/groups/969722603097195/?ref=group_browse_new

 

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Google Plus is like the grandmother’s basement of social media.  Most of the time nobody is there, but on holidays after everybody has a few drinks they’ll venture down and have a good time hanging out.  I’ll throw my photos on there once in a blue moon and then just link to my Instagram account.  Here’s a few circles to consider joining:

https://plus.google.com/communities/101740425670472889181

https://plus.google.com/communities/117200292412580229233

https://plus.google.com/communities/111099338164023501751

https://plus.google.com/communities/116871042716967304935

https://plus.google.com/communities/105098607907521136027

https://plus.google.com/communities/105229360285749521458

For some reason I feel like Google Plus might be where everybody goes to once Facebook goes to hell, which it surely will sooner or later.  

 

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This is a cool place to network with others and sell prints effortlessly.  The only drawback is that pretty much everybody in the community is also an artist.  Therefore they are probably less likely to buy prints.  There’s a lot of subgroups on there though.  I personally haven’t gotten to involved on Deviant Art, but I hear think a good place if you’re into weird stuff (no judgement).  

 

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Some people swear by Twitter, but I hate it more than Facebook.  It’s run by a bunch of extreme leftists who think they’re fighting for social justice.  Plus, it’s almost as hostile as Facebook now.  There’s a few hacks that artists employ like Tweet-decks, but unless you’re famous I wouldn’t bother with Twitter.  Others will certainly disagree.  

 

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Really?  Unless you’re a stay-at-home soccer mom, chances are you’ve never been on Pinterest in the first place.  

 

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Tumblr was cool for some time.  It too has died off.  Unless you’re posting porn, I wouldn’t bother with it.  

 

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This network lures in people with the prospect of uploading your photos for commercial buyers to potentially buy. However I remain skeptical.  I uploaded my best photos and have over 1000 followers and have yet to make a sale.  Besides, I think the stock photo industry is dying anyway.

 

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This site seemed pretty promising at first, but once I got in there wasn’t a whole lot going on.  However it does host a lot of contests sponsored by 3rd parties.  Some are free, while others require purchasing an upgraded membership.  Personally I can’t justify paying to enter a contest.  Might as well go to a casino.

 

More from Andrew Haimerl:

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