Top Instagram tips for photographers

If you are a photographer, then there's no reason why you shouldn't be on Instagram these days.

Being a visually stimulating and photo-focused platform, it's the PERFECT place to share your work AND connect with your ideal clients.

But, just because you take pretty pictures, doesn't mean you're automatically set to rule the 'gram.

There are a few rules and tips to follow if you want o make the most out of your (and your audience's) Instagram experience.

So let's run through the top Instagram tips for photographers that you can start applying them to your account today!

Instagram tips for photographers

Create a bio that converts

If you want to gain new followers who are eager to stick around, then coming up with an effective bio is the first step.

Although a simple enough task, your bio will determine if someone decides to press that follow button or not - so it’s very important to take your time to think about this!

Your Instagram bio, as a photographer, should include these vital things:

Your name

Let’s start with your name. You need to include this in your bio, even if your business name is different. This will personalize your business & make you seem more relatable.

Keep in mind, people want to do business with a person they can relate to & Instagram is the perfect platform for this!

Your location

Location might seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across an amazing photographer on Instagram and have NO IDEA where they are located.

I’ll spend several minutes looking at photos, their hashtags, geotags, and even visit their website as a last resort to find out where they are from. THIS is a problem to avoid from the get-go.

You’ll clear up a lot of confusion by adding this to your bio. It will tell people where you are so they won’t have to hunt it down - or even simply pass you by.

Your brand message

Now you don’t have to write a book about this, but one line about WHAT you are about will tell a person A LOT about who you are and what you do.

This could be a few fun facts, your style you want to convey, or a message you use in all of your branding.

For me, I use “shoot better & edit faster” in all of my marketing, so it’s also included in my bio. Cuts right to the chase and fits in with my brand message as a whole - there’s no denying what my Instagram is about and whom I serve.

Make sure you do the same & let your target audience know that they are in the right place. 

Your website link

Take advantage of being able to connect your website in your bio so others can instantly visit your site for more information!

Come visit my Instagram for a live example!


Use relevant hashtags

 When tagging up your photos on Instagram, the key word to focus on is "relevant".

So, what's relevant you ask?

Well, it all depends on what you are using Instagram for, your business goals, and who you are trying to attract.

If you are looking to connect with others in your area (aka potential clients), then you are going to be using much different hashtags than if you are trying to collect a large following from around the globe.

Figure out who you want to serve, then seek out specific hashtags where these people are at.

It might take some digging, but it will be worth the time investment!


Geotag photos

Another way for your photos to be seen by non-followers is to geotag your photos.

Adding your location can serve many purposes.

First, people who are looking up that specific geotag might end up coming across your photo.

Secondly, it's another avenue of letting people know where you're located. If you like to tag your shooting locations, even better! Potential clients can now get a feel for what a session could look like with you at their favorite hangout.

 So next time you share a photo, don't forget to add it's location! The more specific, the better!


Interact with your ideal audience

It doesn't matter if you have 1 follower or 1 million followers, it's always the best practice to talk to a specific person in mind when posting and interacting.

Who you are talking to when writing your posts should be your ideal client or follower - speak their language and make it irresistable to not respond to your posts.

Instead of trying to chase as many followers as possible, really dig down and form amazing relationships with the peeps who are already there - the rest will follow.

You can do this many ways.

Like and comment on their photos. Watch and engage with their stories. Send them direct messages from time to time. Respond to their comments on your photos in a timely manner.

It's amazing for me to witness a photographer get so many likes and comments on their photos, but never respond back.

Talk about a golden opportunity wasted!

Don't ignore your people, people! Treat them like Kings and Queens because there's no reason for them to stick around and remain a follower if you're never offering anything in return.

 instagram tips

Show your personality

What I love about Instagram is that it's the perfect platform to show your personality.

Have fun!

Be quirky!

Show your human side!

The more you put out there, the more your audience will appreciate and love you - and who knows, you might meet some super fans turn clients because of what you put out.

Don't be shy to show more of what makes you different and how much you love your job.

Related: How to stand out as a unique photographer



Don’t sell

The one thing that really bugs me to no end is seeing photographers always trying to sell on Instagram.

Post after post about mini sessions, ads, spots left on their calendar, etc.

It's gets old, fast. (and need I say boring?!)

Don't think of Instagram as a platform to sell (there are much more effective ways to market your business), think of it as your brand's magazine.

A magazine is a place to be inspired, learn new ideas, flip through and enjoy while sipping on your morning java. It's NOT a sales catalog full of what's for sale and at what price.

Yes, there are ads sprinkled in throughout a magazine, but it's done very sparingly. The main focus is on providing value and inspiration, leaving your reader a little more informed about what you're about than they were before picking up that magazine.

So next time you post, think to yourself: "what part of this photo and message belongs in my magazine?"

Soon enough it will all fall together and you'll have a page full of beautiful inspiration and ideas to connect with your audience!


Add value to your business

Instagram should be used as a fun tool to help you add value to your business.

You can accomplish this in many ways.

Sharing your best tips for potential clients on how to prep for a session, answering the questions you get the most, showing behind the scenes on what a session looks like with you, and so on.

Sharing what you ate for lunch doesn't add value.

Or that you took your dog to get groomed.

But, showing what you can eat before a session to help you not look puffy or bloated - that can add value.

Sharing grooming tips for dogs before their photo session - that can add value.

So before you share ANYTHING on Instagram, think of how you can add value to it and make it an asset for your business.

It will be more intentional and your audience will gain something from it. Win-win!

Bonus tip: Create a stunning feed!

When someone looks at your profile for the first time, are they awestruck or do the turn up their nose and quickly close out?

One of the best ways to utilize your profile is to create a stunning feed!

You can achieve this a few ways:

1. Only share your best work

Thinking of your grid as your online magazine, you'll only want to share the best of the best.

Just because you're a photographer doesn't mean you have to share several images from each client session - make it more about what you want to share.

2. Make it look cohesive

Mix your photos to have them create a lovely grid.

I personally mix up my detail shots & photos that are further away - alternating with each post.

I also alternate colors as well.

As you can see below, I don't like greens, darks, and whites to follow each other - rather, I alternate them to create a more pleasing looking grid.

cohesive instagram feed

It also helps to use the same editing style throughout your work - especially on Instagram.

If your editing is all over the place, then it can make your work look like a jumbled mess. And that's the last thing you want!

If you need help deciding on a concrete editing style, check out our complete line of Lightroom presets.

Click here to choose your perfect look!

Instagram doesn't have to be complex or daunting, but a fun way to add some flare to your business.

Read next: 15 Marketing ideas for photographers

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