Hello, JPEGmini friends! My name is Dan Morris and I’m a wedding photographer originally from Wales now living in England. I’ve been finding Instagram so helpful recently so I wanted to give a little insight into how I use it and how it has helped me book more weddings.
I first started using Instagram around three years ago. I was probably like most people, posting random pictures taken with my phone and using one of the filters available via the app.
Looking back the photos certainly wouldn’t appeal to anyone apart from possibly close friends. It could be anything from a trip to the gym or what coffee I was drinking to a night out with friends.
Around eighteen months ago I posted a photo of a famous band in the U.K. called the Kaiser Chiefs that I took at Cheltenham Racecourse. I used a couple of hashtags one being the location #cheltenhamracecourse. Later that day I had received a message via my Facebook page from a lady that had seen my image after searching for the #hashtag #cheltenhamracecourse, coincidentally she was also looking for a photographer for her wedding. It was this point that I realised the potential Instagram offered.
I did some research. Looking at Instagram accounts with a lot of followers I soon realised why I didn’t have many followers myself, there was no structure to my feed whatsoever. These accounts with thousands of followers all had one thing in common, clean, interesting and consistent imagery. It was time for a little rethink.
I started with the consistency of keeping the photos resized the same on the grid. Keeping the strategy of wedding work, behind the scenes and my dog Sid. Only showing my best or favourite work and how I like to shoot weddings. Also a little bit of behind the scenes, I’m not saying hire a photographer to photograph you, though if you’re ever using a second shooter ask him/her to capture a few of you at work. I found these photos always helped me pick up likes and new followers. Last but not least my dog Sid the Miniature Dachshund. Again I’m not saying go and buy a puppy or a kitten, though showing these kinds of photos shows a different side to you which people can relate to.
Another tip that I try to incorporate when I post is my personality mainly through the text that I write with the image. I want people to know me the person behind the lens. For me, weddings are fun and colourful so I want the photo and the text to show this to those who follow me and anyone landing on my page. I also put a link to my latest blog post in my Instagram profile bio, when I change it to the next I’ll mention that when I post a photo.
Now with a growing number of followers, I’ll try and post around four to five times a week. Timing is pretty important as to when I post my images and there’s a great app called Iconosquare which is very useful. You can see your most popular photos, follower growth charts, where your followers are from and the. Eat time to post your images. I still aim for lunchtime during the week as my main target market is the U.K. Lunchtime is a popular time for people checking their Instagram feeds and Iconosquare has told me that’s when I see the greatest level of activity.
Instagram allows you to use up to thirty hashtags and I suggest using them. If you’re a wedding photographer like me, try including the venue you shot at and the local area. I have now booked sixteen weddings, with two being destination weddings, twenty-six enquiries and numerous wedding venues now recommending me for future weddings. I’ll tend to hashtag the equipment used along with tagging the vendors that I worked with during the day. Again through this, I’ve had people share my images which in turn usually brings new followers to my account.
As in everyday life to receive love, you have to give love. If people start following me or make the effort to comment on one of my photos or even send a private message asking questions I will always try my best to reply and give a like back at photos I enjoy. This way people will always give your photos more consideration in the future.
Instagram stories are now the perfect way to show people the real you. How you live your life. An insight to your work behind the scenes and a view of the venue or location that you’re working at. Not forgetting Sid of course.
I feel that I have to touch on the business feature on Instagram. I did switch to a business account and soon found that the number of people liking my photos had started to go down slightly. Possibly my work was getting poor? I’d like to think not though I did switch back and I think the damage had then been done. It will be interesting to see how this prevails in the future now Facebook own Instagram. Anyway, for me, it’s still my favourite form of social media and certainly the one I spend most of my time on.
A social media platform that is built for showing photographs has to be a must for a professional photographer. I will now always send a link to my Instagram if I receive a wedding enquiry. Currently, on 14,300 followers, future clients usually comment on me having a decent following and that can sometimes sway a final decision in your favour. Keep up the good work and hopefully, I’ll see you on Instagram soon.