Social Media Engagement and Influence for Photographers

More musings to share about marketing for photographers as I write more chapters of the book Marketing for Photographers (a work in progress).

“Social Media marketing is all about engagement”

You’ll hear these words over and over until you’re blue in the face. It’s obvious isn’t it? The clue is in the phrase “SOCIAL media”. Many articles are written on the subject as if it’s a revelation, without really giving any practical advice on how to become more engaged online, or how to find out what content attracts the most engagement from others.

To start with, before I get all conversational and start telling stories, here’s a brief list of useful tips. Some of these you have probably read somewhere, and hopefully, some new ideas. They form sound, practical advice, and if nothing else, will act as a reminder for those who are already ahead in the social media engagement arena.

Preparing for Brighton Pride

Preparing for Brighton Pride – click to purchase image

  1. Pick vibrant and relevant communities to join on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn and contribute your own material as well as joining in the conversations posted by others in the group.
  2. Stay focused on your niche or profession, people will want to follow and engage with you because you are an expert in a particular area.
  3. Monitor your brand or your name; there are various tools that will do this for you. If someone mentions you, try and respond.
  4. Regularly respond to comments on your own pages, you don’t have to be tied to your computer, just drop by and respond when you can.
  5. If someone comments on your work or shares your work then thank them regularly. This can be tricky if you get popular.
    Depending on how many followers you have, you may not be able to do this for every share or comment. Even a quick like of a Google+ or Facebook comment is better than nothing, it acknowledges the people who respond to your work. (I know there are many people who regularly like and comment on my work and don’t get a response, I’m sorry, I’m working on it, sometimes I make a mental note of the regulars and give them an occasional personal thank you in the comments)
  6. Ask lots of questions when you are sharing your own content and when you find interesting content or comments from others.
  7. Do seek out the influencers that inspire you and try and strike up conversations. You can do this by saying something thoughtful on their posts or asking them intelligent questions.

A great way to get someone’s attention is to read all you can about them, find out what makes them tick, then write your own spin on the subject inviting them to comment or asking them for a quote before you publish. The more you find out the better, remember you are trying to establish real relationships, the more you have in common the better, the more personal your approach the better. We are not talking bunny boiler here, but if someone has just posted about an amazing holiday, you could bring that into the conversation. If they have a grievance about something that you share, it can provide a good way to connect.

You can connect with me on Google+ Facebook Instagram Twitter Flickr and LinkedIn


Story from Marketeer Extraordinaire Dave Trott

Here’s a story that I love. I heard it from creative marketer Dave Trott famous for many memorable TV ad campaigns over the last few decades. My older UK friends might remember  “‘Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba?” or “Ariston and on and on” or “Lipsmackin’ thirstquenchin’ acetastin’ motivatin’ goodbuzzin’ cooltalkin’ highwalkin’ fastlivin’ evergivin’ coolfizzin’ Pepsi”. Younger readers might wonder what the hell I’m on about. Anyway here is one of the stories he told when I heard him speak. It has stuck in my mind and at the time I thought about how relevant it was to social and digital marketing today.

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Branding for Photographers

The word “Brand” will mean many different things to many people. Some will think about logos, stationary and colours. Some will think about mission statements, style, public relations and public perception. Most will think about business and corporations like Nike and Coke.

The brilliant thing about the web now is some of the strongest brands are now people themselves. Using nothing more than your website, content and the social web, it is not just possible to become a brand, to be successful it’s essential to become a brand.

It’s important for search optimisation.  How you present yourself, what you write about, whom you talk to and who talks to you are factors that are becoming increasingly important in search.

As people spend increasing amounts of time online in communities and on social networks these are the places you will want to make your mark.

With all the new and exciting possibilities for presenting yourself online, how you present yourself on your website and blog, and all social platforms, will be key to your success. The opportunities for sharing images are not only infinite for you, they are infinite for anyone with the means to take a picture.  Your problem is how to stand out from the masses.

You are your brand

Big companies and organisations are struggling to find ways to engage with their audience, customers and potential customers. They have to find a way to humanise and personify their brand so that people will identify and engage with them. I believe that photographers have an advantage. You are a real person, someone that others can relate to, you ARE your brand. Your images are perfect for getting an emotional response. Images are much more powerful than words online and if you are a good photographer you should have these in abundance.


Brighton fringe

Try and publish the types of photographs that your audience likes on a regular basis. I’m best known for my street photography, especially events and for taking images from unusual angles

Anyone can develop an online brand if they are original, interesting and set aside time to engage with their online followers. I know many photographers say they just don’t have time to keep checking and updating profiles. I too would much rather spend my time out shooting images and talking to people rather than typing on a keyboard. Some may even be able to afford not to do it; they may have already found fame, established enough relationships in the industry to sustain an income. Sadly for most, that is not the case, the good news is that you can create your own buzz, gather your own following and use online and social trends to transcend your business using nothing more than imagination and time.

Of course learning what works and what doesn’t is essential if you don’t want to just tweet away your precious time, but by research and trial and error you can concentrate on maximising the return for your efforts.

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Will artificial intelligence supersede human intelligence by 2045?

As humans we are very good at solving one problem to create another, we get so excited by a possibility that we blind ourselves to any possible negative outcomes.

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us”

Often attributed to Marshall McLuhan but actually written by his friend Father John Culkin Professor of Communication at Fordham University in New York

Technology is now being developed to be seamlessly integrated into our bodies, to boost our biological intelligence, and our lifespan. Nanobots, microscopic robots the size of red blood cells with molecular circuitry, will be injected into our veins curing or preventing disease, manipulating the chemical producing parts of our bodies and prolonging our lives dramatically.

We humans have a strange relationship with death. Why do we assume that longer is better?

It’s because we have ego (therefore fear our own death), and that we feel love (we form connections with others that we cannot bear to break). It’s our humanity that makes us develop tools to prolong life, it’s not logical or practical, a computer algorithm could probably tell you that. Longer living brings it’s own problems; we already have problems because medicine forces our bodies to go on much longer than they are designed to do. We live longer but we suffer more, we are biological, we have a shelf life. Although we dream of immortality, Vampires, Dorian Grey, Zobies – are you getting the theme here? Somehow we know that living too long is not a great thing, yet we still strive for it.

The scientists tell us that artificial intelligence will supersede human intelligence by 2045. If you think that is far fetched, consider that in the 90’s a few people had basic brick like mobiles with no internet connectivity at all. The World Wide Web is only 25 years old (the Internet is 45 years old but was not mainstream until later).  Google was only incorporated on September 4, 1998 when it was based in the garage of a friend.

They claim that the speed with which the new machines acquire and process information will be so fast and complex that they will be able to solve everything, a self teaching and improving machine. Some are working towards creating robots with human consciousness, however human consciousness is affected by the unique complex social problems that humans have. Are they trying to create perfect humans? Are not our imperfections what makes us human, and what makes us US?

Burning the Clocks Brighton 2014

This is an image of Rosaria Garcia, she is pregnant here, though you’d never know it! I took the image using my human intelligence to create an image that pleased me, that captured her energy, the colour and excitement of the moment at the Burning of the Clocks in Brighton. No artificial intelligence can recreate what I the photographer or Rosaria the performer has, or what we do for pleasure and love.

One question I have is  – Why is human intelligence is being measured by speed and processing power. For me it isn’t simply processing power that makes us intelligent, and it definitely does not make us creative. The ability to process information (find and calculate) and the ability to evaluate and use information are two entirely different things.

What makes us human is the fact that we are all different, that biology and our past and present environment shapes us. Serendipity begets creativity. What makes us human is that we make mistakes; we all approach things in a different ways and our brains make random connections allowing us to be creative rather than simply productive. We have a consciousness that is uniquely human. We dream and we believe.

Some scientists and technologists claim that the new processors in development now will lead to an end to pollution, war and poverty. They have given it a name ‘singularity’.

Have they learned nothing? It is money and power that creates war and poverty, not a lack of technology. Sadly, though, this too is part of what makes us human.

On the other hand, what of kindness, compassion and generosity? A machine is incapable of feeling.

When the Internet became mainstream, they claimed it would open up global communication to the world, it did. They also claimed it would bring peace and the greatest minds in the world could share their genius. Rural communities would no longer be cut off; there would be online shopping and online learning. The world was getting smaller they called it the “Global Village” what grew was no village, it is a metropolis, more like Sin City. It disseminated many real communities, it changed the high street forever.

The Internet was supposed to give us what we wanted, personalised search, social spaces where we choose who connects with us and who to connect to, enabling us to connect virtually to almost anyone.

Our hunger and need for communication, (and it is a basic need, children who grow up without human contact have problems), has lead to a communication obsession, some even addicted to constant connecting. It has also lead to an information glut, most of it poor quality, if I see another 10 top tips I think I’ll die!

It was supposed to be like swimming in paradise, so why are we all wading though shit? Because power and money can be obtained by using these tools, so our inboxes are filled with spam, we are advertised at throughout our online experiences. Google is the window to the world now. Ways to manipulate the results has always been a big industry. SEO and content marketing became all about creating the most content and links possible, pointless activities that clutter up the online lives of the average person.

The Internet is also used to terrorise people (look at ISIS), it serves as a platform not only to feed our innate need to communicate, but also for all that is wicked in the world. It enables paedophiles to share explicit and harmful content. It encourages and supports mob mentality, trolling and online bullying, cyber crime, online scams and fraud.

All technologies including the Internet are not separate from us, they are the tools we have created to be extensions of ourselves. The Internet was our creation, we inhabit it, it reflects everything that is good and bad about the human race, it is a mirror. We think of the Internet as being out there, separate from us in the ether, it’s not out there, it’s right here. We are its creators.

What is there in our history to even suggest that technology leads to world peace and an end to the economic divide? What are the chances that the new faster smarter technology will be used to obtain power and money, to increase conflict rather than decrease it?

What makes us think that we will not create robots that have our same faults?

Of course the Internet enables people to connect in meaningful ways, locally and globally. Loved ones can stay connected. It is a space for creativity and sharing, it does provide many opportunities for individuals and small businesses, it provides some with a voice. It’s great for people with disabilities. People do share knowledge. The Internet is the perfect place to drum up support for a cause. Look at crowd funding; charities and good causes are having a heyday with new forms of funding opportunities online. I’d go as far as to say that because of the over commercialisation of the web, turning everyone off, anything that appeals to our human qualities (compassion, empathy, ego) is going to do well online. Businesses who tap into this are the ones who will win.

That’s why there is a new wave of digital marketers who reject the old digital marketing paradigm of more is better, and focus first and foremost on creating content that is of the human kind, content that tells stories of real people, solves real problems or answers real questions. Creative content rules now, and that is a good thing, even if it takes a while for many to catch on. Big businesses are now investing in it because it encourages loyalty and trust – human emotions.

Maybe we are realising that we don’t like the way the technology we have shaped is shaping us.


Photography, the Internet, Writing, Social Media and Me

Life was simpler before the Internet. Exchanges made and relationships built depended on whom you met, phoned or wrote to. Research was done in a library, travelling, talking and experimenting. You bought in shops or catalogues.

Photographers marketed themselves in print, the yellow pages, and word of mouth. Photo libraries consisted of slides and negatives. There were fewer photographers then.

The affordable digital SLR changed everything. Semi Pro’s rose up and outnumbered the elite. The digital image is now reproducible, cheap and in abundance. The problem that faces photographers is how to get noticed; the problem for image buyers is finding the greatest images in a disorganised and growing mass of choices. There is still ‘an elite’; it’s just even harder to become one amidst all the noise.

Of course price matters, to both the buyer and the seller. Well established photographers, who’s names are well known, can still command a good commission for a job. If your name is big enough, you are a recognised artist; you can command a high price for your artwork. Unless you are famous though, nobody is going to pay a high price for your work if they can get it elsewhere for much less. There are many photographers for whom publication itself is reward enough.

Eric Kessels 24 hours of photos

Eric Kessels’ installation at 2013 Rencontres d’Arles photo festival. 24HRS of Photos. A room drowning in photographs. The cascade of 35mm prints is representative of all the photos uploaded to social media sites during 24 hours

News and documentary photographers have probably been hardest hit by the digital transition.  It’s about being in the right place at the right time, getting a shot that will convey emotion as well as recording an event. The technical quality of the image and the experience of the photographer however has become less relevant, and the strongest images can come from anyone with a mobile phone, it’s not necessarily about talent or experience, sometimes it’s luck. Those who have dedicated their lives to seeing and catching the perfect frame that encapsulates an emotion or the environment are loosing their revenue to the lucky shot brigade.

Mobile photography is becoming an industry in itself. Not only that, but because people are taking billions of images and seeing so many (a video on YouTube suggests there are 348 524 706 340 and these figures are already over a year old) people who are becoming better photographers. Photography has reached the masses and people are devouring it.

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Google Plus and Photography – Chasing your themes

Some people don’t get on with Google+. They don’t see the point of it and find it harder to engage with people than when using Facebook or Twitter.

Google+ is more about communities than friends, there are many strong communities and very influential individuals that you could use to your advantage in marketing.

The trick with google+ is to post only your very best images on a regular basis and share them with communities that have an interest in your style of work. Finally, try and make some influential connections, so when you have something important to say you are more likely to get your message spread quickly.

Of course it is a global audience, if your business is local only it may be of less interest. Even so, if you have a photography business listed in Google Local (formerly Google Places) and it is associated with a strong Google+ profile, you will be much more visible in the search engine results.

I find Google + the easiest social network to use as a photographer. It’s not perfect, organising your photos could be a lot simpler, but the look and feel of the interface is far smoother and less cluttered than Facebook. It’s a magnet for photographers of all levels from around the world.

It’s no coincidence that Photographers Trey Ratcliff, Thomas Hanks and Tom Anderson hold positions 6, 7, and 8 of the most followed people on Google+ .

I know technically Tom Anderson is best known as the founder of MySpace but  photography is now his passion – look at his profile to see. If you haven’t already got a Google Plus account it’s daunting to begin with,  you have Trey with just under 5 million followers to compete with!

Of course it’s doubtful that anyone starting now will be able to compete with the universal follower magnets, but there is a space somewhere in the middle, for us mere mortals to build an audience for our work. I’d like to share with you a simple way to speed up the process to find friends and influence people 🙂

Museum Rome, Italy

Posted up today for themes #WomenWednesday, #hqspmonochrome, #hqspnonnaturephotos , #allthingsmonochrome , #streetphotography and #rawstreetphotography

I’ve watched people successfully gain influence and gather followers using circle sharing, competitions, themes and hashtags.

Here I’m going to focus on themes. Themes often have the added bonus that the curators (very influential people) will choose their favourites and reshare the images on the theme page itself, then you attract many more followers interested in your work. Also, as you are connecting to the groups who share your interests as a photographer, you will probably find that the quality of the comments you receive will improve.

The Hub of a theme is usually a Google+ Page or a Community.  To post photographs to most themes you need to tag an image with:

  1. A link to The Google+ Theme Page or Community
  2. The curators of the Theme
  3. The Theme hashtag
*NOTE: Remember to put all of the pages and curators into your circles – I have a circle called Themes and a circle called curators to keep them tidy.

There is a brilliant resource available that lists most of the popular themes and provides you with statistics, information and cut and paste code for your posts including all the essential tags and links.

I have used some of my favourite themes as examples but I suggest you make your own list using the themes listed on the resource I have linked to above.

The really annoying thing on Google+ is that when you cut and paste these tags from one Google+ post to another the links all disappear.  However if you cut and paste the Google+ unique ID number for each page or person, and paste it into a post, the link will be created.

That is why the theme listing site above is so useful, and why creating your own popular cut and paste tags according to your photographic style will save your hours in the long run.

*NOTE: Remember do not cut and paste from one post to another in Google+ as all of your people and page tags will disappear. Cut and paste from your own list like the one I have made below.

If you really want to build your follower numbers up fast, consider putting yourself forward as a curator. I imagine it is quite time consuming, which is why I haven’t done it myself, however I’m sure it’s a great way to get followers. The resource link I provided above gives details of theme pages that are looking for curators.

Here’s the list, and if you want more top tips and you like my images you can circle me here.

Daily Google+ Themes

One sure way to attract attention is to post your very best images regularly. The daily themes are a good way to keep a steady flow of images appearing on your page. They are popular so you can pick up quite a few views using the hashtag.

Monday Themes

Monochorome Monday
For +100721197069868019681 curated by +117470753717431753548 +110041558267751969861 +116985892549750076024 +102171842495058318978 +107343380917808930971 +100730482429607730997 #MonochromeMonday

Shoes Monday
For +103408014527622914546 curated by +106132563999059898886 +104361409217313730040 #ShoesMonday

Leading Lines Monday
For +106738248584813417297 curated by +108127039931400009413 +104355888553035365377 +108092188319505624535 +114830458019096176470 +113111857754202208081 +100784425740559013107 #leadinglinesmonday


Tuesday Themes

My Town Tuesday
For +100503825046812729376 curated by +114127684466692817416 +116042504805817667580 #mytowntuesday

Portrait Tuesday
For +110121585149280412897 curated by +100081010984768669358 +116678377243407600427 #PortraitTuesday

Cuban Woman in Paris

One for #PortraitTuesday

Transport Tuesday
For +108674867211728423383 curated by +111112809838472063992 +113635217936692280136 +108258998494605140446 +116843025732061565320 #TransportTuesday


Wednesday Themes

Wide Angle Wednesday
For +113413820629101434595 curated by +107916932044263516432 #WideAngleWednesday

Weather Wednesday
For +112404978094795040756 curated by +111940817266286694912 #WeatherWednesday

Wet Wednesday
For +105837174297260653678 curated by +104100048721044197927 #WetWednesday


Thursday Themes

Urban Thursday
For +100677528159245643709 curated by +105477838837461147904 #urbanthursday

Coastal Thursday
For +111400732361417799841 curated by +102444210972227492079 +101810868794261263831 #CoastalThursday

In Motion Thursday
For +106417709946558982641 curated by +103776299476527190352 #InMotionThursdays


Friday themes

Feet Friday
For +108574845125888832419 curated by +107926371512942521555 #FeetFriday

Colours on Friday
For +101895570915665777018 curated by +110027747567778716234 +101697458106330852210 #ColorsOnFriday

Fido Friday
For +111700522129731539879 curated by +105852782594022510198 +104962347070667053810 +100275369366064591159 +114839663135720829360 #FidoFriday


Saturday themes

For +109065685588567617650 curated by +109134942366253016489 #SilhouetteSaturday

Street Life Saturdays
 For +106162924928341362126 curated by +101006001190131292549

Sunday themes

My City Sunday
For +110904442002274084798 curated by +116905863525318361853 +111029390442511467115 MyCitySunday

For +108038105692242016215 curated by +108838388628190977623 +112941758576332332211 #ShadowsOnSunday


Black and White Themes

I love Monochrome, these themes are really popular on Google+

10000 Photographers BW Monochrome
For +118354348104191320538 curated by +117000139571713536948 +105549797352796189905 #10000photographersBWmonochrome

All Things Monochrome
For +104488912244914098950 curated by +103236949470535942612 +102630587810059958311
+103905243558297332495, +116009988727944699627 #allthingsblackandwhite #allthingsmonochrome

HQSP Monochrome
For +104112931232906076951 curated by +111892763335178073075 +110336976038750891860 #hqspmonochrome

Monochrome Arty Club
For +100063075762256579052 curated by +108019662279165160680 +115665147773049983469 +105101694711744871391 +103197072119870191855 +102550939011914482302 #monochromeartyclub

Street Photography Themes

For +117667139809211458332  #StreetPics

For +113332593582232559763 curated by +111395336413321899601 +103729298155391133062 #streetphotography

RAW Street Photography
For +115761369087241460953 #rawstreetphotography

Urban Snap
For +114855977826297290745 curated by +103650703836816496431 +109208819976630988946 #UrbanSnap


Really Popular General Themes

Pixel World
For +111030772181610401482 curated by  +118301062646383652931 #pixelworld

For +113338852684140641535 curated by +102921966230520584004 #creativephotos

10000 Photographers around the World
For +110538600381916983600 curated by +117000139571713536948 #10000photographersaroundtheworld

HQSP Urban & Street Photos
For +102873089149603762163 curated by +101997782486428462734 +105869820195207598778 +116560541114804305108 #hqspurbanstreetphotos

100 Strangers Project
+111291841020596011976  curated by  +107213813872748015663 +117939436980939541352 +109895985415340120002 #100Strangers

HQSP Portraits
+11645570634503681853 curated by  +114654114514872937512 #hqspportraits

Other Themes I Like

Low Angle Photography
For +118304888464001365482 curated by +114441204367012264249

Magic of Light
For #MagicOfLight #themagicoflight +105228416043631582555 by +115924865466302265389 +106901350204433474063 +103745203309160971155

HQSP Landscape
For #HQSP Landscape  +100379827397924071303 by +109079753818826549254 +116160296886796853429 +111507734943250706775 +117724447617982506837 +112898717782421875814 +110441510987025503659 +112055620905339459149  +115530531530181491807 +106625389810654522392

Stunning Moment
#StunningMoment +106314743058506488325 by +101159726845862944750 +108102879464925551155

#BTPLandscapePro +116416755205215746848 +116501742697641301903 +113408942588672463601 +110473080845421674567

Photographers Guide to Pinterest

It took me a while to get used to Pinterest. As with all social networks, we discover  how we wish to interact with it and with others by playing and using. We learn by seeing what works and what doesn’t, whether our end goals are social, commercial, creative or all three.


I have an “about life” board on pinterest. I update it often. If you like the images above click the image and follow the board. Main image here by Kasia Krynska from left to right 1/ Stanley Kubrick, 2/ Stanley Kubrick, 3/ Joel Meyerowitz, 4/ Me


Whilst I’m sure there is a lot yet to learn and discover, I’m sharing with you what I consider to be the best advice. Please feel free to share any genius tips you may have tucked up your sleeves in the comments section.

Pinterest for Photographers

  1. Keep things tidy.
  2. Build your boards/categories and their titles carefully. Make sue your board title actually describes what you share on the board.
  3. Choose who you follow carefully, don’t just randomly follow the interests that Pinterest offer you when you sign up, you’ll be forever un-following the stuff you are not interested in seeing.
  4. Be on the look out for other great curators. If you like 90% of what they post then follow them or selected boards of theirs.
  5. Likewise if images that are just not your thing keep appearing in your stream, trace them back to origin and unfollow the person or board.
  6. The sooner you get your stream finely tuned, the easier and more pleasurable it becomes just scrolling through a creative feast and sharing the best morsels.
  7. Update often but not all at once!
  8. Post only the best of others
  9. Post the VERY best of your images, be selective.
  10. Establish yourself as curator extraordinaire, in the webby mess of imagery, people will love you if you have an eye for a killer image and do their sifting for them. Unlike Google, you are not a machine; it is your personality, humor and style that count.
  11. Use Pinterest as a clippings library for articles that you find really interesting as well as your own articles and create boards with well organised themes.
  12. Make sure your blog has a clearly findable Pinterest share buttons. (Unlike mine, I’m working on it but it effects other third party share widgets, annoying)
  13. Link up your other accounts to allow Pinterest to share your pins on them, you can choose which pins to share on accounts like twitter or Facebook.
  14. When your board is looking particularly good share a link to it from other networks.
  15. When you accept an invitation to post on someone’s board, think carefully, their board will appear on you page, does it really represent you?
  16. If you find a board with multiple curators that does fit  your idea of a good board than ask if you could be a curator.
  17. Use Pinterest to publicise your other social pages, pin from you blog, from Flickr, Redbubble, Instagram etc. Note that some networks do not allow pinning (tip: from flickr click ‘view all sizes’ and pin from there).
  18. Remember Pinterest is about curating and sharing. As a photographer you are your brand, if you constantly only promote your own brand (images) people will get bored.
  19. After a while you will see some of the same images doing the rounds, when you see something extraordinary on the web, then pin it, don’t just rely on repins, you want to be original. Do check that the original photographer is linked to and credited, and does not prohibit it.
  20. Don’t forget you can comment on other peoples posts, respond to comments on your  posts and you can message someone with the usual @ symbol

Capture the Colour

This Competition caught my eye – Capture the Colour. At first it seemed like hard work to enter. You have to write a blog post with your 5 colour themed entries in. You need to  nominate and link to 5 photographers whom you think might like to participate, and there has to be a link to the competition on your post. Finally you have to tweet or FB message the sponsors – travelsupermarket to let them know you have entered.

I thought about the images that sprang to mind for each colour and decided to have a go, after all it’s good to keep you blog fresh.

The process made me think about what a good example of social marketing this competition is. You do not have to mention travelsupermarket to enter, just link to their competition – it’s subtle, it’s engaging at the same time as encouraging participants to share. In terms of SEO these are good gains – lots of links, engagement and lots of shares. Note to self: will have to start working on something similar!

For those who don’t know me, I’ve been using SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing for Silicon Beach Training for well over a decade, as well as being a photographer, and soon I’m going to put all of it together in a book on marketing for photographers so keep posted. I don’t keep my photography blog up to date nearly as often as I should, but I do check my Social Media accounts regularly.


Mick, Shoreditch, London. Yellow

When I put this up on Flickr and Facebook I was surprised at how many people mentioned that they knew him or had taken his picture. His name is Mick and apparently he is quite well known around the Brick Lane area, London.

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Marketing for photography in a social revolution

Everything changes. Technology advances at lightning speed changing the way we live and communicate. The art of photography has been irrevocably changed. There are the obvious changes in the way we capture and process images, and then there are the ways in which we view and share images.

When I was a darkroom photographer, I would dodge and burn and print. The only way that I could get my images seen was to hang them on the wall or get them published in magazines. It was really hard to get noticed, to get exposure. Now I have Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and my own photography blog and website. I can get my images viewed by thousands in a very short space of time. I also have some control over how my images are indexed by the search engines, driving traffic to each of these accounts.

marketing for photographers

It’s time to look at the Photography industry in a different way

Photographers who cling onto the past, expecting to be able to earn large sums of money for one negative or slide are sadly disengaged from today’s market. Documentary and press photographers have been hard hit. Papers today can get cheap, and even free images, from members of the public for most news worthy events. It is true that the quality of images often suffers as a consequence and that many talented photographers are finding it harder and harder to make a living.

Then there is the stock image industry. Millions of people are uploading billions of images down-loadable, sometimes, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Does this mean the death of the photographic industry, not at all; it means a transformation of the industry. People can speculate about whether it’s good or bad, but that is not going to help photographers get ahead. The first online digital image sharing services, introducing the concept of micro-pricing, were developed by entrepreneurs who recognised that the boundaries between creators and users have disappeared.

The stock image game is still there to be played but it is tougher than ever before. You need some dedication, persistence and hard work to make any money out of it and even then that is often not enough.

Successful photographers need to understand and use different tools and platforms for marketing, and either sell more images for less money, or be so good at photography, social marketing and search engine optimisation that both their images and their services as a photographer get noticed.

Whilst traditional photographers may get satisfaction playing the blame game, calling the stock image industry to task about their unscrupulous licensing model. They may heave and sigh that amateurs call themselves professionals because they have bought themselves a great piece of kit and can click a shutter, but all of this is a waste of time. To survive as a photographer now means refocusing on what works right now. To get noticed as a photographer you will still need to be great at what you do to make any money out of your art. However, being good is no longer enough; you will need to learn new marketing skills, social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and content marketing.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be writing a series of articles on the subject. Sharing what I have learned from over a decade of digital marketing for Silicon Beach Training in Brighton. So keep coming back and follow me on  Facebook,  TwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and LinkedIn for more instalments.

Lomo Kev and Using Flickr for Photographers

Great night at the camera club last night. Kevin Meredith AKA Lomo Kev talked us through his impressive photography achievements from the early days of flickr to the publication of his books.  52 Photographic Projects and Hot Shots: How to Refresh Your Photos and of his upcoming publication Toy Cameras which I’m looking forward to.

Lomo Kev at Brighton Camera Club

Lomo Kev at Brighton Camera Club

Using Flickr as a platform to publicise your work is a must in the array of Social Media options for Photographers. Kevin is a shining example of someone who used Flickr to show his images, and gain world wide recognition for his unique and quirky style. Over time, people started to hire him for commissions; He has worked for Dr Martins and The Times newspaper – all because of his evident passion for photography displayed in his account on Flickr. One thing he mentioned in in talk is that it is good to create themes and sets of subjects. His interesting collection of shoe images and of course the reputation that he had built up, were key to  his Dr Martins commission for which he was sent to LA – not a bad gig. His wellie collection lead to the Times Newspaper feature, and his portrait montages have lead to fashion commissions.

Flickr’s big strength is in its communities. There are Flickr groups consisting of photo libraries and discussion forums for nearly any topic imaginable. Whether it’s a type of camera, a technique, a theme, a location, or even a color, there’s a Flickr group of fellow enthusiasts devoted to that topic.

I myself have sold work through flickr, got commissions etc. I have had enquiries from magazines, newspapers, sportswear suppliers, families the list goes on. People have found me by searching for location or subject matter, for example when I cover an event I often get enquires as my images are well tagged and will come up prominently in searches for the event name. Flickr supports a wide range of metadata. Keywords are the most obvious (Flickr calls them tags). I have been asked to exhibit through Flickr and requests often come in to use my images on the web with credits or links to my site, that’s all great for SEO (search engine optimisation).

My flickr account: Heather Buckley on Flickr

Lomo Kev’s Flickr account: Kevin Meredith on Flickr

Here are a few reasons why, as a photographer you should be maintaining a Flickr account:

  1. It is the #2 rated photography website in the U.S., UK, it holds a near 40 percent market share in the U.S. Photobucket is still the leader, – Flickr’s global presence could still be greater.
  2. Yahoo! acquired Flickr in 2005 – so it has been optimized with the Yahoo! Image Search tool.
  3. Flickr’s photos are listed in the Google, Tag your images properly and it is not too difficult to appear in on the front page of Google’s image search.
  4. Technorati, personalised and start pages, as well as various other portals, websites and blogs will pull in and display Flickr pictures through RSS feeds.
  5. All of these direct sources can be funnelled back to your website, and at least make others aware of your brand and/or product.

It’s not just photographers that can use Flickr for SEO and Publicity gains, although you need to use it creatively as it’s not supposed to be used for commercial advertising.

So if you are not already using Flickr as a photographer time to get started and if you already have an account time to seriously start tagging your work.

Silicon Beach Training run a great set of Social Media Training, SEO Training, WordPress Training and Blogging training courses.

You can see Kevin talking about photography and Social Media at Google headquarters;