As the home for photographers worldwide to showcase their work at its best, Format is well versed in creative portfolios and building a strong presence online. In this guest post, the Format Team presents four simple steps towards success in presenting your photography and expanding your network.
Creating a strong online presence is key for any photographer looking to take their career to the next level—no matter if you’re focused on fashion shoots, photojournalism, weddings, or any other form of photography. At Format, as a website platform designed for creatives, we look at the work of tons of photographers every day. We’ve given a lot of thought to how photographers can use the internet to get more clients and advance their careers. These four tips are simple steps that you can follow right now to develop your online presence as a professional photographer.
1. Make an impact with your website.
If you don’t already have a website for your photography, now’s the time to make one. Every serious photographer needs a place to showcase their work online. Whether you use a website builder or make your own site from scratch, a well-designed online portfolio is essential for getting your work seen.
If you already have a photography website, take some time to review the homepage and image galleries on it and consider if you’re making the most impact with your curation. A cluttered portfolio with hundreds of photos can be overwhelming for viewers. An out-of-date portfolio that only includes work from a few years back won’t show your photography in the best light. Make sure your strongest work is the most prominent feature of your website. There are lots of useful resources online that offer guidelines on curating your photography portfolio and creating a website that shows your work at its best.
2. Build your network.
Collaboration is a key part of any photographer’s career, whether it’s shooting an assignment for photo editors, teaming up with stylists and models, or working with clients to photograph their wedding day. Having a strong online network can help you find more and better photography gigs. Networking online can be as simple as engaging with the work other photographers and publications post on Instagram. You might also consider joining local Facebook groups for photography.
To get started, you may find it easiest to focus your networking efforts on just one platform. Choose one that’s most relevant to the type of photography you do. For example, Instagram is a useful platform for those working in fashion, advertising, and other creative industries. Twitter is a helpful resource for connecting with journalists and editors, while Facebook can be a good place to turn if you’re a wedding or portrait photographers looking for local clients.
3. Get your work seen.
Once you’ve created a solid online portfolio, reaching out to publications and brands is the next step in getting your photography out there. Make a list of places you’d want your photography to be featured, and contact them. Many emerging photographers don’t think to cold-email editors, but the worst that will happen is that they won’t respond to your email.
Keep it simple: be brief and polite, and be sure to include a clear message that explains who you are and why you’re getting in touch.
Lots of online magazines will have submission guidelines you can refer to when getting in touch. Be sure to read these and follow them when you’re contacting editors. Another option is always to reach out on social media. At Format Magazine, we’ve worked with lots of people who have contacted us via Instagram DM. We also get lots of emails submitting photography projects, which we frequently publish on the magazine. It never hurts to ask if someone is accepting work or looking for photographers.
4. Make the most out of social media.
Instagram can be a useful complement to your website, functioning as a low-effort blog where you share updates and behind-the-scenes looks at your photography work. Posting frequently on Instagram can help keep you in the sights of potential collaborators and clients, and can also be a powerful motivator to push you to make new work even when you don’t have big projects on the go. You don’t need to share a new image every day, but posting at least a few times a week can go a long way towards increasing your online presence.
No one wants to be that person with a hundred hashtags on every post, but consider taking a look at the hashtags your favorite publications use. This can be a simple way to get your work featured on feeds with a lot of followers, giving you a quick exposure boost without much extra effort. At Format Magazine, we’ve found countless talented photographers by searching our #useformat hashtag. It’s a quick and easy way to get on the radar of people you’d like to work with.
These quick tips should help you get started on developing your online presence as a photographer, and getting your work seen by more people. Ultimately, the key to establishing yourself online is taking the time to not only curate your best work for inclusion on your website and social media accounts, but also being sure to post regularly and connect with others in the photography community.
This post was written in partnership with Format, the online portfolio platform designed especially for creatives. For a chance to win a one-year Unlimited subscription, keep an eye out for our upcoming Mission here.