For amateur and professional photographers alike, it can sometimes be difficult to obtain the necessary exposure required to develop a quality and, most importantly, reputable portfolio. On spec portfolios may serve effective when you are just starting out, but what options are available to you once you are ready to take that next step from beginner to intermediate? You may have a number of contracts from which to display your work, but they can all too often be narrow in scope.
Instagram for photographers – amateurs and professionals
To counter the natural specialization of the photography field, you can conduct a guerrilla portfolio by using the social media website Instagram. A potential boon to photographers everywhere, a carefully curated Instagram page can provide potential employers with not only a diverse portfolio displaying the breadth of your ability but your marketability as well through the tracking of likes, reposts, and follows. Of course, this only helps if you know how to properly display your portfolio to employers.
Best Foot Forward: choose the right Conent
Because Instagram offers nearly limitless storage space, it can be tempting to simply post every picture you take on it. This is a trap. Avoid it. If you are using your Instagram account as a “professional” portfolio, then you should only display work that you would include in a professional portfolio of another medium. Considering that this approach is most highly recommended for beginner and intermediate photographers, there is no reason to give potential employers any reason to doubt your capability or quality of work. Posting drunken photos onto your professional portfolio simply undercuts the impression you are trying to give to potential employers, which is that you are a professional.
Niches on Instagram can Find Favor
This depends on the purpose of you Instagram portfolio. If you are simply trying to display your general capabilities, then you might not follow this step/ However, if you have been around long enough to find a subject to which you are drawn and display a knack for shooting, then this might be your better route. Keep in mind, an Instagram portfolio is more to assist in finding employment than generating social media cache—though the latter can aid the former. If you are at a point where you just want steady professional gigs, niches can help you find them. However, if you have not yet found a specialty which excites you, then you may want to skip this step.
Tools of the Trade – perfect Pics for Instagram
You may have developed an interest with photography by taking shots on your smartphone and smartphone photographic technology continues to develop at an accelerated rate, but your smartphone will never truly keep up with the capabilities of dedicated photographic hardware. If you are trying to present a professional image, this is a must.
Whether you prefer the ease and versatility of a digital or the supreme customization of an analogue camera, only post photos to your portfolio that was shot with professional equipment. Of course, it is far easier to convert digital photos to file formats, so that should probably be the type of equipment you use if going this route.
Edit, Edit, Edit – show your photographer character
Often times, taking an excellent photograph is only half of the battle. There are few photographs which cannot be improved by effective editing. In fact, the difference between a good photographer or photograph and a great one is often the amount and quality of editing going into the photograph’s production. Aside from the effect this has on the quality of the photograph, it also provides a variety of character evaluations to potential employers. First, this process informs the employers that you are capable of using the editing software. Second, this demonstrates your professionalism and sincerity.
Engaging with the Audience of your Instagram Follower
This is arguably the most important step when creating a portfolio on Instagram. Keep in mind, the point of your work is to engage with an audience. Any employer that would hire you as a photographer would do so with the intention that your work will inspire their target audience in some way. Whether your images are for a product or service advertisement, a corporate training packet, or any other number of projects, your images must engage with the audience.
As a double-edged sword, Instagram can actually offer that kind of telemetrics in real time. Unfortunately, this does not always translate as well as one might hope. Essentially, employers are often ravenous for quantifiable metrics by which to judge something by but are just as a regularly unaware of what those numbers actually mean.
Fortunately, there are numerous tricks to ensure that the portfolio practically scream legitimate engagement. For instance, by adding captions which provides the audience a question, you can force an inherent engagement that is implied—even if the audience does not directly respond. Hashtags—especially if adopted by the audience—provide an excellent indicator of engagement. Of course, there is no better way to demonstrate engagement than by directing communicating with followers and cultivating ongoing relationships with them centered around your work.
The more you can get your audience to talk about your work, the more you can present this to potential employers as legitimate engagement. Still, you should be cautioned against assuming that people who follow your Instagram profile are automatically engaged. One thousand followers that are consistently engaged with your work are far more telling than five thousand lurkers who never comment or respond.