If you’re an amateur or professional photographer you’re probably already sharing your work via social media, but perhaps you’re struggling to get your images noticed on Instagram - which is somewhat ironic given that it’s essentially a photo sharing social networking app.
Our ‘Using Hashtags on Instagram: An MMW Guide’ covers all the basics about using hashtags effectively to promote a business or blog, however in this post I’m going to focus specifically on how photographers should use hashtags and featured accounts to increase their exposure on Instagram.
The use of hashtags is fundamental if you’re an amateur or professional photographer and you want to get your photos noticed on Instagram, however simply adding #photography or #photographer to your images is not sufficient and you’ll need to work a little harder if you want your photos to be seen.
As of 08 December there are 59,154,336 posts on Instagram using #photography and 37,145,152 using #photographer so if you’re relying solely on these two hashtags it is likely that your images will get lost in the pool of millions of other photos with these hashtags.
You can add up to 30 hashtags on each photo you upload to Instagram and our recommendation would be to use them all, but just make sure that they’re specific to the image that you’re sharing and that they relate to your the type of photography that you specialise in.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer you could use the following hashtags:
#weddingphotography #weddingphotographer #wedding #weddingflowers #weddinghair #weddinginspiration #weddingdecor #weddingphotos #bride #brideandgroom #groom #bridesmaid #weddingideas #weddingshoes #vintagewedding #luxurywedding #weddingreception #weddingceremony #weddingexit #destinationweddings #weddingbouquet #happilyeverafter #weddingrings #weddingdress #weddingplanner #herecomesthebride #bridalparty #weddingcake #weddingphotographyinspiration #bestdayever
You should also hashtag your location as this will help people within your area to find you on Instagram. For example if you’re a wedding photographer based in Somerset you could add the following hashtags:
#somersetweddingphotographer #somersetweddingphotographers #somersetweddingphotography #bathweddingphotographer #bathweddingphotographers #bathweddingphotography #bristolweddingphotographer #bristolweddingphotographers #bristolweddingphotography
Please also check the ‘wedding’ list in our ‘featured accounts’ section below as this will give you even more ideas of hashtags/tags to use on your photos.
Remember to follow and tag (using @) the venue, the wedding planner, the catering company, the cake supplier, the hairdresser, the makeup artist, the band or DJ, the wedding dress shop, the florist etc where appropriate.
Finally, don’t forget to ask the Bride and Groom if they’re using a specific hashtag for their wedding photos. (I love this idea and I wish I’d asked our guests to use #MrandMrsMahmoud when we celebrated our wedding!)
Featured Accounts (Hubs)
A growing trend on Instagram is to tag a ‘featured account’ or use a specific hashtag which they’ve created and then there’s a possibility that your photo could be featured on their page. A ‘featured account’ (sometimes referred to as a ‘hub’) is basically an account with a large following and rather than posting their own images they repost / regram other Instagram users photos and they credit the photographer by tagging them in the caption.
I follow an Instagram account called My.Egypt and they encourage their 83.2k followers to add #MyEgypt to their images. I try to use this hashtag on all the photos I take when I’m in Egypt and My.Egypt has reposted a few of my photos on their page. Last year they shared this sunset photograph which received a massive 2013 likes when they reposted it, compared to just 76 when I originally uploaded it. They credited me as the photographer and tagged me in the caption, and subsequently I gained approximately 30 new followers.
Blogger Annie Bishop has researched some of the most popular Instagram featured accounts in a range of photography categories. Her blog ‘101 Instagram accounts that feature photography’ was originally published on brianventh.com back in April.
(Brian Venth is a photographer and YouTuber with a huge following on social media and a great website – he’s definitely someone worth following if you’re a photographer, model, make-up artist, designer, artist or stylist and you want tips and advice about growing your social following).
I recommend that you take a look at the featured accounts in Annie’s blog and decide which ones are suitable for your photos. Then when you upload your image use their hashtag or tag them and hopefully you’ll get noticed by that account. Annie’s list is a great place to start whilst researching your own featured accounts – there are literally thousands of accounts you could use.
We suggest that you experiment to see which hashtags/tags are most effective and keep rotating through the list to see which ones bring you the most engagement and attract your target audience.
Finally, here are my top ten tips to help you get noticed on Instagram:
- Ensure your profile is set to ‘public’ (kind of obvious really!)
- Create a stunning feed with your best photos
- Add a bio with a URL link to your website
- Always add a caption to your photos
- Always use appropriate hashtags
- Interact with other Instagram users – like and comment on their photos
- Reply to comments that people leave on your photos
- Follow ‘featured accounts’ and use their hashtags on appropriate photos
- Check your account every day and upload at least one photo per day
- Add a link to your Instagram feed on your website and email signature
I hope that you’ve found this post helpful, however if you would like some Instagram training via Skype or if you’d like to consult us on the best way to manage the Instagram account for your photography business, please get in touch – we’d love to help.
You can follow Manage My Website's Instagram feed here.