THE RISE OF THE PLATFORMS
Social media has made instant gratification an everyday occurrence for users, and that has extended to the world of photography. We take a look at how social media is evolving to create great platforms for photographers to utilize to get their work notice
We take a look at how social media is evolving to create great platforms photographers can utilize to get their work noticed
Once upon a time, to share a photograph you had created with friends and family, let alone the general public, you would have to snail-mail a physical copy in an envelope, and the recipient might not receive it for up to a week. Nowadays, you can take a photo on your camera or phone, apply a filter, or carefully post-process your shot, then instantly upload it to your choice of social media for everyone to see.
The platforms available for photographers to showcase their creations are seemingly endless, and they all function in slightly different ways, but, at the end of the day, they present a way of getting your style of photography noticed by not just your friends and family — unless your privacy settings are set up like Fort Knox — but also by the wider world. Who knows what opportunities could come your way from people who’ve seen your work and loved it.
There are a number of ways in which you can utilize Facebook to share your images: on your personal page, on a business page that you create, or even in a group. If you’re after a platform on which to share your work with your friends and family, posting to your personal page would be the way to go, as you can customize your privacy settings to ensure that only people you’re friends with
on Facebook will see anything you post.
If you’re keen to get your name out there a bit more, set up a business page, as then anyone on Facebook can see your images, like them, and share them, and you’ll be able to grow a fan base that actively follows your photographic journey. There are also plenty of Facebook groups to join. Beginner photography groups let you ask questions and get advice, critique groups allow you to upload your images and ask for feedback, while general groups are for people with a passion for photography who want to network and share what they’re working on.
If these ideas sound like a bit of you, just do a bit of Facebook searching until you find the group, or groups, that suit you.
The home of photographs of your dinner and selfies — but it’s much more than that! If you’re seeking a fun way to increase your fan base, then Instagram is a great platform to explore. It involves uploading edited/ filtered images — or maybe #nofilter photos if you’d prefer — and sharing them with your followers. If you want a quick way to increase your fan base, make sure you make use of hashtags, which are an easy way for people to search for your photographs. Hashtags for New Zealand nature photographers could be something as simple as #nature or #nznature. Experiment with your hashtags and you’ll see your fan base grow steadily. You can use it in whichever manner you feel you’d like to showcase your work, whether you want to upload behind-the-scenes shots from your latest shoot, or use it as a journal of things you’ve been photographing. Maybe you want to get feedback on your latest body of work, or ideas you’ve had. If you’ve got a website you want people to visit, make sure you include it in your bio.
Pinterest is a platform that some photographers may find slightly scary, as it’s one that encourages users to ‘pin’ other people’s work to their own Pinterest boards. If you decide to use Pinterest as a social media outlet for your work, and you don’t like the idea of your images going far and wide without recognition, make sure you pop a watermark on your photos so viewers will always know where they came from. Basically, with Pinterest, you can create as many boards as you like — so perhaps a board per body of work — and then you upload your finished images to these boards, encouraging the Pinterest community of 110 million plus (2016 stats) to view, interact, and share them with their followers. You can build a following of photographers and photography lovers, and you can also create a list of people you want to follow, and interact with their images. You can also link all your images back to your website, so you can generate a decent amount of traffic to your site, and perhaps even spark business through this.
If you hope to get your images noticed, while also lining up the potential to make a bit of cash from your work, 500px may be your platform of choice. Within 500px, there is a Marketplace section on which all the uploaded images will be stored, and users can search for the type of images they like, and from there can decide whether to purchase them. Within 500px you also have a profile page on which you can upload a bit of information about yourself, house all of your uploaded images, and even direct people to your website. To use 500px, you first decide whether you want a free account or a paid membership. Depending on your needs, you may only require a free account, which allows you to upload 20 images per week, with the ability to license them through the Marketplace. The other memberships offer you a range of interesting features — check them out before you make your decision.
Flickr’s home page tells you straightaway that it is home to 13 billion photos and two million groups. If you want to integrate your work into the photography community, Flickr is definitely a fighting option to consider. It has two main focuses: as a platform that enables you to share your photographs with your chosen audience, whether that’s publicly or privately, and to provide a new way to organize your created content. You can easily search through all the content on Flickr — unless it is private — for specific people or photographs. When you find an image you like, you can see who shot it and follow them to ensure you see more of their photographs. There’s usually camera information on what settings were used when creating the image, and you can comment and provide feedback on the image. It’s a great interactive and engaging photo community.
The photography world is no longer limited to still images; there’s also the everexpanding world of video! One of the largest platforms on which to get your video content seen is YouTube. Once your video is filmed and processed — and if you want more than your friends and family to witness it — it’s time to upload it to YouTube and share it far and wide. The great thing about YouTube clips is that they can be embedded into your website, or shared on your Facebook page — as well as on a raft of other social media channels, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr — and you can even email them to your family and friends, or your subscriber list if you have a good following.
We’ve only touched on a few forms of social media that will help you to get your images seen around the world, or even by just your friends and family, so it’s well worth exploring all the other websites and apps out there until you find something that aligns perfectly with your needs. Social media is an everevolving place, so if you’ve been weighing up the options, and whether it’s worth being involved or not, we’d recommend you jump in now so you don’t get left too far behind.