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15 April 2015By Mark Sheils

Mark Sheils is Founder of Picture Ireland and spends much of his time evaluating and selecting photographers based on their online presence.

Marketing Tips for Photographers: Promoting your work online

Generating an income from photography is not easy. However there’s one thing all photographers can agree, the more people who are exposed to your work the better. That’s why it’s important to optimise your presence online.

Having reviewed the work of many photographers’ I’ve compiled a list of some best practices that will help maximise your visibility. Here are some marketing tips for photographers on how to promote your work:

Showcase Your Best Pictures

Would you hang it on the wall? This is the first question you should ask yourself. If a picture in your portfolio doesn’t add to your collection, then unfortunately it probably detracts from it. One of the most common mistakes photographers make is the inclusion of unmarketable photos within their catalogue. The following types of images are generally unsuitable for resale:

1. Underexposed/overexposed compositions.
2. Pictures lacking shadows/highlights.
3. Over-edited or manipulated images (over saturated, filtered, noisy, HDR).
4. Low resolution photography (mostly anything not shot in RAW on a DSLR).
5. Shots that don’t set a context for the location (lacking a point of focus).

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule and a degree of creative license is important to forming your unique style. But try to be selective about which pictures you include in your portfolio. Potential customers typically only spend a couple minutes on your website and do not want to be overwhelmed by choice.

You need to make a striking impression. My rule of thumb is to focus on your most extraordinary images. These are the shots that capture your imagination the second you see them. They are the pictures that have instant impact. Quality is important here not quantity.

Start the Conversation

Social media is a fantastic platform to share your photography and get people talking about your pictures. Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are very cost effective ways to gain exposure. When used regularly, they’re a great way to increase your online visibility. Some points to note:

1. Twitter is the most cost-effective social media channel for photographers. Unless you have intentions to undertake paid activity on Facebook, the organic reach of your posts will be extremely limited (you can expect unpaid posts to be delivered to around 6% of your fans). As such it’s worth focusing on Twitter rather than Facebook. Ideally post your latest pictures the same day you take them to increase their relevance to your audience. Don’t forget to use appropriate hashtags and reference the location.

2. Sharing your photography with influential accounts on Twitter is a great way to showcase your work to a larger audience. Photographers frequently tweet their pictures of Ireland to @PictureIreland and we’re more than happy to share the best ones. Submitting your shots regularly to relevant photography-related Twitter accounts helps get your name out there and is a quick and easy way to reach more people.

3. Entering photography competitions and submitting your pictures to publications is another great way to build your professional reputation and drive traffic to your website. It also reinforces your credibility as a photographer.

4. Colour imagery is more popular and more likely to be shared than black and white photography. Try to strike a balance between the two formats to keep things interesting for your audience. Avoid posting shots that are too similar in style or perspective. A small and diverse selection of high quality photography is always favourable to a large and unvaried collection.

Sell Your Work on External Websites

Most photographers have limited time and resources to market their work online. For many it is a second profession.

I set up Picture Ireland in 2014 to showcase and promote Irish landscape photographers’ work in return for a commission on sales. Aside from the obvious advantage of marketing/selling on the photographer’s behalf, there are many other benefits to such third party representation including increased site traffic to your own website and potential for retail opportunities not otherwise available.

If external representation doesn’t appeal to you, another option is to sell your work through stock photography agencies and websites. Stock Photo Adviser have published a great article explaining how you can do this here.

I hope these tips are helpful. Best of luck selling your photography!

Mark Sheils,
Founder, Picture Ireland

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