How to Get More Instagram Followers as a Photographer
Instagram is both the best and worst thing to happen to photographers.
On the one hand, it’s given photographers a platform they’ve never had before. Suddenly, you don’t have to parade your photographs in the street or force your family and friends to look at them whenever they come over for a cuppa. You have a whole platform where you can post photographs every day, and millions of people who actually want to look at them.
On the other hand, among the millions of people on Instagram, there are also millions of photographers. This makes it very easy to lose your confidence – which is inevitable when you are comparing your work to photographers with a higher follower count – and very hard to stand out from the crowd.
But Instagram should be a fundamentally good platform for photographers. If you find yourself losing confidence, you need to understand that it’s not your photography that’s the problem. Remember, we said that millions of people want to look at your pictures, but to reel them in, you need to know what they want to see, and how to use Instagram correctly to reach them.
Here are seven things your counterparts are doing to build their follower count, and how you can start doing the same today:
Only Post Your Best
The first thing you should do is stop treating Instagram like your online portfolio. Instagram should be the highlight reel of your portfolio, and that means only posting the best. Cutting down on your posts will give your visitors a better idea of your talent, and make it more likely that they will become followers as a result. You don’t have to discard the others, either. If they mean a lot to you, you can still print them out or turn them into a cute square photo book for your own shelf. Just keep your Instagram as clean as possible.
Find Your Niche
One of the mistakes that so many Instagrammers make is posting pictures that don’t keep to a central theme. On average, when users visit an Instagram account, they will decide to follow based on the latest nine images. For this reason, you need to make sure that those nine images always represent yourself as a photographer and the kind of photography that you’re interested in – be it architecture, travel, sports, black-and-white photography, or anything else that interests you. If you know how to find your niche as a photographer, you're halfway there to finding your followers.
Find Your Personality
In the same way, you need to constantly portray your personality. If you see a great piece of work elsewhere on Instagram, don’t try to replicate it. If you do, then you’ll only lose what makes your photography so special in the first place: you. Remember, all of your followers will be following several other photography accounts – the moment it feels like they’re following a duplicate, they will unfollow.
Explore Your Devices
There could be another reason why you’re unable to build followers: quality. We don’t mean quality in terms of how the photograph was taken, but the quality of the camera itself. While smartphones have amazing camera capabilities in 2023, many Instagram users still love the professional feel of a DSLR. Switching to a better camera will not only make your photographs look more professional online, but they also look way sharper in print, which is good news if you do enjoy uploading them to a photo book maker.
Pay Attention To Your Captions
They say a picture can speak a thousand words, but on Instagram, you should always add just a few more. Captions are a great way to elaborate on a picture and evoke more of an emotional response – if you have an engaging caption, people are more likely to click “more”, and engage further with your post. You can even leave open-ended questions to your followers, encouraging them to venture to the comments section and engage on an even deeper level.
Connect With Your People
This brings us to another important point: connection. If you’re encouraging people to comment on your Instagram posts, you are interacting with them beyond the photographs, and this will help to form a little community that others want to be part of. It will also reduce the number of users who unfollow you after a few months – if they feel more deeply connected with you, then it’s so much harder to click that unfollow button.
Post Like A Business
Lastly, although this is your hobby, it’s important to post as if it were your business. According to recent data, the best times to post on Instagram range between 6 AM to 10 AM, and 5 PM to 6 PM. On the weekend, this changes to 8 AM to 12 PM on a Saturday, and 10 AM to 2 PM on a Sunday. If you try to keep to these timeframes, you’ll be advertising yourself during peak usage times, helping you to grab those extra followers and let them in on the beauty of your work!