Friday, December 20, 2013
Make Use Of Instagram
The service is frequently scoffed at by professional photographers, but it can be a boon for your business
Among professional photographers, Instagram may be one of the most reviled photography websites today, but its success is a reminder that we need to remain open-minded to succeed in our quickly evolving market. Looking past the novelty of photo filters and a square format, Instagram has filled a large hole—easy publishing and distribution of images via the mobile web. Five years ago, it would have been tough to imagine that mobile photography publishing would be as hot as it is today, but Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who founded the company in 2010, saw the opportunity. Its launch was perfectly timed to ride the wave of interest in mobile digital photography and mobile applications. Now sharing mobile and DSLR images via smartphones and tablets has become the norm, raising the question, "How can pro photographers get the most out of this new medium?"
Instagram's meteoric rise has helped expand and rejuvenate interest in photography with new and experienced photographers alike. Now with a camera in most mobile devices, the opportunity exists for everyone to take and share imagery. This population of new photographers is hungry to learn and follow the inspiring work of others. Even amongst existing photographers, mobile photography has created a new space for experimentation and discussion. The core of Instagram, which has helped it become one of the most successful apps of all time, is that it makes communication between fans and followers incredibly easy and accessible.
To get a feel for how drastically the winds are changing when it comes to web-browsing behavior online, let's take a step back to expand our view. As of November 5, 2013, Walker Sands, a public-relations firm, released a report showing that 28% of all their clients' traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. In a parallel fashion, my photography website and blog, JMG-Galleries.com, also received 28% of its traffic from mobile users in 2013. Each year for the past five years, the percentage of my website visitors coming from mobile devices has doubled. Mobile activity is trending higher at an incredibly fast rate, and you can bet that where trends go with social media/photo-sharing sites like Instagram, your site will be sure to follow. As it stands, every day Instagram is adding 55 million new photos with 1.2 billion Likes being received, a clear indicator of how fast photographers and photography viewers are relying on mobile publishing and sharing.
Pro photographers use Instagram in myriad ways, including highlighting work that's part of long-term projects, providing location and behind-the-scenes footage, displaying portfolios, sharing experimental work to gauge interest, and sharing news and accolades, etc. These varied approaches provide ample room for photographers to experiment and succeed. Unsurprisingly, one common goal that runs across all these approaches is to increase one's following. Surprisingly, though, there isn't always a clear path to commoditize that following. Take, for example, the following professional photographers:
@DavidSanger (72K followers), travel stock photographer
@Jimmy_Chin (113K followers), action photographer and filmmaker
@ClarkLittle (588K followers), surf and fine-art photographer
@thephotosociety (165K followers), collective of National Geographic magazine photographers
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