This week’s video is all about how to plan your Instagram feed as a photographer! Before we dive in, I do want to preface this by saying there are SO many different perspectives out there. What I’m sharing today is what I’ve found that works for me, especially in having a personal brand. There really is no right or wrong when it comes to how you plan your feed, what you post, or what you put in your caption. These are just some things that have helped me in growing my Instagram and using it to BOOK clients!
First, let’s chat about the app I use to schedule and plan all my posts. For me, I personally love planing things out beforehand! Even if it’s just putting a placeholder to know when I want to share something (like a sneak peek from a session). It gives me a VISUAL of what my feed will look like too! Later is the app I use to schedule my posts and I am OBSESSED. It’s the best one I’ve tried and is so easy to use! Click HERE to sign up and get 10 extra posts for FREE!
HOW OFTEN I POST
I schedule one Instagram post every week day, Monday through Friday (so typically I am posting at least 4-5 times per week). I do this from the desktop version of the app. It’s THE BEST because I can type things out and it takes way less time than typing things out on my phone. Once I save it and schedule it for a specific day, my phone will notify me when it’s time to post. I typically post anywhere from 2pm-4pm because that’s when most of my audience is on the app (I know this from the analytics section from having a business Instagram account).
WHAT TO POST
As far as WHAT I post, this is what I’ve made up for myself: 50% photos of myself, 25% education focused, and 25% wedding focus. I make sure I have a photo of myself at least every other photo… I am SO big on this because I have a personal brand and I believe it’s so important to show your face. It makes people feel way more connected to YOU and not just your business. Let’s just say I get a LOT of headshots done… and reuse a LOT of them! I still repost headshots I had taken 4+ years ago, and make sure I get a lot of variety when I get headshots done (different poses, location, outfits, etc.) and I try not to post a headshot from the same session/outfit too close in a row.
For the other half of my posts, I split it between weddings and education! This is important because revenue wise, I want half of my income to come from weddings and half from education! How much you post of yourself, or gear posts towards certain parts of your business will be TOTALLY based on what kind of business you have, how much you want from each income stream, and whether or not you have a personal brand.
HOW TO PICK PHOTOS
For my feed, I like to have a feed that feels balanced and still feels like it flows… without being overly picky about it being perfect. I am more worried about having a personal brand and showing ME than having the most perfect whites and blush colors in every single photo… plus, it gives me the freedom to post more of my work and personal life without feeling boxed into a certain color them. That’s just me, though! You can totally decide to focus more on sharing everything on Instagram stories and keep your feed more curated… but this is what I prefer!
There’s one key thing I do to keep my feed feeling like it’s “flowing”: Mixing up how wide/close up photos are and alternating the colors for my color theme.
Don’t post two similar photos in a row. As much as I can help it, I try to space out the “types” of photos and not have similar ones next to each other, mainly in how wide or close up the shots are and what’s in them. For example, I wouldn’t post two headshots in the same post with a similar colored background back to back, because they will look REALLY similar in my feed. Similarly, I wouldn’t post two up close portraits of a couple with them looking at each other both with greenery in the background right in a row.
I try to space these out so maybe it looks something like this: Monday, I’m posting an up close headshot of myself on a white background. On Tuesday, I’m posting a “wide” photo (not up close) of a couple with greenery in the background. On Wednesday, I’m posing a close up photo of a couple with a white background… see how I’m mixing up how wide/close up the photos are and the colors? Obviously, this isn’t perfect and this is where the visual planning aspect of Later comes in handy so you can actually see how this will look as you plan it out… but this is how I like to think of it for the most part!
As far as the colors I love to have in my feed, I do love light pastels and lots of white! So, I try to make the majority of my photos have those color schemes or backgrounds! This fits my brand as a whole and I try to make sure I’m not including photos with bright reds, neon pink, etc. because it doesn’t fit my brand. Again, this will change based on your brand!
Now let’s dive into CAPTIONS and how to write them! I know this can be super daunting, especially for photographers. It can be really hard to know what to write. But, guys – captions are essential to growing your following, creating an engaged audience, and building a personal brand. We HAVE to make it a priority!
With captions, there are THREE main things I am doing: Giving value, inspiring, or letting people in on my life.
- GIVE VALUE: I put this first because this is SO important. Sharing about your cute dog or love for coffee is important, especially for personal connection… but people aren’t going to care about your fluffy cat if you aren’t willing to HELP them and educate them first. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and give tips based on what they’re going through! Are they stressed or overwhelmed with wedding planning? Give tips (that make your expertise shine) based on what you want them to know. Do you want to move into educating photographers? Give free photography tips in your captions!
- INSPIRE: This also goes along with personal connection, but I want to INSPIRE people with my captions. Just putting “lovers in a field” with an emoji and calling it a day is NOT going to bring people in. Tell a story about your couple, inspire them in something going on in your life… make sure that your post is inspiring someone or giving them value.
- LET PEOPLE IN ON YOUR LIFE: This is especially important if you have a personal brand! Share about who you are, what you love, and what you value. Share about YOU in a way that will make people feel like you’re letting them in on your life! I love doing this by sharing about vacations, dates with my hubby, my love for my dog, books I’m reading, big life changes (like moving or other big changes!)
HASHTAGS + GEOTAGS:
My biggest tips with this is to make sure you’re tagging specific locations and hashtags! This is SO important and can be so overlooked, especially when it comes to specific tags. Tag venues you’ve shot at and use venue specific hashtags to target wedding venues you want to shoot at more! Hashtagging things that your ideal client will search is huge. For example, as a wedding photographer in Columbus, I want to hashtag my wedding photos with #columbusweddingphotographer and similar hashtags to get my photos in front of my ideal clients search this!
Like I mentioned before, I really use insta stories to give people an inside look of my life, even more than on my feed! One big tip here is to use “selfie videos” of yourself talking to the camera. When people can see your face, they like, know, and trust you WAY faster than photos and text on a screen every could. One easy way to start is to think about what insta story posts you could make into a talking video instead. For example, instead of just posting a pretty photo and saying a new blog post is live… use a selfie video to share about your new blog post!
- ENGAGE. engage. ENGAGEEE! Guys, this is huge. So many of us are complaining about low engagement on our posts… but when was the last time you genuinely commented on someone’s post with something more than “Love this!”? When was the last time you watched someone’s Instagram story and responded with a genuine question or comment? This is such a huge way to increase your OWN engagement. Not to mention, it makes Instagram feel more genuine in the way you are using it.
- Have a business account. This is my personal preference, but I LOVE all the specific analytics a business account provides! I personally have found it to be really helpful and have only seen my engagement grow after I switched over.
Okay, WHEW… that was a LOT. Am I right?! I definitely want to dive deeper into some of these soon! But, this was a general overview of my Instagram strategy! Drop any questions you have below and can’t wait to share MORE next week!