From Instagram to Twitter and TikTok, photographers have several options when picking a social media platform to promote their work. Choosing a network to share your favorite shots can lead to several benefits, such as meeting new people and possible work opportunities.
However, social media can also have a number of negative consequences if you’re a photographer. At its worst, it can cause distractions, hindering your creativity, and you also risk becoming too reliant on these platforms.
Before deciding whether you want to use social media to grow as a photographer, understanding the pros and cons is a good idea.
The Benefits of Using Social Media as a Photographer
Although social media gets a lot of negative press, developing a healthy relationship with Instagram and other platforms is possible. Before we look at why you may wish to reconsider building a social media presence for your photography, let’s look at the top benefits.
1. Meet Other Photographers
When trying photography or another creative pursuit, you can often feel quite lonely when there is no one to do it with. But thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to discover like-minded people who can help elevate your craft.
As you post more frequently on social media, you’ll probably begin gaining followers with similar interests. And when you’ve been on these platforms for a while, you can eventually meet up with some of these people and make lifelong friends.
Meeting other photographers can also help you bounce ideas off each other and grow together.
2. Gain Inspiration for Your Creative Work
Even if you’re a passionate photographer, you’ll sometimes encounter periods where you struggle to generate creative ideas. You can do several things to get out of a photography rut, and one of those is to look at other creators for inspiration.
Whether they’re an account with millions of followers or a lesser-known local photographer, you probably have your favorite artists. If you’re feeling uninspired, you can go to their social media profiles to look for ideas that you can incorporate into your next photoshoot.
3. Make People More Aware of Your Art
If you want to keep your photography to yourself, that’s absolutely fine. But if you’re planning to make a living from what you create, you should strongly consider building an online presence.
You can certainly grow a photography business with a small social media following, but building a good social profile can help you make others more aware of what you do. And if those people are interested in your content, you may be able to increase sales on your prints and other products.
Using social media can also help you become more noticeable to clients who may want to hire you for a photoshoot. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Learn New Skills You Can Sell to Clients
As you produce more content for social media, your photography will naturally improve. However, you’ll also learn many other new useful skills.
When growing your photography brand on social media, you’ll start to figure out how different platforms work. Moreover, you’ll learn about what users typically interact with—and the posts that don’t perform as well.
With the above in mind, you can potentially become a social media manager with enough experience. You may want to pursue this as a full-time job and do photography on the side, but you can also manage other companies’ social media accounts on a freelance basis. Either way, you can upsell yourself by also offering photography services.
5. Get Feedback on Your Work
If you’re a beginner photographer, getting constructive feedback on your work is an excellent way to quickly improve your craft. And one of the nicest things about using social media is that people are often open to providing their thoughts.
You may find that photography-specific platforms, such as Flickr and YouPic, are better for receiving feedback on your posts. However, you can also try getting opinions from others on Twitter and Instagram.
Once you have feedback on the work you’ve created, you can go out again with both your camera and a fresh set of ideas.
The Disadvantages of Using Social Media as a Photographer
Despite the benefits of using social media as a photographer, you should consider the potential negatives of trying to grow a presence on platforms of this kind. Here are the possible disadvantages to keep in mind.
1. Social Media Is a Distraction
If you’ve already been on social media for a while, you will be all too familiar with that feeling of opening your phone to check one thing—but ending up deep down a rabbit hole on an app instead. One unfortunate reality is that for many people, social media can serve as a distraction from the tasks that matter.
When used wisely, social media can help you improve your presence as a photographer and gain more eyes on your work. However, going out and taking photos is a better use of your time, as is learning more about how to use your camera.
You don’t need to delete social media altogether, but setting clear boundaries is a good idea. For example, you can decide to only spend a certain amount of time on your chosen platforms each week.
2. Excessive Reliance Puts You at Risk of Algorithmic Changes
Although social media is an excellent way to build your audience and boost your reputation in the photography sector, you should be careful not to focus solely on these platforms. We’ve seen plenty of algorithmic changes over the years, and some creators have had to endure a significant drop in engagement after these have come into place.
Relying on social media too much can become risky, especially as your audience grows. Consider making a website and focusing on search engine optimization (SEO), along with growing a newsletter to build a closer connection with those who follow your art.
3. Comparison Is Disheartening
Heavy social media use can lead to several negative effects on users, and comparison is one of them.
It’s natural as humans to look at where we stand, and aspiring to be on the level of your favorite creator can help propel your growth. But at the same time, focusing too much on what others are doing can become disheartening.
Comparison becomes a problem when it starts leading to inaction. If you’re prone to viewing what others do and then thinking negatively about yourself, it’s time to consider staying away from social media.
Social Media Is a Double-Edged Sword for Photographers
Whether you want to grow a photography business or you’re simply trying to promote your art to others, it’s definitely worth looking at how you can use social media to your advantage. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have several benefits—such as not needing to worry about website design and reaching a broad audience.
But at the same time, you should consider the possible negatives that can come with using social media as a photographer. If you decide that you don’t want to use these platforms, you can try growing a newsletter and other channels.