Social media for Photographers

Does a photographer need to bother with social networking – Blogs, Twitter,  Flickr, YouTube, yada yada yada – ?…
Don’t we have enough to do with sourcing work, keeping up with cameras, software, client relationships, tax returns and the whole schlemiel?

Art Directors love to know what you’re up to, what’s in development and how your creative juices are flowing. A portfolio needs to be carefully organised and grouped, its not really a good place for the single great photo or an idea in development. But a blog can do just that… and of course you can put down your thoughts and and talk about incidental details about production and concepts.
We all know that a working relationship with your art director can make or break a shoot and the possiblilty of future work. So your blog can act like and art-director/photographer ‘dating agency’, introducing you to new clients and letting them discover your ‘feel-good factor’.

If they don’t know about you they ain’t going to commission you… if you’re the one they remember then its you who’s  in with a chance at the job before anyone else… and to do that you need to place your marker on the landscape.
Youtube can be an effective way to do that, sometimes in a spectacular way. Two very good examples are Chase Jarvis and Melissa Rodwell
link: Chase
link: Melissa

But isn’t Flickr for amateurs? No not really, in the eyes of today’s ‘Generation Y’ designers its an image source like any other, with a rich and varied amount of content. Its also another channel for instant publishing, note-booking, and developing ideas. You can even upload to Flickr via your Eye-fi memory card from anywhere there’s WiFi connectivity.

The aforementioned ‘Generation Y’ are in touch with ‘the conversation’ all the time via their iPhones. And the place the conversation is happening is on Twitter. For some people its even superseding email.
Digital media is like mother’s milk to Gen Y, its always been around since they were born so its the natural place to be. Twitter’s brevity of only 140 characters means that people don’t waste their words. It also has the ability to link in to images, video and even short voice recordings. All linked together it becomes an astonishingly simple but rich resource.

link: Why text messages are limited to 160/140 characters

Priorities & Schedules
Like all parts of your business, its important to plan and segregate the time you spend on social networks, otherwise it can become a tangled mess that undermines your core activity.

Tweeting three or four times a week, with similarly three or four Tweets in a day should be enough. After a while you’ll find your own particular voice – your writing style, what you tweet about – and people will come to know the type of things to expect from you. Find you’re own slant on the world and  you’ll soon build a following. If your tweets are banal, devoid of content or you’re simply saying what everyone else is then your followers are likely to drop away.

Blog when there’s an interesting project to talk about or a great picture you want to share. A blog post every 10-14 days keeps things fresh. And of course tell people to read it by putting a link on Twitter.

But do designers and photography commissioners look at this stuff?
Like I said, its like a right arm to Gen Y. For the rest of them… well its the same as when the interweb and email first started to take off, many poo pooed it in public, but surreptitiously were using it all the time. And even the die hards will get to hear about the buzz you are creating via word of mouth.

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