Social media is one of the best ways to grow your photography business. You only need a phone and internet access to instantly connect with your ideal clients.
If you create a strong content strategy and focus on forming meaningful relationships with your audience, you can book out your photography business through organic reach alone.
The good and bad news?
There’s only one thing standing in your way.
A Plann to help you achieve your goals.
Below, we’re breaking down the best tips to grow your photography business on Instagram, from finding a niche to hashtag research and the biggie: using video content to your advantage.
7 Tips to Grow Your Photography Business on Instagram
1. Find Your Niche
“FiNd yOuR nIchE”
It’s cliche business advice in a nutshell, amirite?
But as eye-roll-inducing, as it is, there is a kernel of truth to it.
When you decide on your photography niche, it helps you stand out from the crowd. You’re not another “generalist” trying to make it big. You’re “that wedding photographer” or “that wildlife guy”.
It’s branding 101.
Your niche will attract people who like the specific type of work you do, making it easier to sell your prints, book studio sessions, and build a community that supports your business.
The great thing about a niche is it’s not a forever box. You can change your mind anytime and pivot into something else.
The best way to find your niche? Experiment.
Explore different styles of photography, see what resonates, and hone in on a style you love. Your passion, paired with your talent, will help you stand out and grow your photography business on Instagram.
Need some inspiration? Meet @KyleInCpt.
Kyle is a landscape photographer from South Africa. His niche positioning allows him to make a full-time income from selling his prints, hosting landscape photography workshops, and brand sponsorships from Nikon and NSI Filters.
2. Use Instagram SEO
Once you have a niche, it’s time to flex your SEO (search engine optimization) muscles.
Just like the Google algorithm uses keywords, meta descriptions, and H2 tags to understand a blog post and rank it, Instagram does the same thing.
There’s only one small difference.
Instead of ranking individual posts, the algorithm ranks your Instagram account.
The “name” section of your profile is hot real estate. The app uses what you write here to rank your account in the search results.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer like Sharyn Hodges, you’ll want to write important keywords like “weddings” and “elopements” in your header.
The next two places to include your main keywords are your username (if possible) and your bio. Sharyn has used keywords like “Garden Route”, “Plettenberg Bay”, and “Adventure Wedding Photographer”.
These keywords relate to her niche and tell potential followers about the type of photography she creates.
3. Use The Four Content Types
Feeling lost with what to post on Instagram to grow your photography business?
There’s a simple formula to remove the guesswork and create content that attracts your ideal customer, establishes trust, and sets you up as the go-to photographer in your niche.
Community: Community posts are your story, fun facts about you, games, and relatable skits. It’s anything that shows off your personality and uses it to connect with your audience and nurture the relationship.
Community Post Idea: Share how you became a photographer on Instagram Stories and save it as a highlight.
Actionable: Actionable posts include any promotional content. It’s where you’ll ask your audience to take action, like book a studio session, visit your website, or download your free guide.
Action Post Idea: Share your latest offer and end the post with a call to action.
Growth: Growth content stands for shareable content. It’s entertaining, useful, or insightful content that compels your audience to like, comment, share, and save.
Growth Post Idea: Share an unusual hack that can help your audience take better photos.
Expertise: Expert content positions you as the go-to industry thought leader. It demonstrates your knowledge, builds trust, and creates credibility.
Expertise Post Idea: Share your favourite photography spots and how to take the perfect shot in each location.
4. Use Relevant Hashtags
You know those spammy emails you get? Or those Instagram DMs offering you a feature in Forbes? And those bot comments about ForEx trading?
It’s the worst!
When you use hashtags that have nothing to do with your post, it’s the same thing. The user is searching that keyword to look up specific information, and it’s a massive letdown when you tap on something and it’s about dogecoin instead of travelling to Spain.
Instagram uses hashtags to categorize content. You need to play the game if you want the algorithm to pick up your content and share it.
According to the official Instagram @creators account, you should only use between three to five hashtags per Instagram feed post and up to 10 on Instagram Stories, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use all 30 hashtags.
How do you find the best hashtags for your photography Instagram account?
Step 1: Use The Instagram Explore Page
The Explore Page is the best way to find inspiration for your keyword research strategy.
All you need to do is:
• Search for a keyword related to your photography business and tap on “top” results.
• Browse the results and make notes of the keywords each post is using.
Why does this strategy work?
Instagram’s algorithm likes these posts, which means these accounts are doing something right. Steal their strategy, and experiment with the hashtags you find to see if you can mimic their success.
Step 2: Use a Hashtag Research Tool
Want to cut down on your research time? Try a hashtag research tool.
When you sign up for a free Plann account, you get instant access to our free hashtag manager feature. Type in a keyword, and you’ll receive a curated list of hashtags to use on your posts.
Step 3: Create hashtag Sets
Struggling with hashtag inspiration? As you research the best tags, keep these categories in mind:
• Location: Countries, cities, places, attractions, or neighbourhoods where you took your photos.
• Industry: Your photography page niche, e.g. #astrophotography, #streetphotography.
• Community: The specific group of users you want to attract, e.g. #adventuretravellers.
• Descriptive: Keywords that describe your image, e.g. #engagementring.
Done? Use Plann’s hashtag planner tool to save your lists and paste them into your caption with a single tap.
5. Experiment With Reels
Want to grow your Instagram account? Add Reels to your content strategy.
Instagram’s algorithm pushes Reels more than photos, IGTV or any other feature on the platform.
While it is video content, you can still use it to promote your photography business and reap the rewards of brand exposure and engagement WITHOUT paying a dime for paid ads.
How can you use Reels as a photographer? Here are some post ideas:
• Share the “moment behind the photo”: Shoot some B-roll on your phone showing your audience how you set up the shot, and then share the final edit.
• Share tips for other photographers: It’s a great way to demonstrate your expertise to your followers and establish your expertise.
• Help your audience: Share questions to ask before booking a photographer. It’s an example of genuinely helpful content that’ll help you attract and connect with ideal clients.
6. Use Stories for behind the scenes (BTS) content
You might have 10,000 followers, but how many regularly watch your Story?
Those users who are making an effort to consume your content are incredibly valuable. They are invested in your brand and give you access to a rare and valuable resource: their time and attention.
Instagram Stories allow you to peel back the perfectly curated feed and connect with your audience on a more personal level.
Here, you can show off your creative process, reveal glimpses of your day-to-day life, and create a sense of FOMO by prepping for your next shoot.
Bonus: Everyone can use the link sticker feature, making it super easy to re-direct your followers to your website to make a purchase.
7. Plann Your Instagram Feed
You can follow all the ways to grow your Instagram account, but if you’re not consistent and don’t have a Plann, you’re playing the game on hard mode.
To make life easier, use Plann’s effortless content calendar.
It will help you keep a consistent posting schedule, write your captions in bulk, and post at the time when your audience is online and ready to engage.
That’s not all.
When your followers expect you to post, you’ll see a spike in engagement. You’ll stay at the top of their minds and the top of their feeds.
Sign up for a free Plann Pro account today and never miss a post again. Schedule your Instagram content one week, month, or more in advance and build a community that loves your photography as much as you do.