With the rise of social media, photographers have found new ways to market themselves, sell their products, and advertise their services over the past decade. The conventional use of print ads has become overshadowed by Facebook and Instagram Ads leading more and more creators to use social media to market. Rather than driving eyes to their website using paid SEO keywords or creating blog content, photographers and videographers are showcasing their portfolio and services on their Instagram accounts. The IG feed can serve as an online portfolio and Direct Messages give you direct access to clients making it easy to book straight from the app.

instagram guidesIn mid-November, Instagram released its new feature: Guides. It gives users an easier way to share and consume helpful recommendations and tips in an easy-to-digest format that requires no design skills or code. Instagram has become a pseudo-website for photographers if you know how to use it to your advantage, and Guides seem to be another nail in the coffin of traditional sources of photography advertising/marketing. Here are five ways you can start using them with content that you’ve already shared on your Instagram in order to inform your followers of your services and showcase your work.

1. Eliminate the Need for Blog Posts

how to use instagram guidesWhile there is still an argument for having a website and housing your portfolio on it, IG Guides give photographers a perfect outlet for blog creation without the pressure or inconvenience of web design. Think of all the times you sat in front of your keyboard wanting to create a blog, now ask yourself, why didn’t you do it? People don’t blog for a variety of reasons but primarily because it takes time: sourcing the photos, creating a concept or theme, designing and formatting, writing useful and SEO-keyword based content, etc. IG Guides breaks it down to three simple types of posts:

  • Places: Recommend places in your city and beyond.
  • Products: Recommend your favorite product.
  • Posts: Recommend posts you created or saved.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the Posts Guides since this is the most relevant and direct way for photographers and videographers to market their work and services. Guides’ sleek format is perfect for a quick read and it doubles as a marketing tool to draw viewers to posts on your feed. You can type in headers and copy to beef it up or just keep it simple and link directly to the posts in your feed.

2. Showcase Favorite Shoot Locations & Venues

1 instagram guidesI am sure at some point in your career as a portrait photographer/videographer you’ve been asked by a client to suggest possible shoot locations and have had to send examples of your work in those areas. Creating a guide based on shoot locations is not only a great way to showcase your portfolio and versatility of work in various spots, but shows that you are knowledgeable and resourceful when it comes to providing valuable shoot information. This can also serve as inspiration for clients looking for new and interesting locations to shoot at. It’s also a great tactic to make people share and save your IG posts which will only help your impressions over time. This is also a great idea for a blog post for your website, however, the amount of time it would take to compile on your phone with posts you’ve already curated for your IG feed makes this an easy task to knock out.

3. Share Photography Ideas, Tips & Tricks

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Have an ingenious photo hack or trick that you want to share? Guides make it simple to share a new shoot concept that sets you apart from your competition and works great for sharing when asked what makes you different. This can also be a great place to house some of your favorite portrait photography tools, gear, or accessories and discuss why you love them so much. Essentially, this type of guide acts as a way for your client to become more familiar with your style and expertise.

For example, this year due to the pandemic, I started offering FaceTime photoshoots. I recorded and documented the entire process hoping to turn it into a resource for other photographers struggling with being creative in a time that tested our capability as artists. I created a short guide that showcased the images (existing posts I had already made on my feed) and added more information on how the process worked.

4. List Your Services

So many of us portrait photographers dabble in different photography niches: family, wedding, graduation, maternity, fashion, etc. It would be extremely beneficial to have a way to designate what types of photography you specialize in and show off some samples of your work in dedicated guides. Similar to how a website portfolio works, these guides can serve to compile a specific genre of photography into one consolidated link to send people. You can add pricing for sessions, discuss what each package includes, etc.

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Here is an example of one of my most requested services: at-home family sessions. It gives clients the ability to browse through a “catalog” of images to get a better understanding of the concept and gives them insight into the process. I often get requested to see examples of what an at-home session looks like because people can’t see the true beauty that lies within the confines of their own home, and that’s my job as their photographer, to see the unseen.

5. Provide Valuable Information

instagram guides marketingSimilar to how blog posts function, Guides can be one of the most resourceful and educational assets of your social media platform. We always hear that good marketing means that you’ve created a strong voice that makes you relatable. Part of having a strong and clear voice is having an equally strong and clear message. Incorporating your expertise and advice into the copy of the Guides sells your services based on the value that you provide rather than them focusing on the amount they are paying for the service. In this example. I discuss the different types of proposals I’ve shot and how each of them is meaningful in their own way. This gives those that are considering hiring me to shoot proposals educational information and ideas, and, more importantly, proof that I am more than capable of hiring for the task at hand.