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Insights & Thoughts

Photography Industry ‘Stuff’ Should Be Omitted From Your Biz Social Media

By Brandon Perron on February 9th 2015

Complaining on Social Media

I was having a discussion on Facebook a while ago, on the topic of the negative effects of “complaining” on social media pages for photography businesses. Specifically, in regards to the dramas of the photo industry world. The topic was specifically about a certain “rock star” photographer and how this photographer was plagiarizing others. One photographer made a comment about how she agrees with people, but the massive bad mouthing that photographers were doing on their Facebook pages, shouldn’t be there and I agree.

While I understand that we tend to vent on social media, your “business name” on social media outlets is not the place for it. I further went on to make the statement that a vast majority of clients do not care about anything industry related so neither positive nor negative “stuff” have a place on your business’ social media page.

Some examples of what probably shouldn’t be posted:

  • Complaining about ANYTHING
  • Industry related anything
  • Super geeky and “techy” photography stuff
  • Conventions or events you are attending or have attended
  • Stuff between you and other vendors, that does not directly relate to clients
  • Plain old personal stuff that doesn’t relate to your biz or clients
  • Awards you won
  • Education
  • Random photog GTG’s or networking events

This ruffled more than a couple of feathers, however, I very much stand steadfast in my statement. I think most will agree that there are better ideas, in lieu of posting negative “stuff” to social media. However, I would venture a guess that most disagree in my statement that even positive “stuff” should be left off. I hope to un-ruffle some feathers by the end of this article, so keep reading…

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Clients Care About Images And Not Education

Some in that same thread said that posting conferences that they go to, or workshops attended, or continuing education they are taking, or a number of many different learning opportunities they have taken part in, should absolutely be plastered on one’s social media. They pointed to the reason for doing so, as it shows they are continuing their education and their clients find that very important.

I make the assertion, that, in fact, a majority of clients don’t even know what any of it means and thus do not really care about it. For all they know, you could be making it up. There is really no way for clients to confirm the legitimacy of it and treat it accordingly. I made a very bold statement that goes against the grain of the industry as a whole and that is: at the very core, all clients care about is price, the work you produce and a dash of your personality (in that exact order). Everything else is pretty much of no real concern to clients, including anything industry related. It is why I stand by the belief that unless it is absolutely relevant to your clients or potential clients, it should be omitted. This would include, but not limited to: images, sales, bookings, etc…industry related talk does not fit into that category.

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[REWIND: 5 Must Have Items When Attending Photography Workshops & Seminars]

Why I Think That ALL Industry Related Stuff Should Be Left Off

Most will argue that there is no harm in posting a workshop you attended or a class you took. At face value, that does seem to be a very valid point. However, I don’t see anything beneficial coming from it. If nothing beneficial will come from it, it should not be mentioned.  You run the risk of just cluttering up your social media. With the Internet having such a vast expanse of information, very niche and deeply relevant information is what get people’s attention. Anything irrelevant is just cluttering up their “feed” and ultimately your message to them.

Our goal with our social media presence is having people pay attention to what we are “saying.” The only thing people pay attention too, is what pertains to them, everything else gets glossed over and skipped. After a while, that becomes the routine and anything that is pertinent to your customer will get skipped over. This includes positive and negative photography industry related information.

It is not their fault, it has been a learned response from all the crap that is thrown at consumers every single day. We begin to train ourselves that certain things show us relevant information and pay attention to it. However, if those same trusted sources begin to post irrelevant information, we begin to skip over it, until we finally just stop paying attention all together. This is the risk that you run when you post anything that clients can not relate to. As much as we don’t want to admit it, most clients can not relate to industry centric information.

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Negative Talk Should Cease to Exist

Furthermore, posting negative stuff, which is not understood by your clients, comes across as whiny and just in poor taste. One would think that I would not have to mention this. However, on a daily basis, I see photographers complaining or engaging in the industry gossip. It’s actually a very interesting double standard.

We have all had jobs where we complain about them or people. It is very natural by allowing it to release pent up frustration. One would think overhearing it would be perfectly understandable. However, that is rarely the case and always comes across in a negative manner. I understand why it happens, most of us as photographers lead fairly lonesome “work” lives and consequently have no one to interact with. Social media is an outlet for us to interact with other photographers, who understand where we are coming from.

The problem is that clients get caught in the cross-hairs and it doesn’t bode well for your business and its image. There are so many outlets for photographers that are private and clients will never see. Find these places and utilize those for this sort of interaction, without tarnishing your business’ image.

There is one caveat to my belief and that is, education/experience information, absolutely belongs on your website in its own section. This can also, include any sort of bio sections on any social media outlets. That is proper place for it, it is where clients seek out that information. It is tucked away in a nice neat place and they get to see it on their terms…it is not constantly put in front of them involuntarily. It goes from being irrelevant clutter to appreciated information.

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With all of that said and before you go, here are some great things that should absolutely be posted:

  • Of course your work – keep it fresh and as constant as possible
  • Specials you are offering
  • Important dates (i.e. when is the last day to order prints for the holidays)
  • If you are starting to fill up and only have so many days left in your calendar
  • If you have moved to a new location
  • Re-shares of any of the vendors you’ve worked with
  • Positive words from clients or vendors (It would be very advantageous to include a photo or two that is directly related to the comment. – i.e. a photo of the person(s) who said those kind words, a photo of the vendor’s goods, etc.)
  • Share and tag vendors products you took photos of
  • If you will be any sort of show (art gallery, bridal show, etc.) with dates & times
  • Any contest you are running

I understand that some will disagree with me and still believe that anything related to you becoming a better photographer should be posted. If you are in this camp, think about tweaking it a bit from just a post or some text…make it relate to your clients.

  • Show your favorite 3 or 4 images you took from that workshop
  • If you found a new product you will start using, show a picture of it and say how your clients will benefit
  • If you just have to brag about a new lens you got, because it will allow you offer some amazing style of images, use it on the next shoot and what that actually looks like
  • When you pick up the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets V6 , don’t just talk about it, show a before and after picture of it in use

Conclusion

Please do not mistake this for me telling you not to improve your craft. Improving your craft is what is going to keep you booking jobs, furthering your business and being more and more successful. I’m merely suggesting to keep it private and only on a non-client facing mediums. Keeping your business’ social media free of industry related “stuff,” positive or negative…allows for the best chance to keep people engaged and paying attention to what will convince them to hire you.

What do you think? I know some of you would disagree. Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

Brandon Perron is a wedding photographer, making a transition into a freelance automotive digital contributor/photographer, as well as setting up his own private gallery. In his words, he is an uber sarcastic gasoline loving gear head, lost amongst the hipster hyper Eco-friendly crowd of PDX and has a mouth that makes sailors blush. He likes to think of himself as a daily life commentator, where nothing is off limits to poke fun at.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kim Brown

    But Brandon, I’m not telling people how to use “social media”, you are. What you’ve written is a personal opinion written as an authoritative article with research behind it.

    Also if we look at your “about me”:

    “About Brandon Perron

    Brandon Perron is a wedding photographer, making a transition into a freelance automotive digital contributor/photographer, as well as setting up his own private gallery. In his words, he is an uber sarcastic gasoline loving gear head, lost amongst the hipster hyper Eco-friendly crowd of PDX and has a mouth that makes sailors blush. He likes to think of himself as a daily life commentator, where nothing is off limits to poke fun at.”

    You seem to be doing everything you tell everyone not to do.
    Curious, but then.

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    • Brandon Perron

      It’s an op-ed piece…many of my statements are stated in an opionon statement…words like “I think” are key indicators of that. If you read it into anything more than that, that is solely on you.

      I personally believe you are grasping at straws trying to prove some off-key point. In no way shape or form, can you draw any conclusions of my interaction in a professional setting…based on my bio on here. I am actually not sure of the point that you are trying to make, referencing my bio.

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  2. Matthew Saville

    Great article! I agree entirely, except to some extent regarding the representing of one’s personality, which I see has already been discussed above.

    I think that it depends on the manners in which you represent yourself on social media. For example some folks only have one FB page, a personal page, and use that to promote their business without needing to create an FB page at all.

    The point is, it can help you book the exact type of client you’d like to book, if you at least put a little bit of your personal life out there. I’d love to do business with outdoorsy folks more often, just like I’m sure Brandon would love to do business with folks who can appreciate cars or whatever it is he’s into.

    However, it’s not to be overdone, certainly, and the focus should always be on one thing- your work, your imagery.

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  3. Kim Brown

    The real question is, why should anyone take this “uber sarcastic” gear-head’s opinions seriously?
    Brandon Perron who?

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  4. Basit Zargar

    awesome

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  5. Tanya Goodall Smith

    I agree that avoiding negative anything is a must. I think talking about a workshop or mentioning new equipment or the space you work in or how you create can help establish you as a expert. There is great value in that. Just depends on how you present it.

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    • Brandon Perron

      Tanya…I disagree that mentioning new gear or workshops that you attend establishes you as an expert. The reason, being is that anyone can buy pro-level gear and anyone can attend workshops, but can take shitty pictures. Clients understand this and can see right through it. It just becomes clutter.

      Like I said, if you want to mention new gear, then mention it in regards to a shoot and post the pictures achieved with it.

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  6. Randy McKown

    Agreed on the badmouthing .. that’s the difference between a pro photography business owner and a I just bought a DSLR from Costco and started my 100% natural light & on-location business on Facebook.

    I use to post convention/workshop stuff but only if I was a speaker because otherwise you’re right .. nobody cares.

    Social media needs to be fun and promote you brand .. all moaning and crying should stay behind closed doors. :P

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  7. Jason Boa

    Great article !! I just hope the masses get to read it and take some or all of it on board. But in my experiences with Pro photogs they won’t – personal “style” and ego will get the better of them – oh plus petty jealousy

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  8. Stephen Jennings

    I agree with not bad mouthing other photographers .. or anyone honestly? I’ve seen photographers bad mouthing their own clients in a public shaming for posting non watermarked images from their shoot, or even being late on a deposit. Completely ridiculous. Or a huge group bitch fest between photographers debating whether or not so and so photoshopped an image after saying they didn’t.

    I also agree with the tech/industry stuff .. no one cares .. your social media fans have no idea what an fstop is, and are not impressed with your new cameras iso capabilities.. they have no idea, they don’t care. Unless you cater to photographers.

    But other personal stuff.. trips, stories from shoots, shows you attend etc I think people like. People love the blog type stuff from photographers .. it humanizes them instead of simply being a camera wielder you hire.

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    • Brandon Perron

      I agree on the personally front, but you can mix that in with the post on social media. If you make a post on FB with photos, of course talk about the couple, what made the shoot special, something funny that happened, etc. That is awesome and does make a difference, however that all by itself, will clutter it up…

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  9. Amanda Jehle

    I definitely think the “industry stuff” needs to be seriously limited. And ANY negativity needs to be curbed! A photographer friend of mine who does ahh-mazing newborn photography posted a picture of a NB in a glass candy jar that was making its rounds on Pinterest with a fairly non-offensive comment of “I hope this is a composite, because this doesn’t feel safe to me.” She got a tremendous amount of backlash via social media. I have to admit, I agree with her & was completely shocked at some of the comments she received.

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  10. Daryl Sawatzky

    I agree 100%. Representing the client side here… I won’t buy another GFong product after reading some of his online rants. How can you slam other photographers practises while keeping you’re own nose clean? You cant! People who liked him might be turned off (like me), people who didn’t like him in the first place won’t be pursuaded that he’s “really a decent guy” by that behaviour, and people on the fence will have one more negative against him. Putting people down to raise yourself up simply doesn’t work.

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    • Brandon Perron

      It is a very valid point…and stretches beyond photography in general. Thank you for reading.

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  11. Ed Rhodes

    i think that there could be a place for awards on your social media sites. Especially for portrait and wedding photographers. If you have a shot that wins an award, posting about it and tagging the couple in it, can generate traffic to your site.

    What if a wedding shot you made won an award months later. you post the winning shot, and tag the bride/groom. It now pops into their friend’s feeds. That may lead to more work from folks that saw you in action on the wedding day, have seen the happy couple’s pictures, and now see that it has won an award.

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    • Brandon Perron

      I agree with this…it is why at the end, that I said, if you are going to post something award related, put some images with it…photos is the important…plus, people will want to see the image that won the award….but I do think this should be limited, as there are so many awards that are completely hollow and empty that carry no clout, clients can easily see through this.

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  12. Murray Severn

    I started thinking that you had it wrong at the beginning, but then by the end I was agreeing with you a bit. But as the others above have mentioned, personality is important. Sure, most of the people will gloss over your content if there’s a lot of stuff there that doesn’t interest them, but I’m sure most platforms would have some analytics that can show user interaction with your content and that can give you an indicator of what does and doesn’t work for your presence. It still needs to be good and relevant, but it also needs to be interesting and attractive.

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    • Brandon Perron

      You can add personallity with posts you make that have photos, talk about what made the shoot special or funny or whatever…but personality in almost all cases will be third to images and price. I know that is hard for some people to get on board with…but people are images, not a companion. :)

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  13. Kiel MacDonald

    I agree mostly, but what separates a good photographer with no followers and a mediocre photographer (like me) with a lot of followers (not me…sigh) is not necessarily the stream of photos they share… because personality, interest, and engagement are important for photographers who want to utilize social media… doing it correctly is also important (both on and offline).

    I think showing awards is the equivalent of showing a great photo. You are saying “look how good i am, come work with me or hire me”. Likewise if you post tech news, new gear you got, etc. it might relate to your audience (I know a few photographers I follow who have a majority of followers based on their photography lessons, gear talk, etc.) Just like everything else, know who your audience (or potential audience) is before you post. Making hard and fast rules like “never post this” or “only post these” will only cookie-cutter the web presence of photographers even more than it already is in my opinion.

    Lightning doesn’t strike a place that has no charge… keep your social media as a professional outlet but having some character is important too (imo).

    Sorry if this seemed rantish, as that wasn’t my intent, but be that as it may, it’ll probably come off that way :\

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    • Stan Rogers

      It depends on whether you want followers or customers. Posting tech, workshops and so forth is a great way to get an audience of photographers. Note: photographers won’t hire you because of the work you do, they’ll just look at the metadata and buy what you bought. Absolute numbers don’t mean anything.

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    • Brandon Perron

      People are very hip to how hollow and empty many things on the iwebz are. We are suspicious of stuff, that we can not verify with our own knowledge and experience. Couple’s can not relate to awards as they can not validate their legitimacy and so it doesn’t matter much.

      Again, if you have 2 photographers and one has 1 million awards and another that has zero…but the potential client likes the work of the photographer with no awards, it won’t matter to the client, they will want the images that they love the most. Photographers thinking that non-indusrty clients will let that be a big factor in their who they choose over the work they like, is purely our own inference of what we think they want.

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  14. Anders Madsen

    OK, I’ll bite. :)

    I agree that complaining and badmouthing others have no place ANYWHERE in a professional context, but I really feel that you are stripping out the “you” from your social media presence with some of your other suggestions, basically making it a marketing platform with no personality whatsoever.

    If that is the case, why on earth should anyone chose to follow you? To read about your next “2 for 1 but act NOW!”-campaign? No way anyone will stand for that for very long…

    In my view, your professional social media presence is where you let existing an potential customers get a glimpse of the person behind it all, and that is probably the fundamental disagreement here: I strongly believe that your personality is a much more determining factor for a customer than you, at least based on your statements above.

    Price and quality is important, but if your customers (potential or existing) likes YOU and feel comfortable around you, the competition will have a very hard time swaying them to their side. THAT is what social media is extremely useful for, not just another sales campaign.

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    • J D

      I agree. I hire people based not only on how good they are at their chosen profession but their human side too. I’m not one for a robotic, straight-forward business transaction. I am very social and like to chat and make people feel comfortable. Attitude and personality play a huge part in it for me and I expect people look for the same thing in me.

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    • Brandon Perron

      I agree to a point…but if you price is the same and your personality is better than another photographers, but your pictures are not near how much the couple loves the others photographers, I would say a vast majority will book the photographer with the images they love most.

      I am not saying leaving off the personality side, I think that comes through when you post images and talk about that specific shoot…but everything else is irrelevant and clients are looking for new friends when looking for a photographer, they want images. :)

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  15. James Rogen

    I actually know a photographer who refuses to friend other photographers because he likes to badmouth them on his facebook page, maybe he should read this article

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