Let’s get something up front: if you’re a competent photographer and willing to put in the work, earning money through your Instagram page is a realistic possibility. And while this probably won’t generate a full-time income, it can go some way to helping support your love of photography.
The easy assumption to make is: opportunities are only available to people with lots of followers. But this isn’t always the case. Why? Because it’s possible for anyone to develop in-demand photography skills and build an engaged audience within a targeted niche.
If you’re looking to earn money through Instagram, it’s best to view the platform as the ‘shop window’ for the service or product you’re offering.
This could be anything, but the most important thing is having your page specifically targeted to an audience. For example, a portrait photographer would seek to build trust and awareness of their portrait skills by sharing portrait photography content.
This approach applies for every style or genre, whether you’re targeting clients or customers, but be realistic about how your work can be leveraged for paid assignments.
Just taking great photos, or amassing lots of followers, doesn’t guarantee success. Indeed, for some it may, but it won’t for the overwhelming majority; especially when you consider the enormous number of talented photographers on the platform.
Pumping out lots of content isn’t enough. You have to ‘hustle’. By this, I mean being proactive about creating opportunities for yourself, not expecting inbound requests. If you sit back and wait for the phone to ring, it won’t.
To do this it’s important to identify potential clients, and seek to establish relationships with them - demonstrate how you can add value, show your capabilities and build trust i.e. share recommendations, case studies and relevant content you’ve created which aligns with their brand or organisation. There’s also influencer networks you can join and, photography agencies who will represent you to clients.
TYPES OF PAID ASSIGNMENTS
As mentioned above, if you’re looking secure business or sales through Instagram, start think of your profile as the ‘shop window’ for your services or product. This may include one or more of the following:
- Content creation: producing images for advertising or editorial use
- Sponsored posts: promote relevant products to your audience
- Licensing your photos: offering your images with specific usage rights
- Content strategy: working with companies and organisations to set objectives, drive a greater level of engagement or better communicate a specific message
- Blogging: creating blog content for those who don’t have resources or network reach
- Teaching: sharing your knowledge and experience with those that are keen to learn
- Prints: selling printed versions of your work
- Other: selling products and merchandise
The content you share with your audience will vary greatly depending on the type of services or products you’re offering. Some will choose to do this directly (sponsored posts, etc), whilst others will choose to do this indirectly by referring their audience to content away from the platform i.e. a personal website, portfolio or blog.
Ultimately, the way you approach this is very much a personal choice. But whatever you decide, ensure your content resonates with your most important clients or customers, and demonstrates your skills. Once you’re doing this consistently and building an engaged audience, there’s a world of possibility for any creator.
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