Monday, April 25, 2011

Facebook For Photographers

Picture of a woman executive with her head surrounded by binary numbers representing an overload of information and data.
Social Media including Facebook, Twitter and Linked In have become part of the vast over supply of information that is bringing me to my knees!

How To Promote Your Photography Business With Facebook
For the past week I have been trying to figure out how to use Facebook to promote my photography business…and to no avail. I feel a huge amount of pressure to come up with an answer because of the overwhelming success and growth of social media, and of Facebook in particular.  Facebook, it appears, can be good for some photographers, but for my particular needs…well, I just don’t see the value…yet.

Facebook For Wedding Photographers
The most obvious use of Facebook for a photography business seems to me to be for wedding photographers. A wedding photographer can upload the wedding images to Facebook and tag the individuals in the photos. All of those tagged people, who have Facebook accounts (isn’t that everyone?) well then see those photos. Some might order additional prints, and some might decide to use said photographer for their own nuptials. 

Art Directors, Art Buyers and Client Relationships
Facebook might also be useful for keeping up a relationship with clients, art directors, art buyers, designers and so forth. If I were doing assignments I would seriously consider shooting, or having my assistant shoot, behind the scenes shots that I could then post on Facebook with tags to the individuals in the shoot. Even the account executives could be tagged. Those behind the scene photos could help cement a relationship.  Got to be careful though…just in case there is something of a proprietary nature going on at the shoot. Facebook could be a double-edged sword if one doesn’t proceed with caution.

Facebook Fan Pages
I have started a fan page…well, two fan pages, on Facebook. I have a fan page for my funny cat, dog and other animal photos, and a fan page for my photography business in general. My reasoning is twofold: If Facebook does prove to be important I want to at least have my feet wet; and who knows, maybe, particularly with the pet photography, there are people out there searching Facebook for the kind of images I make. It can’t hurt, right?

The Cost of Opportunity
Actually, in a way it could hurt. Where it could hurt is in the cost of opportunity. That is, the time I spend on Facebook is time that I can’t spend elsewhere.  I know that time I put into my SEO efforts, into uploading new material onto my web site…and potentially more important, time I put into creating new imagery, is earning me a return on that investment. I understand the dynamics of ranking highly on search engines and I experience people finding me, licensing my images, buying prints (sold two yesterday), and buying imprinted merchandise after finding me on those search engines.  I keep going back to the thought that when someone is searching for a stock photo, whether they know what a stock photo is or not, the overwhelming odds are that they will be using Google and not Facebook.  I do have to admit, though, I have not been putting a lot of time into my fan pages. Worse, I am still confused about how to use them, upload and link things, and execute basic functions. Is it just me, or is Facebook a little less than intuitive? Geez, in putting my Facebook fan page links up, just now, I clicked on something and I think I lost my main Facebook page altogether!!! Oh well...I'll deal with that later....

Stock Photographers And Facebook
Being a stock photographer, particularly one who rarely licenses his own work (almost all of my stock photos are with agencies), I just am not seeing much potential for me on Facebook. I will continue to dabble in it, and keep my eyes open for photographers who are making it work for them. Along those lines, if any of you reading this have any knowledge of Facebook proving valuable in advancing the career of a stock photographer, or heck, any photographer, I would love to hear about it!


Alistair Kerr Photography said...

I think having a presence on Facebook is almost essential these days, will it bring in any new work or sell any stock, maybe. I've got a couple of clients who use Facebook, they even inform me of new work that's coming my way but that's where it stops. Mostly people watching my business page are friends, I've not bothered advertising the page yet, other than including a link on my blog and also on my e-mail signature, at this point I can only see people interested in photography wanting to view or like the page. Do clients actively trawl through the thousands of photographers pages on Facebook to find a photographer they want to work with, I very much doubt it.
Facebook seems to work for the high profile photographers, Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias and a few others, Chase is shifting his iPhone photo books and Zack is probably selling his one-light magazine and filling his workshops, but I'd love to know how much new client work either of them gets though this social media monster.
Maybe Facebook's ultimate goal is to turn into a kind of social yellow pages for business, can't see it working that way just yet.
I wish you the best of luck struggling to workout if having a business presence on Facebook is worthwhile, I think we need to be there, but I think we aren't sure why, or if it's really worth spending a huge amount of energy, time and money on.

Jaak Nilson said...


You are absolutely right. Facebook is pretty pointless for stock photographers.
But there is an one big point too. Traffic to your page. If your visitors are active then they are looking and clicking your photos. Thanks for clicks your photos or galleries will be better and higher positions in Google search. It may give you a better sales.
Your funny animal photos with short comments will be probably very popular on FB wall.
There is one more question. It is pretty complicated to hold a personal page and fan page separately. Because you are an one man band. It is not easy to keep different pages if you are a businessman and citizen in one person. I tried, but not very successfully.
Of course Facebook is good for wedding and studio photogrphers. Good for landscape photogrphers who sell prints.

Carl D said...

Hey John

All of what you said could be said equally of having a blog. All of these things are tools; how you employ them is up to you. :)



John Lund said...


Thanks for you input...if I ever do figure things out I will post it!


John Lund said...


Yeah, trying to handle three Facebook pages, twitter, a Blog, SEO and create images gets to be a bit much!



John Lund said...


The blog gets indexed by Google right away and is a lot easier for me to deal with. I actually enjoy writing for the blog too. If I had to take one or the other it would be the blog. That being said, got to keep an eye on Facebook!