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The role of professional photographers can’t be underestimated in today’s digital world. With the digital media industry having exploded, thanks to the rise of startups and brick-and-mortar stores going online, the need for professional photographers is now more than ever.

Even though opportunities are in abundance for fashion photographers, sports photographers, and even wildlife photographers, it’s not easy to gain the confidence of agencies and organizations looking to hire professionals. Thus, well-paying gigs are available but are usually approved for those who have a good online presence, or rather an established personal brand. So, the question is- how do you create yours?

The following are some of the ways wildlife photographers are building their personal brand, and establishing a solid reputation via online presence.

How Wildlife Photographers are Building Their Personal Brand Online

Online Portfolio

Having an online portfolio is a must for every artist, whether they are an animator, writer, or photographer. However, not just any type of portfolio will do.

What you need is a professional and refined online portfolio platform that allows you to showcase your talent and skills in a presentable manner. Fortunately, there are many great websites to create portfolios for photographers that you can check out.

No matter which platform you choose, just make sure that you update your portfolio frequently and add new shots taken in noteworthy projects that can help build trust and credibility.

Making the Most of Instagram

You may hate Instagram like a lot of professional photographers do, but you can’t afford to ignore it when you want to build a strong online presence.

After all, it’s the ultimate social media platform to show off your skills, find your clients, and even connect with other professional photographers to expand your network.

The following are some of the ways you can make the most of Instagram:

Tags and Hashtags

Whenever possible, tag other users/accounts when you post your images. These users could other popular photographers or celebrities that were with you during different projects.

You should also tag the official accounts of the wildlife sanctuary parks, media group/organizations who appoint you for the projects. For instance, if you did a project for NatGeo, then you can tag them with @natgeochannel and @natgeowild, etc.

Also, make hashtags and geotags your best friends and use them liberally as these are one of the free ways to increase Instagram followers. So, if you shot some photos of a mountain lion, then you can use hashtags like #mountainlion #bigcats #fursforlife, etc.

Don’t forget to add the geotag too (you can enable the “add location” option in your settings so that Instagram automatically links the locations with your images).

Find, Follow, and Connect

Instagram is all about socializing. However, you have to be selective with whom you connect or interact. For the most part, you want to follow other wildlife photographers that you love.

You should comment on their uploads whenever appropriate and even share the posts you like to show that you respect their work. However, it should be heartfelt and not done just for the sake of it.

Run Contests

Contests, especially “giveaways” are a great way to earn a lot of followers in a short period. You can give away a photography-related book, camera accessory, or even goodies given to you by your sponsors etc.

Set up a Blog/Website

As a professional wildlife photographer, pictures are your strong suit. However, you need good writing to complement your talent too. For instance, when you upload your photos online, you want to use creative captions or short passages that shed light on the story behind a particular photograph. You can easily do this by creating a decent blog.

To build a personal brand, you must also have your own website to show professionalism, i.e. you mean business. There is a reason why all the famous wildlife photographers such as Renata Ewald, Gosia Makosa, Andy Rouse, etc. have their own websites.

Having a website also helps your clients find your contact details, sample works, your style, etc. Plus, you can sell your photos and other products such as ebooks on it easily.

Branding

An important thing to remember when building your blog and/or website is branding. And for that, the most basic yet an extremely important thing you need is a photography logo.

This is because it will be your brand’s emblem, something that will contain the essence of your entire business, your style, and qualities that make you special.

The recommended option for creating a logo is to use a good quality logo design program. Although there are plenty of these on the Internet, you should pick one that’s advanced and refined enough to help you create a unique logo easily but not at the cost of quality.

Waking Up Wild

Start Your Own YouTube Channel

YouTube can offer ample opportunities for your personal branding if you know the right steps. Although you are free to pick the content for your channel, what you really want to focus on is tutorials.

There are 2 reasons behind this. The first is that video tutorials are highly sought after and face limited competition. Also, you have the unique opportunity to showcase your expertise and style that can get your business from the potential clients watching the videos.

Some examples of helpful tutorials could be safety tips when encountering a grizzly bear, snake, etc, the best video and image formats for different types of projects, or a tutorial on shooing quality images in poor light.

Today is the Day to Get Started

It’s true that the Internet has opened many doors for the professional photographers. However, this also means that there is a lot of noise and competition too which is why the personal branding is extremely important for every budding wildlife photographer.

If you have never taken personal branding seriously, then today is as good as any to get started. You will be surprised by the positive changes it can bring. Good luck!

CAMERA GEAR WE RECOMMEND FOR WILDLIFE. CLICK PHOTO ↓

Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera

ZoMei Z818 Light Weight Heavy Duty Portable Travel Tripod

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    14 Comments

  1. Love that devil shot Meg!!!

    Blogging is hands down the best way to build a wildlife photographer brand because self-hosted WP blogs and content central. If you can create it online, you can present it via your blog. Also great for selling your shots and eBooks too; pure gold in that department. No way should anybody try to build anything online sans having a blog in their arsenal. Too valuable a tool to ignore.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan!! We were so captivated by the baby devils – there for hours taking shots – only issue was returning home to 3,000 + photos lol and having to choose the best / favorite ones 😀

      Totally agree that blogs and websites are fabulous online platforms to promote your portfolio and work. They’ve become quite essential now for anyone who wants to start developing a brand.

  2. I love your wildlife photography – great tips, it seems like any photographer has their own website.

    • Thank Paul, glad the post was helpful for you. Yes, a website is almost a necessity of being a photographer these days 🙂

  3. I always said I would never get swept up in the Instagram craze, though you’re no-one these days if you don’t have some type of presence. Not that I use it extensively for networking as most do, but it works well as a portfolio of work. I started finding that clients were asking for an Instagram handle before a business card. If you don’t keep up you’ll be left behind.

    • Instagram does seem to be the biggest trend for photographers at the moment. I agree that it’s a great way to display your work even if you’re not big on using the platform for networking and engagement 🙂

  4. This is so true, even oldschool veteran photographers have Facebook pages and websites now.

    • Yes absolutely – all our favorite wildlife photographers from the 90’s now have themselves set up on Facebook and Instagram, it’s still nice to flip through their picture books, but the medium is definitely now about being online.

  5. You’re not wrong about the noise. It’s honestly a bit intimating even thinking about starting an Instagram account, because there are so many incredible photographers out there and already a billion great shots of an eagle, or a polar bear, that sometimes it’s kind of like, is there even a point. Or you take a shot that you’re super proud of but then log on and realize there are a billion other people who have taken a better shot. I think the internet has actually killed my dream of being a wildlife photographer.

    • Sorry t hear that Aubrey 🙁 Yes, there’s definitely a lot of fierce competition out there, but don’t let that kill something you’re passionate about. I find that above everything, passion is what shines through and makes peoples work stand out, and while there is a crazy amount of competition, there’s also a lot of work, so even if you manage to carve out a small slice of the industry, that could still translate into a full time income 🙂

  6. Amazing devil shot!

  7. Favorite wildlife photographer is Andy Rouse, and he does a great job of keeping up an online presence – check out his website http://www.andyrouse.co.uk – he’s a great example of cultivating a personal brand.

    • Love his work too Li 🙂 And you’re right, Andy’s is a great example of a website. Thanks for sharing!

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