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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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