One of the great satisfactions of photography is to receive praise for the quality of your work. When people recognise both the creativity and technical ability that you have put into getting an image, it acts as inspiration for you to do even better.
However, as you may have noticed, getting yourself seen to the wider world is increasingly difficult these days. Groups, forums and gallery sites are awash with imagery, some good, quite a lot mediocre. Sadly a lot of the mediocre work tends to rise to the top because the “photographer” is much more skilled with social media than with a camera.
So, how can you get your good photography seen above those that are more successful self-marketers? Ironically, one way is to use video. Not to shoot video as an alternative to photography but as a way to promote your photography. Today we are going to look at using video sites to boost your profile.
Sites like Youtube are an extremely good way to get seen. However, you need to post regularly and with consistent content. The more your videos are liked and shared, the more your profile will be raised.
Not every video has to be a winner, but if you find a niche that your audience relates to, you will soon see your channel getting many more views. So, as a photographer, what type of videos should you be uploading?
Photographic Shoot Vlogs
If you are the type of person that does regular shoots either indoors or outside, then shooting a video blog or Vlog can be a great way to increase your profile. New photographers often struggle to understand the inner workings of a shoot and so showing them how you go about it can be extremely helpful.
You can start a Vlog the night before a shoot, perhaps showing how you charge and prepare all your equipment. Then you might cut to travelling and setting up the shoot before showing the shoot itself.
Of course, this can be time-consuming but even if you work alone, you can Vlog using a smartphone, gimbal and mini tripod. You can leave your smartphone recording whilst shooting and narrate the process using a wireless mic.
Rather than Vlogging an actual shoot, another way you can engage with an audience is to record tutorials on how to shoot various subjects. If your speciality is, for example, macro, you might demonstrate how you capture insects on flowers. As a landscape photographer, you might show how to darken skies using ND filters.
The material you can use for a shoot tutorial is virtually endless but make sure you are methodical and show your full workflow in a clear and logical way. Concentrate on your core skills and you will produce engaging videos that should boost your profile.
Post Production Tutorials
If you are a little shy in front of the camera but are a whizz in Photoshop or Lightroom then post-production tutorials can be a great way to boost your profile. You will need a microphone, some screen-casting software and a little expertise.
It's a good idea to script or at least outline your tutorials and to cut out pauses, and uhms and errs but this is a relatively simple task. Post-production tutorials can be simple to produce and get online quickly.
Gear reviews are another great way to boost your profile. If you have recently bought some new equipment it’s well worth recording your thoughts to video. You need to be objective about what you review, telling the audience what you don’t like as well as what you do. They will appreciate your honesty.
If your gear reviews are successful, you may find companies offering you products for review. Sometimes these will be for a few days loan, other times they might allow you to keep the product. However, if a company does send you a product to review you must state it in the video.
Some reviewers refuse to test anything they have not bought themselves. That way they can maintain the highest integrity.
Portfolio Slide Show
If you just wish to show off your work, then you can upload slideshows to video sites. You can put your portfolio to music or choose different themes from your photography. Don’t make the slideshow too long, 2-4 minutes maximum. Also, make sure you use music that you have either bought a license for, or that is released under creative commons. This will prevent any copyright strikes again you.
Using Video Site: Some Tips
The biggest video site is, of course, Youtube and it is here that you should concentrate your efforts. Youtube has some pretty good algorithms that determine how good videos are and promoting them to be seen by more people.
The key to Youtube is to post regularly and frequently. Your content should be consistent, if you are building a photography channel do not post personal or home videos, stay on brand.
Keep your videos short, even tutorials. Most Youtube users do not want to sit around for hours watching your production. Aim for about 15 minutes as a maximum and 3-4 minutes as a minimum. It’s worth investing in a brief intro video based around your logo to give your videos a brand.
Remember one of the keys to success is sharing your video. Make sure you share to all your major social media accounts, as well as blogging on your own portfolio website. If you feel the content is good enough then also post to groups and forums. Be sure to check the group rules first to make sure you are not stepping on someone’s toes.
You should allow comments on your videos and reply to those comments. At some time during each video, invite your viewers to like share and subscribe to your channel. This will increase your subscription base and improve your video’s ratings. Try to avoid too much controversy, downvotes can reduce your overall popularity.
Apart from Youtube, Vimeo has a good reputation as a professional platform. It has fewer viewers than Youtube but those that it does have tend to be more focussed on the arts and creative fields. It also as a pay-to-view system that allows you to monetise your videos.
Why Video Sites?
- A good way to increase social media engagement
- You can show your passion for photography
- You get to help others learn photography
- Creating video can also boost your own confidence.
You don’t need expensive equipment to produce for video sites. Your current camera will almost certainly be good enough for HD content and if you own a half decent smartphone, that also can make a good camera for creating content.
One area where you might invest some money is in a decent microphone. You will want either a directional mic that sits on top of your camera, a lavalier microphone that you plug into your smartphone, or a USB desktop mic if you are planning to do screencasts. None of these are particularly expensive but they will drastically increase the quality of the sound in your videos.
If your channels takes off, other things you can consider are green screens and video lighting systems.
Creating video is a great way to boost your online presence. It will take a dedication, regular and consistent uploads and engaging content but with perseverance, you should soon find your profile across all social media platforms increasing.