Facebook for Photographers
A best practices guide for photographers using Facebook, by Catherine Hall, with Kelly Torrez...
Facebook for Photographers By Catherine Hall with Kelly Torrez
About the Authors
CATHERINE HALL is an elite commercial, portrait, and wedding photographer
LOTUS CARROLL is a photographer and blogger living in Austin, TX. She is known for self portraits, but enjoys documenting the world by photographing everything from urban decay to landscape and sunsets. She enjoys using her art to elicit emotion in the viewer. A former student of psychology with two degrees, she is intrigued by both universal emotional concepts as well as the specific feelings of people who are viewing her photos.
audiences for over a decade. Her fine art photography has been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States, and international assignments have taken her to more than thirty countries on five continents. Catherine’s work regularly appears in leading editorial publications like the New York Times and National Geographic. Among her prestigious roster of commercial clients are industry leaders Pricewaterhouse Coopers, News Corp, Reuters, and John Deere. Her professional sponsorships include Epson, SanDisk, and Adobe. With nearly two million social media followers, industry leaders like Google, Macworld, and WPPI regularly seek her out as a speaker and judge. She is the former cohost and producer of TWiT Photo (named “Best New Tech Podcast”
author Catherine Hall
on iTunes) and the creator of Top Model Release, a revolutionary iOS app that digitizes and simplifies the model release process.
TREY RATCLIFF is a photographer, artist, writer and adventurer. Each day, Trey posts a new photo to his website StuckinCustoms.com, which receives over half a million monthly page views. Trey has over 9.5 million social media followers via. Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. His photos and stories capture the beauty of exotic travel destination and the humor of bizarre situations he often finds himself in. There is always something new, unexpected and beautiful to see.
Catherine is a driven perfectionist, unapologetic tech geek, and charismatic public figure. She loves dancing to electronic music, skiing bluebird powder days, and singing really loudly when no one is around. NICOLE S. YOUNG is a professional photographer and author based in Portland, Oregon. She has authored several books and eBooks and is best known for her book Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, published by Peachpit Press. Nicole creates commercial and editorial images for her stock portfolio on iStockphoto and Getty Images, and also works as a Photoshop Help Desk Specialist for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
KELLY TORREZ is a writer and blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a content driven individual, with a strong passion for social media, who has always been drawn to connecting with people through the creation of images and the written word. Kelly works as a marketing coordinator for Catherine Hall Studios.
c0-author Kelly Torrez
Facebook for Photographers | 3
by Catherine Hall
The camera is, and always has
culture of online sharing and
been, the lens through which I
social media. The world changed
understand the world. It dictates
drastically when digital hit the
my choices on nearly everything:
scene. Cameras are now carried
from friends to career to travel.
everywhere. These cameras, aka
This passion to participate in life
cell phones, can be seen jammed
through my lens resulted in stuffed
in pockets, purses, and messenger
bags. Everybody is suddenly an
bursting at the seams, overflowing
accidental photographer; telling
with prints and negatives. I had
our life stories using images rather
fallen victim to the curse of all film
than words. Social media has
photographers: image hoarding.
driven this evolution. Images no
Although a chosen few images
longer suffer life in the depths of
climbed above the legions and
archaic file cabinets; instead they
made it into my private portfolio to
are shared worldwide easily and
share with loved ones, the amateur
regularly. This profound change in
photographer’s version of show
photographic history has created
and tell, the long journey toward
new opportunity for us all. My
brand exposure and recognition
advice? Share often and share
is why now, more than ever, I am thankful for the pervasive
Facebook for Photographers | 5
Personally, I choose to have both a Profile with Follow enabled, and a Page. This allows me to maintain existing personal relationships with my personal profile, and to further my professional
Create a Page or Enable Follow Whether you enable Follow on your existing profile or create a Page for your photography, both are powerful tools for sharing your imagery and growing your audience on Facebook. Here are
exposure to potential followers and friends through my business page. While some people wish to engage with me personally and others prefer to visit my professional Page, I want to be available in the mode through which they feel most comfortable.
some things to consider in deciding whether to use Follow or a Page or both:
People who follow your Page or Profile will be exposed to your content in their News Feed and
• PROFILE WITH FOLLOW
specific mini feeds, where they will be able to interact with, and re-share the content. News Feed
Follow enables you to grow your audience on Facebook through your existing profile. When
is personalized for each user and sorts the top content they are most likely to interact with by
you enable Follow, people interested in your photography will be able follow you and receive
looking at four primary factors:
your public updates in their news feeds. Every time you post, you get to choose with whom it’s shared. When you make a post public, followers will get it in news feed. • PAGES Some photographers choose to setup a Page to promote their work or business. People
• USER ENGAGEMENT How much engagement the post has received, and its freshness • POST ENGAGEMENT How much engagement the post has received, and its freshness
interested in your work can simply like the Page to connect with it and receive updates from it in their news feeds.
• CONTENT TYPE If a user interacts with photos more often, they’ll see more photos • NEGATIVE FEEDBACK Whether the post has been hidden by users or marked as spam To keep up with updates to News Feed changes, check out this blog. Users are also able to get your content through mini feeds such as Photos, Most Recent or Following, which show content in chronological order. These feeds give users other ways to discover your photos in real-time.
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Optimize Your Profile or Page
(i.e. facebook.com/CatherineHall242) and if it’s an option use capitalization rather than periods for readability (i.e. facebook.com/AwesomePhotography vs. facebook.com/awesome. photography). You must first have a minimum of 25 friends or Likes to have a unique URL. To
Whether you create a Page or use Follow on your Profile, it’s important to make sure that people
get your unique URL, go to facebook.com/username
are not only able to easily find you but also learn more about you once they do. Your Page and Profile should feel like a reflection of your photography’s essence and not a generic business
Best Reflect Your Brand
account. By optimizing your presence in the early stages, it will set you up for long term success
You know it’s true: only post exceptional images that boost your brand’s image.
on Facebook. • PROFILE PHOTO
Page Name & Unique URL If you’ve decided on using your Profile and enabling Follow, than you will be associating your personal name as your brand. If you’re setting up a separate Page, however, you’ll likely name
Choose a photo that is shoulders up so that people can easily recognize and see your face -even in smaller sizes on mobile devices. • COVER PHOTO
the Page after your business. Whatever you do, keep it simple and select a URL that is most
Use a cover that evokes the professional quality of your work. The Cover Photo can be a great
consistent with the Page name. A few tips when selecting the name and URL that will enable you
way to showcase your most recent photos or projects, but keep it authentic and don’t make
be more findable:
it overly promotional. Contact information or website details should be left for the “About”
• PAGE NAME
section of your Page or Profile. People aren’t coming to Facebook to see a commercial.
Think of picking a name as a long-term investment in your brand. The key is to use something that is lasting and memorable (once you’ve reached 250 Likes, you won’t be able to change the name so it’s a important decision that should be made carefully). Keep it simple and short. For example, avoid using symbols and leave the descriptions or taglines for the “About” section of your Page. Keep in mind how people will likely search for you. Will they look for your personal name? Your company name? • UNIQUE URL Choose a URL that is concise, professional and consistent with Page name. Similarly to the Page name, pick something that will work long term. Avoid using numbers 8
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Fill Out Bio & Contact Information
Whether you’ve created a Page or are using your Profile, you want to make sure that
If you’re going to use your Profile to engage with a broader audience and to grow your
people are able to learn more about you and have a clear way of getting in touch
followers, you have to make sure your Profile settings are set up properly. Here are
with you if they’re interested in your work. This will also make your Page and Profile
some settings to consider adjusting on your Profile:
more findable in Graph Search. • FILL OUT ABOUT SECTIONS On your profile, this means having your “work/employment” information filled out as well as your “About Me” bio. Think of this information as a cover letter or a simplified version of your business resume. You want potential clients to know just how great you or your business is. • CONTACT INFORMATION Display clearly all business-contact information (website, phone, email etc.). (Note: On Profiles, you may have to adjust the visibility of your Contact information for it to be visible to non-friends. More on that in the sub-section below on Profile settings.) • LOCATION INFORMATION Location information: If you have a physical address for your business, include it in the Page information. For Pages, this will enable users to tag your location in a “check-in” as well as write a recommendation about your business. Your business will also surface in the “Nearby” section on Facebook for users looking for local recommendations. If you don’t have a physical location, at least include
• PUBLIC SEARCH If you want to make sure your Profile is findable on and off Facebook, enable public search in your Follow settings. • ABOUT SECTION VISIBILITY You may have your About section filled out, but hidden to non-friends. When clicking the “edit” button various sections, each one will have a privacy icon showing you who it’s visible to. Adjust to “public” what you want followers to see. • COMMENT SETTINGS When you enable Follow, you’ll notice in the settings there is an option to adjust who is able to comment on the public posts. To enable followers to comment on your public comments, set the setting to “everyone.” • POST AUDIENCE On each piece of content you create, you’ll be able to adjust who is able to see the post. To publish a photo that followers get in their News Feed, make sure to select “public” in the privacy drop-down of the post. You can always change the setting on any post retroactively.
where you’re based.
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Grow Your Following
Show Other Photographers Love Most marketing-savvy photographers not only share their own work, but also the work of others.
Start With Your Friends Your relationships with friends, colleagues and clients on your existing Facebook profile can help draw attention to your new business Page. Don’t spam all your friends with an untargeted suggestion, but instead suggest the Page only to friends who you know will be interested in the content as well as posting a status update telling your friends about the Page, encouraging them to connect with it.
Obviously the content you share should be work you truly find inspirational and not just an attempt to gain gratitude. If you show other photographers love, they will be much more likely to do the same.
Add Follow & Like Buttons To Your Website Leverage your website to grow your following by adding the Follow button or Page Like button. The buttons, which
Update Regularly With Fresh Content People will discover you organically through the content you post. Each time you post something, people already connected with you or your Page will have the opportunity to interact with it in News Feed. This creates the potential for their friends to see that interaction in their News Feeds and connect with your Page. Posting engaging content regularly enables more viral discovery of your page and its content.
are linked to your Facebook profile or Page, enable your clients and people interested in your photography to follow you or like your Page on Facebook without leaving your site. It’s easy to install the buttons with simple embed code, which you can find and customize
Engage Authentically With Your Network
on the Social Plugins page.
Communication on Facebook is not a one-way street, so go ahead and go outside of your own
If you run a website using WordPress
Profile for at least a few minutes each day, and support others. Even the smallest thing such
as your content management system,
as liking a post or commenting on a photo can show that you care and are interested in others.
you can also take advantage of the
Above all, remember to be genuine. Fake praise or commentary will not help generate user
Facebook plugin, which includes the
engagement and will likely hurt you rather than help you. Additionally, if you’re taking the time
Follow and Like buttons and makes
to post, take the time to spend a few minutes to respond to people who comment. This keeps the
integrating them into your website
conversation flowing and shows people that you respect their time and insight.
Facebook for Photographers | 13
Tips For Sharing Photos on Facebook
Content is King Ultimately, content is king, so think about what you are posting – Is it something you would click on if you were scrolling through your own News Feed? If the answer is no, find what it is lacking, and get to work on solving it. Your understanding of how to post and what to post will develop as your following grows, and you see trends of what they are most responsive to.
As photographers we have an incredible advantage when it comes to posting engaging content. Photos are among the most popular types of content on Facebook. There are hundreds of millions uploaded by Facebook users every day. Facebook embraces the value of imagery and now displays photos more prominently and beautifully than ever. Image compression quality is increasing and streamlined layouts house photos within sleek black borders, giving you and your photography a prime platform to attract and engage your growing audience.
“If you want engagement, don’t ignore comments and likes. Answer questions, like/reply to
Photos on Facebook are essentially your lifeline on the network. Share with pride and remember to always keep your followers wanting more.
comments, and return the favor when you have time. And clean
up spam in your comments.
Post high quality photographs. Yes, you can use
It makes other commenters
images captured on Instagram, but they should be
feel more welcome and comfortable on your post.” –Lotus Carroll
well lit, composed, and processed. The bottom line is; if you are an image-maker, the expectations are going to be higher for you–so post content that consistently stands-out as superior amongst the sea of vacation snapshots. Everything you show and say on Facebook directly reflects your brand and others’ perception of your professionalism. ©Lotus Carroll | Instagram has become critical tool for social photography. You can sync your Instagram account to post directly to your Facebook Profile or Page with your followers.
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Edit If you learn nothing else from this guide, please learn the value of EDITING your work. Instead of posting ten good images of the same subject matter, just pick one or two GREAT ones. When you maintain high quality standards, your following begins to see a trend of greatness in your posts, and let’s admit it, everyone wants to be a part of something great. The biggest challenge photographers face when editing own work is that we are far from objective. Nine times out of ten, we will pick a shot that required a lot of effort over an image that may have been easy to capture but carries more artistic merit. At the end of the day, we are terrible at editing our own work! (Hence the reason why commercial photography outlets have editors buffering photographers from clients!) I recommend doing an initial broad edit on your own and then sharing the images with a select group of people whose opinion you respect. I cannot tell you how many times my favorite images has been rejected by colleagues. Despite how great you may believe an image to be, if everyone else thinks it’s weak, majority rules. Your body of work is only as good as your weakest image. Consistently strong images will always impress your followers much more than a blast of mediocrity, clogging people’s News Feeds (ticket to being un-followed!)
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Tell the Story
When you have a strong group of high-quality selects from a specific shoot, make them
People love to hear the story behind a
last. Resist the urge to post a bunch of similar content at once (even if you are really
photograph. Including a thoughtful, well-
excited about it). For example, if you take a trip to Europe and get 25 incredible shots
written description will promote further
(which by the way is a lot, as epic shots are hard to come by), definitely don’t post them
connection with you and your work. Get
all at once. Instead, stagger the release of images so that the content remains fresh,
creative with your storytelling—readers
engaging, and new to your audience. You could easily post this content over a time
love the details that make an experience
period of at least a year, sharing an image every couple weeks. People will think you
unique. Just keep it brief; which is more
are quite the world traveler.
challenging than you may think!
More than often a powerful image is accompanied by and equally incredible story. Don’t leave people guessing; share the details of the shot and what it took to capture what you are displaying in front of them.
Offer USEFUL Advice If a large proportion of your audience is photographers, the spotlight is on you to engage with your audience and build your following by sharing tips, tricks-of-the-trade, and tutorials. Any valuable information you can offer to your community will be greatly appreciated, and they will most likely look forward to hearing more. I often make a point to explain my method for capturing a particular image—my audience seems to really Resist the urge to post a bunch of similar content at once (even though you are really excited about it). The images above were both from the same shoot, but shared almost a year a part from each other.
enjoy these anecdotes. The explanation can be short, as long as it is interesting, which shouldn’t be difficult, because I doubt you would have bothered taking a photo of something that was not interesting in the first place.
Tips and tricks can come from a wide variety of sources. Consider things you read outside Facebook that you can then share with your followers. Above is an example from Trey on the pros /cons of watermarking. Facebook for Photographers | 19
Watermarking: To Sign or Not to Sign
Thumbnails on Shared Links… Size Matters
For my professional needs, the watermark is an integral
Thumbnails are automatically generated when sharing a link from an outside source, such as blog or video. This
necessity of my business and, essentially, is my artistic
is a great feature when it comes to convenience; however, tiny thumbnail photographs lack impact. And when
e-signature. When I consider the time and energy that goes
a link doesn’t have a thumbnail at all, it will weaken the effectiveness of the post. In fact, in a recent study by
into the creation of an image I find the addition of a small,
Facebook that looked at media Facebook Pages, links with thumbnails received 65% more likes than link shares
non-obtrusive mark to be professionally necessary. On the
without a thumbnail. The study also found that link shares that included a teaser received 20% more clicks than
other hand, many photographers find the opposite to be true.
links without. What does this all mean? When you drop a link you want to share and you see the link preview,
They see watermarks as distracting and destructive. Too often,
make sure it has a strong thumbnail and that you write a great teaser to intrigue your followers. For maximum
photographers feel compelled to use oversized, flashy logos as
impact I upload a photograph taking advantage of the entire viewing window, and then include the link in the
a means of deterring other Internet users from stealing their
images. Don’t let the thought of someone stealing your work compel you to ruin your images with obtrusive watermarks
Be Authentic and Transparent
or deter you from posting on Facebook at all. Sharing your
As a natural people-pleaser, I initially faced great challenge to
images online is a small risk to gamble for the exposure your
build a substantial following. I sought to offend no one and, in
images will receive when posted on a social network. In the
the process, succeeded in being incredibly boring. Listen up: If
worst-case scenario, if someone is audacious enough to steal
you ask people to take time out of their busy lives to engage your
your work, the best option is to register copyrights to protect
social-media presence, then you’d better make it interesting. Share
your intellectual property, and take legal action if you deem it
meaningful work, laughable stories, sincere fears and insecurities.
necessary. Hiding your images simply because you don’t want
Don’t be afraid to share your opinions and be uniquely personal.
them stolen isn’t smart business.
This doesn’t mean you need to address controversial topics such as religion and politics, and it doesn’t mean falling into the TMI trap. It simply means confidently manifesting your unique presence
Your watermark should be a symbol of your already-established brand. Place the watermark in a manner that is unobtrusive to the subject of the image, that doesn’t consume the entire frame.
© Nicole S Young
“I do my best to make it so the watermark does not overpower the photo – the ones I use are usually
online. You will find out that you can’t always please everyone with everything you post. Yet, having a strong, but small number of loyal followers who feel deeply connected to you is infinitely better than tons of indifferent, tuned-out followers.
small, and sometimes even blended into the background so it’s not the first thing you look at.” –Nicole S Young 20
Facebook for Photographers | 21
Consider Your Audience When Posting If you’re a children photographer, your target viewer is likely family members; therefore,
• Your overall engagement: Both positive and negative. Click on the engaged users number
you will get the most traction if you post during the school day or in the evening, right after
of an individual post and be sure to not only check the positive engagement metrics (likes,
the kids have been put to bed. Over time you will be able to analyze the efficacy of your
comments, clicks, etc.) but also the amount of negative feedback that the post received, which
posts during different time windows (experiment!), and develop a posting schedule that is
consists of people who have hid your post in Feed or marked it as spam.
most advantageous for you and your type of photography. And use Facebook’s invaluable analytics tools to help you determine your posting strategy by analyzing your audience and keep in mind that more than 80% of Facebook users are outside of U.S. and Canada, so don’t ignore your international followers.
• How to adapt your strategy: Reach is important, but you want to know how many fans are engaged. Track the posts that get the most engagement and adapt your strategy to capitalize on those results.
Share Timely Content If I am sharing something newsworthy or time sensitive, I always make sure to post as quickly as possible to retain relevancy. Your Profile shouldn’t be a reflection of the fluctuations of your busy life. If you know the upcoming weeks will be hectic, create a few posts or photos that you can easily share throughout the week. Don’t let your Facebook Page go unattended or thoughtlessly throw up inferior content to post simply for posting’s sake.
Use Facebook Insights & Iterate Your Strategy Check-in with Facebook’s Page Insights tool at least once a week. Everything you post is tracked and analyzed, showing what is and isn’t popular with fans. This data will help you determine the following: • Types of posts that attract greatest interaction (photos, videos, status updates) • Who your audience is: Demographic breakdowns including age, gender and location will give you a sense of who your audience is.
Facebook for Photographers | 23
Use Scheduling Tool on Pages To Keep Fans Updated
Know How to Use Albums & Timeline
You may not always be able to manually update your Page, but want to keep your fans updated
Using Albums on Facebook is an easy way to not only keep your photos organized but also enable
with your work. The scheduling tool on Pages can enable you to keep your fans engaged with
targeting sharing by pointing potential clients to specific albums that are most relevant to them.
consistent and timely posts. When scheduling a post, you can choose to schedule future dates that will automatically appear in your timeline. You can also backdate posts that will populate on your timeline to the date you specify. How to access your Page’s scheduling tool: • Choose the type of content you wish to share (photo, status, video).
If you shoot different genres of photography, showcase your work in separate albums with appropriate titles. If you’re an avid traveler or have another interesting talent this would be the place to share it. When choosing a cover for an album, don’t choose anything intricately detailed, as the image will not resonate sufficiently at its small size, and the detailing will not be showcased.
• Click the clock icon and a drop-down menu will let you plug in the time, day, month and year you wish to schedule. • Posts can be scheduled up to six months in advance in 15 minute intervals.
Tag Clients & People Associated With Your Images Tagging gives you the potential opportunity to reach thousands of people. When you tag someone you’re not only sharing with your followers, but also all the friends of the people you tag. This can create massive exposure for your photography. To tag someone in the text of an update, simply use @ and start typing the person’s name or Page you want to tag. When you see the suggestion you want to tag, click it or hit enter and it will create a link to that person’s Page or profile. You can also tag people or Pages in the photo itself, but clicking the “tag” option of a photo.
The image on the left is a good example, where the subject in the photo on the right is too small in thumbnail form to maintain impact.
Facebook for Photographers | 25
Album Tips • ALBUMS ARE PORTFOLIOS Edit wisely as they are only as good as their weakest image! • CHOOSE A POWERFUL ALBUM COVER When choosing an album cover photo, an image with too much detail will not resonate sufficiently at its small size. Make sure the album cover images that are viewed first are enticing enough to make followers want to click through and view the entire album. When a user’s mouse hovers over your album they will be able to view a slideshow of the first five images within the album. • ORGANIZE YOUR ALBUM Go to ‘Album Options’ menu and click edit. You can then drag photos into optimal display order. You can also drag photos and move them around by simply going into the album. You can also move photos from other albums into the relevant album they belong in. • SHOW THE BEST IMAGE FIRST Arrange your albums to always display your most powerful body of images first, to ensure you grab viewer’s attention. • POST YOUR BEST WORK You don’t have to post every single photo you’ve ever shot; as a professional photographer, your albums are not a personal archive. If you shoot an assignment or project and aren’t happy with the outcome, don’t post the photos. Work that doesn’t reflect a strong aesthetic will only diminish the overall quality of your portfolio/ body of work. • HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS YOU WANT TO EMPHASIZE If you want to make an individual photo the focal point of an album, click the star icon to enlarge the photo’s size in the album view. This gives you the ability to emphasize your strongest images and shape the storytelling aspect of the album.
© Trey Ratcliff
“Show your best images first in your albums” –Trey Ratcliff
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Timeline Your timeline is a reflection of your identity as a photographer and individual. It offers a lot of control in how you present yourself. Here are some key features to take advantage of:
• STARRING STORIES Hover over the story you want to star and click H. Starring stories lets you highlight what you think is important. Starred stories are highlighted on your timeline and include a star banner.
• MILESTONES Timeline allows users to archive life events with a large image, date and caption. You can add milestones anywhere,
great for backdating. Let’s say you took a few incredible shots a several years back at a New Years Eve party, mark it with a milestone and image. Backdating allows you to go back a number of years in order to give your
© Trey Ratcliff
Page and/or Profile depth and history.
“Take your favorite
Remember, people love a good story,
photos and click that little “Star” - that makes
even if it is from years past.
them nice and wide
• PINNING POSTS With the pin tool, make your most newsworthy
across your timeline.” –Trey Ratcliff
content stay at the top of your timeline for seven days. This feature helps users find the information you find to be most important.
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Photos on Mobile Facebook Mobile is an important tool in how you will update your fans and share content on Facebook. It’s also the way that most of your fans and followers will engage with your content on Facebook, on their mobile devices. It’s important to keep this in mind when you share content.
Pages Manager If you use a Page to interact with fans and share your photos, you can use the Pages Manager mobile app to update and respond to fans while you’re on the go. The app also makes it easy to track your progress and Page growth from your mobile device. Learn more about the app in the Help Center.
Sync Photos from Your Mobile Device You can sync photos from your mobile device to a private folder on your Facebook account that you can share from later. To start syncing your photos, first make sure you have the latest version of the Facebook app installed on your phone. You can sync up to 2 GB of photos. If you have an iPhone, you’ll need to be using iOS 6. To enable it from the app: • Go to your photos app. • Tap Photos. • Tap Sync at the bottom of your photos section. Follow the step-by-step instructions.
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