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PHOTOBUG

Instagrammers to Follow – October

October 19, 2017 | carrie

Photo by Wyn Wiley

Whether you’re in need of redefining your approach to Instagram or you’re just looking for a few inspiring accounts to follow, we’ve got you covered with this month’s edition of Instagrammers to Follow! Find out how to make the most of your time on the gram as well as who your peers are following for inspiration. Big thanks to this month’s Instagrammer crew for shedding light on this ever-changing platform and for sharing your lovely work with us!

Shelly Anderson@shellbellanderson

Instagram has affected my business in such an inspiring way! I look at it as my up-to-date portfolio. I try to post images from shoots a day or two after they happen. It shows clients that I’m constantly working at my craft, and excited about it. I often look back at my own feed and smile when I see all the images of recent shoots that I’m proud of. I think photographers should look at Instagram as a true representation of what your clients will get out of their experience shooting with you. I try to post images that show what I love to shoot, as well as how I love to shoot. Before a session, I tell my clients that we will be moving a lot and that I try to capture their candid reactions and emotions. I also tend to edit on the warm side, so my feed reflects that. Happy, genuine, and all the warm fuzzy feels!

I found that a lot of people find my account from other venues or vendors I tag. Inquiring brides might be scrolling through their future venue’s images and see that you recently shot there. I get a lot of inquiries that way! Posting constantly also seems to get me a lot of engagement, although I admit I probably need to work on this more! I also try to post a photo from my clients’ wedding with their hashtag the morning after their big day. That way when their guests are just waking up, they scroll through the hashtag and see my image right away!

My most popular post was an engagement shoot in Joshua Tree. My average post likes on an image are around the 200-400 mark, and for some reason, this image got almost 2k! There could be a million reasons why this particular image was so adored; beautiful couple, perfect sunset, fun location, candid pose. Ironically though, I had a LOT of comments on where Vicki got her dress from! I tried to reply to everyone the name of the boutique where she found the dress and quickly realized that followers scroll through Instagram looking for inspiration the same way they do on Pinterest. I started tagging, hashtagging, and commenting a lot more of wedding dress designers, as well as vendors and venues, after that post.

Personally, I love to follow backpackers and travelers’ Instagrams! Even though I am not a landscape photographer, and don’t aspire to be one, I LOVE scrolling through adventure posts. (I also follow a lot of thru-hiker accounts!) It keeps my mind happy and is a beautiful distraction from the wedding and editorial posts.

Blake Hogge@blakehogge

Instagram has completely changed every aspect of my business. It’s free advertising really. Thanks to Instagram’s new update, I was able to create a poll & ask my future & past brides how they find their wedding photographers. 87% of them said social media. If you want to be in this industry, you HAVE to be using Instagram. You have to put the time into Instagram if you want to get the ideal clients you are looking for because the majority are using social media to find their photographer. It is a lot of work to keep up with Instagram and you have to ignore the numbers because that does not define talent, your work does.

If you are wanting to use Instagram as a tool you need to post every single day. I noticed the more I posted obviously, the more people saw my posts. I also tagged feature accounts to help grow my audience and sometimes they would repost my photos. Hashtags are also big. I actually found the right hashtags to use through Junebug Weddings (The Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Guide). If you use the right hashtags for the audience you are trying to reach, it is easier for those people to find you. Also what has helped me is not to pay attention too much to the numbers. Like I said earlier, numbers don’t define talent and you have to think of each number as an actual person because they are. When you look at it as a reason to engage with real people instead of just numbers that’s when I started to see my page grow. Lastly, don’t think too much about it! Just post your work & you will get noticed.

I notice that when I post for me and what I like, my posts seem to do well. It’s crazy because my most liked photo is a black & white photo. Black & white photos don’t tend to do as well as other photos, but this one particularly spoke to me. I wanted to share it because I used to really struggle with black & white photos and this was the first one I was really proud of. I explained that in my caption and it somehow got close to 12,000 likes. I don’t really feel like I’m answering this question very well because I know people do exactly that and Instagram doesn’t agree and the post doesn’t do as well as you thought it would. That has happened to me countless times as well, but I’ve learned what is most important is if you are proud of your art and, most importantly, your clients. I wish I could tell you I am an expert on Instagram’s algorithm, but I definitely am not. Just post from the heart, stuff you are really passionate about, and most of the time your followers will be too.

So many photographers inspire me it’s insane. My friends can vouch for me because I always compliment out loud when a photo stands out to me. First I will talk about the photographer who got me really inspired to do wedding photography and that is Ben Patch. I have followed Ben since he started his Instagram and he always has made my jaw drop. I was able to attend his workshops this past April and learned how he gets the most amazing photos of his couples. He LOVES what he does and that is what I was able to learn from him is that you have to love it. I’ll be forever grateful for him because he really got me started. Right now I can think of a handful of people who I look up to: Kandice Breinholt, Ashley Rae Jensen, Lauren Kendall, Anni Graham, Autumn Nicole, Erin Northcutt, Stephanie Fisher, Krista Ashley, Olivia Markle, Chase Sevey, and Phil Chester. But two particular photographers who are under the radar are particularly making me want to be a better photographer, Rodney Brown and Katherine Joy. These two have been absolutely blowing my mind. They are creative, they think outside the box, they push limits, and they make me want to start doing the same, branching out and trying something I’ve never done before. They deserve all the recognition in the world and their clients will be so happy to have them capture their love.

Maddie Mae@maddiemaephoto

I actually only started actively using Instagram 11 months ago and I definitely wish I had started seeing its value earlier. Over the last year that my account has grown, I have seen a marked difference in my business as a result. It has helped so much to develop and reinforce my brand and passion for adventurous elopements among my current clients. When couples with upcoming adventure elopements see the images I post from what I’m currently shooting, many comment, “This is epic, I can’t wait for our day with you!” Often when I arrive at an elopement, many remark how they always look at every image that I post and how it greatly increased their excitement for their day.

Additionally, Instagram has also helped me reach a much bigger audience than I can with other platforms. Historically, most of my business has come from great SEO — which has brought me a lot of wonderful Colorado elopements — but with Instagram’s reach being worldwide, it has helped me connect with adventurous couples who want to elope by hiking up Mt. Rainier, or want a helicopter elopement in New Zealand or Tofino, or want a destination elopement in Iceland or Santorini. Most of my destination elopements booked for next year in Alaska, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, and Europe have all been from Instagram. Growing over the past 11 months, Instagram now accounts for 25% of my overall bookings.

I believe the best strategy for Instagram is consistency and meaningful content. I aim to post every day to keep my content on the forefront of the feeds and minds of current, future, and potential clients. Posting consistently also increases the amount of overall time that my images show up in the “top nine” for certain hashtags. Just like SEO, being on the “front page” of Instagram for relevant hashtags like #elopementphotographer, #intimatewedding, or #hikingelopement dramatically increases the number of inquiries I get from Instagram and grows my overall number of followers. For increasing engagement, I believe in sharing your passion and the “why” behind what you do as much as you can in your captions. I find that when I share my heart and passion for elopements, and why I believe that they’re the best type of wedding days, and share the stories of the amazing couples that I’ve helped create and capture adventurous elopements for — that’s when I get the most engagement. Ask your followers questions and post bold statements about your beliefs and passions — that will go way farther than cliché quotes or song lyrics.

The most popular image, by far, that I’ve ever posted on Instagram was an emotional moment from an adventurous Rocky Mountain National Park elopement. Right after this couple said their tear-filled vows to each other, and officially “married themselves” (as you can do in a self-solemnizing elopement in Colorado), the couple was overwhelmed with the joy of finally being married. The groom cried, I cried — it was one of the best moments I’ve ever experienced as an elopement photographer. Many accounts have reposted this image and assumed it was from a “first look” but it was actually immediately after they said their vows and kissed for the first time as a married couple. The moment was the groom’s realization that he had just married his best friend—and it still gives me chills to remember. I believe it went viral on Instagram because it embodies what everyone wants to feel on their wedding day — sheer joy and happiness. One of the many things I love about elopements is that these type of unhindered emotional moments happen much more often than at large weddings — couples can really be themselves and let all the emotions flow freely.

One of my biggest photography inspirations for intimate weddings and elopements is @thekitcheners based out of the U.K. Every image they post gives me all the feels and really fully embodies what I love about being an elopement photographer. I’m also obsessed with @chrisandruth, who are also Europe-based, and photograph so many incredible destination elopements around the world. I’m so excited to see that the industry is trending more towards adventurous elopements and that more and more couples are choosing to have the type of wedding day that means the most to them — a private, intimate, unique, and meaningful celebration on of their commitment to each other in any awe-inspiring location they desire. Elopements are the BEST!

Wyn Wiley@wynwileyphoto

Instagram has affected my business in every way. Now more than ever am I able to connect to new clients and keep relationships with past clients.

Post the work that no one else is posting. The photo that’s a little less cool but a little more meaningful to you. Work that tugs at your heart will tug at other people’s feels.

By far, the most popular post is an image of mine of a couple and their whole wedding party popping champagne all over each other post-ceremony. If there’s one photo I could have taken to sum up that couple, it would be having a party with their friends, and that’s why I think the image did so well online. Anytime you can take photos that are representative of peoples’ personalities and the things that make them unique not only will photos do well online but the photos will really mean something to the couple – and that’s what’s really cool to me.

I draw a lot of inspiration from @imageisfound and @ferjuaristi. Other than a handful of photographers, I mostly draw inspiration from portrait photography accounts like @__nitch and inspirational people like the painter and author @dallasclayton and author @jedidiahjenkins.

Massive thanks to all of our Instagrammers to Follow!

Be sure to hop on over to the Photobug Facebook group to join in our monthly Instagram follow train!

xoxocarrie5

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How to Be a Badass Second Shooter

October 16, 2017 | colleen

photo by Cody & Allison Photography

Working as a second shooter is a great chance for new or seasoned photographers to photograph a wedding alongside another photographer in the business. It gives you the opportunity to expand your portfolio, or simply photograph a wedding and not have the typical stress or workload that comes with being the lead photographer. With so many second shooting opportunities in the wedding industry, we thought it would be good to discuss a handful of unwritten rules. Here are a few tips that we think will help you be the badass second shooter that you were meant to be.

Tip #1: Communicate

If you’ve been keeping up with our posts, I’m sure you’ve seen communication be a tip in various instances but that’s because it is that important. When second shooting, it’s good to communicate prior to the wedding so all expectations are up front – what the lead photographer is wanting and needing from you, the hours of coverage, payment, location of the wedding, etc. Honestly, the list could go on and on. As well, it’s just as important to communicate effectively the day of the wedding. Take the time to discuss where the lead wants you for various moments throughout the day, such as the first look, ceremony, and exit. The continued communication throughout the wedding will allow for an organized and transparent relationship between you and the lead photographer.

Tip #2: Sync up!

A thing to keep in mind before shooting is to sync up cameras. This may seem like a small detail, but it can save the lead photographer a headache when they are working in post. Syncing up all cameras (yours included) will make for a more efficient editing process so that all images are in chronological order.

photo by Megan Yanz

Tip #3: Don’t Be A Shadow

The entire point of having a second shooter at a wedding is for extra coverage, different angles, and for when the lead can’t be at two places at once. You aren’t getting paid to follow the lead around all day, so don’t be their shadow – get different angles and be in different spots of the room! Throughout the day, remember that you are shooting for the lead photographer and not yourself. This means sacrificing shots you may desire for your portfolio in order to provide the coverage you are hired to capture.

Tip #4: Professionalism

Although a wedding is a time for celebration, please keep in mind that you are working. Be mindful that you are professionally participating in a special occasion and wear something that is nice and not attention-grabbing. You are working behind the scenes, not trying to upstage the bride or groom. If you’re unsure if something is wedding-appropriate, err on the side of caution and don’t wear it. It might also be a good idea to find out the dress code of the wedding from your lead to know how dressed up or down you should be.

In the social media age where we are connected to everything by our phones, it’s important to know when to put them away. Keep phone usage to a minimum by only using it to reference the timeline or time. Better yet, print the timeline off and wear a watch! This way, you won’t be tempted to check Instagram or Facebook.

When photographing a wedding, you are showing guests who are unaware who the lead photographer is what you are capable of doing. As a result, this may spark the interest of people in your work. Even so, this is not a time for you to network and pass out your business cards. As a second shooter, you are working and representing the lead photographer, not your own business. Keep the lead photographer and their business at the forefront, and do not advertise your own business at a wedding you are second shotting. Better yet, carry around some of the lead’s business cards and have those readily available to those who may ask for one!

photo by Alex Mari Photography

Tip #5: Client Interaction

When interacting with the client directly, it’s important to keep it professional. There are instances where you might be frustrated or stressed out. Whether it be due to falling behind schedule or uncooperative individuals during group shots, there’s no reason to take it out on the client (or anyone at the wedding for that matter!). Remain calm and do not yell or scold someone due to a stressful situation. Additionally, it’s important to have good communication with the client. Be sure to not give incorrect information – we don’t want a confused couple!

Tip #6: Money Talks

Before the wedding, you and the lead photographer need to discuss payment. There should be an agreed amount that you will get paid for second shooting the wedding, and, more importantly, there needs to be a date as to when you will get paid. There is no reason why you should go into a wedding unsure of when and what you will be paid. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to talk about money, but this is business and it needs to be handled as such. Like with anything else, having this information in writing protects you both!

photo by Olivia Strohm Photography

Tip #7: Use of Images

Whether or not you can use the images you shot for your portfolio will be different for each photographer you second shoot for, so make sure this is discussed prior to the wedding day. Remember, communication is key! If you are able to use them, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when using the images you photographed. To start, do not post an image before the lead photographer has had time to post a photo from that wedding. Remember, it’s their wedding you worked, not your own. Additionally, when you do post an image from the wedding, be sure to credit the lead photographer such as “second shot for…” or “second shot under…” or something of those lines. Again, this isn’t a wedding you booked but a wedding you were paid to assist on. Do not try to claim this wedding as your own.

Tip #8: Delivery

Unless the lead photographer has you hand over the memory cards immediately after the wedding, your job is still not done. You will need to cull and deliver the images to the photographer to edit alongside the rest of the images. If it is on you to handle the images following a wedding, the first thing you should do is upload and backup the images. Protect yourself and the lead by making sure there are copies of the images from that wedding, because, knock on wood, there is nothing more devastating than lost images. Once they’re backed up, cull and deliver your images to the lead photographer in a timely manner. There is no reason why they should reach out to you and ask for the images due to so much time passing from the wedding. As a second, you should be helping the photographer in making things easier for them. This applies as much after the wedding as it does on the wedding day.

photo by Terralogical Photography

At the end of the day, you are representing the lead photographer and their business, not your own. It’s not the time for you to take this wedding on as if you booked the wedding yourself. Remember to keep the lead photographer’s needs at the forefront and you will have a seamless day. Now, go on with your bad self and second shoot the heck out of a wedding!

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Top Pics of the Week – October 13

October 13, 2017 | colleen

photo by Berty Mandagie

There’s nothing spooky about today’s Friday the 13th post, but you will find a few surprises in this week’s top pics – just an unexpected wedding guest or two. A special thanks to Ale BigliazziMagic Wedding PhotographyMelissa Rey PhotoBDFK PhotographyPinewood WeddingsWild June PhotographyMarcela Pulido, and Berty Mandagie for contributing to this week’s top pics!

photo bmaciey Marcela Pulido

photo by Wild June Photography

photo by Pinewood Weddings

photo by BDFK Photography

photo by Melissa Rey Photo

photo by Magic Wedding Photographer

photo by Ale Bigliazzi

A huge thanks to this week’s contributors! Want to see your work featured in an upcoming Top Pics post? Be sure to tag your images on Instagram with #photobugcommunity, and join us on Facebook over in our Photobug Community Group.

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