One of the biggest problems that almost any photographer faces is how to get someone to notice them. This is tough enough to do beyond convincing someone to pay them for photos–for most photographers at least. The most honest trust about this industry (and almost any industry) is that it’s about who you know more so than what you know. But that shouldn’t discourage you from spreading the word of how great your work is. In fact, if you’re working so hard to create beautiful photos and you’re not letting anyone know about it, then what’s the point?
Here’s how you can cut through all the rest and make others more aware of the type of work that you do.
Carefully Curated Photography
First off, you need to have specific and well curated work. Think of it this way: no one wants to see every single one of your photos from when you were first starting out. Instead, we (the general we) want to see some of your best work that makes us want to either give you some sort of a like or appreciation on social media.
So with that in mind, you should first highlight your strengths and focus on those. Then pick only the best of the best. This is all we should see from you online unless you have some sort of blog post talking about a process.
Think about the folks who win big contests like the PDN 30, National Geographic contests, Nikon contests, etc. These people obviously competed against everyone else who entered and a judge or panel thought that that person had the best photo. These winners are often promoted in the social web much more than had ever been done in the recent past.
In general though, we suggest not paying to enter a contest, though there are some exceptions. If you feel like the entrance fee is a right step an investment into your career path (note, we said career path) then enter it. If you lose, then you know that you should be more careful about your entry in the future.
These days, the winners of these major contests go on to gain gallery recognition, social media fame or even getting more paid gigs. In a way, their work starts to trend on social platforms and companies suddenly want to work with the person more so than before because the work is often fresh and exciting.
Emails to Outlets with Large Followings
Before we get into this section, don’t discount the idea of snail mail either.
An interpersonal and semi-formal email to an editor at a magazine, a site like ours, and a photo blog curator among others can help you to grab their attention for however long they have the email open.
In that small period of time, you need to convince someone that your work is excellent, educate them about yourself, and give them a reason to actually click over and check out your work. In general though, putting a couple of photos in the body of an email also helps a lot.
If they like your work, then they’ll contact you even if isn’t about what they’re pitching. I can’t tell you how many times we get pitches for specific photo projects but we like other things that the photographer has done instead. These photographers then get featured on our site–and the process is very similar with other sites.
Instagram’s and Tumblr’s Curatorial Accounts
If you’re on Instagram, chances are that you’ve found those accounts that try to repost your image with credit so that they gain more followers. These folks (in general) aren’t using the account for commercial purposes. But if they are and they use your image without permission, then go after them. But if they’re not commercial, then enjoy the new followers and comments you’ll get about your work.
The same idea applies to Tumblr in that there are loads of photographers who curate specific tags like Black and white, fashion, landscape, portrait, and others. Tag your photos with these tags when applicable, and also try to combine this method with interpersonal messaging options like we said. No we’re not talking about DMs. Instead, make it more formal than that.
There are also platforms that are a bit more democratic like EyeEm and Behance. Their algorithms are much different than the rest but you can be guaranteed to see new work often and not always from the same folks. Instead, you’ll actually be pleasantly surprised by what’s promoted at the top of their platforms.