Hi! I’m Elaine, an advertising art director and freelance photographer from Hong Kong. I downloaded Instagram five years ago, and have been sharing my photography work since then. Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way.
1# Developing a ‘social persona’
For the longest time, I’ve been sharing cityscape and landscape photos of my travels. Three years ago, I started doing urban exploration photography, exploring abandoned sites and rooftops for unique perspectives of Hong Kong. As I posted more photos of myself on rooftops, I accidentally created this new ‘personality’ on my platform, and people started labelling me as that “rooftop girl”. This actually grew my account tremendously.
2# Users follow accounts because they like what they see; however sharing the same content over and over again gets repetitive and dull over time. If shooting the same theme starts to bore you as a photographer, then it is highly likely that your audience is bored with your material as well. It’s always good to experiment from time to time to keep the audience engaged. For me, many people followed my account for city and urban exploration shots, but last year I wanted to try something new, so I started shooting portraits. Initially, I shared one portrait a week to test the waters and gauge the response of my followers. Surprisingly, many people were supportive, which gave me with the motivation to shoot more and do better.
3# It’s important to strike a balance between sharing relevant content, and what you personally like. At the end of the day, be true to yourself and what you believe reflects you as a creator. Instagram is a very supportive platform, and you can rely on your followers to guide you to new levels of creativity. The momentum allows me to challenge myself further and find themes and content that I didn’t realize I liked or was good at. But at the same time, it is also easy to get carried away by the crowd and to lose your unique style in the process.
4# Utilize Instagram Stories and use it as a platform to share what goes behind the photos. It can be sharing before/after edits, or behind the scenes on how you captured the shot, or maybe alternate shots that didn’t ‘make it’. The before/after edits have been really popular on my account. The idea struck me when followers showed interest in my work and messaged me on how I edit my photos. Instead of sharing this information one-to-one, I shared it with my entire audience and I am glad Instagram has provided yet another platform to connect with my followers through valuable insights, and a sneak peak into my life as a photographer.
5# Sponsored content is getting more and more popular these days, and there are much more brand collaborations than ever before. Before starting any type of collaboration, be sure to have an agreement with the brand on the specifics of the collaborations (type of photos, number of posts, caption hashtags and mentions etc.). I’ve learnt it the hard way, but be sure to stay true to your feed, and ensure that the content you’re posting for a brand is of similar style to what you would normally post.
Hope you find these tips useful! Follow me instagram.com/lielaine for more of my work!