I wrote to a few of my favorite Instagrammers that have photos that inspire me and I asked them some questions. I published those answers in hopes that it could help you too. One particular person, Christian, went above my expectations in his answers so I asked a couple more questions and I wanted to share all of those answers with you today. I think it could help and aspiring or is already into landscape photography.
What do you believe is the key to your Instagram success?
I’m not sure I would describe it as a success but I am lucky enough to have found a large group of people who enjoy my landscape photography. I really feel honored that so many people wish to view my work. I’ve been on Instagram for many years and I’ve been active with a couple accounts. I believe the main reason that so many have discovered me is because I’ve been active in the community for so long and have continued to upload on a regular basis. When I first signed up for Instagram I was not the photographer I am today and I’ve had several people point out that they’ve enjoyed watching my improvement over the years as well. Besides uploading my own work I’ve also always been involved in one or more Instagram Hubs where I’ve put effort into discovering and promoting both new and established photographers/Instagrammers. I believe this is something that hasn’t gone by unnoticed and people like seeing that others give back.
What is your biggest hurdle?
Instagram is time consuming and time isn’t always something I’m spoiled with. Between writing weekly articles on CaptureLandscapes, guest articles, writing eBooks, leading workshops and processing images, time can be scarce. I do my best to always respond to comments and private messages but at times it’s simply impossible.
What would you say is your brand?
I’m a landscape photographer and that’s something that is obvious when looking through my images. Though I am exploring some more with travel photography, the majority of my images are natural scenes – there aren’t many buildings and people. Since a large part of my job is to educate other photographers, this is something that also shows on my account. I often share tips and tricks as well as direct people toward the more detailed articles that can be found on my website. Staying true to your brand is important if you want Instagram success. Learn to understand your audience and why they follow you. If you’re a landscape photographer it’s unlikely that your followers will be a big fan of you publishing baby pictures (yes, people are actually that picky; I’ve lost a few followers after publishing an image far outside of my niche).
What advice do you have to others?
My best advice is perhaps a little different than what you would expect: don’t worry too much about the numbers. Unfortunately, it seems like these days it’s all about the amount of followers you have or likes you receive and people see themselves blind on those numbers. However, if you aspire to become a professional photographer or industry leader within your niche, there are other aspects of your business that’s more important to focus on than Instagram. Sure, it’s helpful if you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers, or even millions, but there’s no easy way to reach such numbers either. Work hard on improving your craft and you’ll see that the numbers start picking up as well. As for direct tips for Instagram, staying active is the best thing you can do in order to increase engagement. Reply to comments, engage with your followers and find a way to give back to the community.
What got you to love photography?
As a landscape photographer I probably should say something cliche like “I’ve always loved being outside in nature and at some point I decided to get a camera to document my adventures”. That’s not quite the case for me. While I have always been a fan of nature, I didn’t appreciate it as much as a kid as I do now. Growing up in Norway it’s hard not to spend time outside but it wasn’t before I discovered photography that I started going on longer hikes and adventures by myself.
I got my first camera at the age of 15 after I had spent the school year working some hours a week at a local electronic shop. At the end of the year, I received a gift certificate and decided to spend it all on a dslr. Prior to that, I had always “stolen” my mothers point-and-shoot and since I enjoyed creating pictures, I thought it was time to get my own. I’ve been hooked on photography ever since but it wasn’t until several years later that I become more serious with it, learned the basics and realised that this is what I want to do in life.
How do you promote outside of Instagram to get noticed for landscape photography?
Instagram has been great for me and has opened many doors but it’s not my most important channel (even though it’s where I have the biggest following). My most important channels for promoting my photography is business is through my websites www.capturelandscapes.com (where I write tutorials about landscape photography) and www.choiberg.com (my personal blog and online portfolio). I’ve worked hard with Search Engine Optimisation and google has been an important channel where lots of new clients and followers enter. Actually, the biggest photography projects I’ve worked on has been a direct result of ranking as #1 for specific keywords on Google.
How do you differentiate yourself from other landscape photography?
This is a tough question to answer. It’s quite honestly not something I spend too much time focusing on but the last years I’ve been focusing more on compositions and trying to find something different. Many of my workshops bring me to iconic places and while I enjoy photographing these “trophy images”, I prefer rather spending time exploring the area around. I think that the most important thing you can do is to simply photograph what you want, even if other’s don’t quite “get it”. Focus on what you enjoy to photograph rather than getting the trophy shots that will give you a minute of recognition online.