Instagram vs Portfolio. A love hate relationship

What is better - using an online Portfolio or an Instagram feed to promote your work as a photographer? I don’t know anymore but this is how I feel about it. 

For starters, I admit I have a love hate relationship with Instagram.  Yes, it’s used by over 700 million people a month and has become the primary way people like to see your work. Instagram helps you promote your work and learn more about your audience. It allows you to target specific people and to engage in those people in a way that can never be done in the past. Potential clients will be able to see images with out having to navigate through your website. Also, within an Instagram app, you will get insights and analytics on the performance of specific posts, preferable posting times, and demographic breakdown of your followers. Every day millions of people capitalize on it’s vast audience. With a good social media marketing strategy one can see a lot of success from this little monster. Then why is it that I loath the questions “Do you have an Instagram” or “Can I see your instagram” from potential clients or even strangers. Maybe I’m old school (or just old), maybe it’s fear. Maybe a little of both. Less and less people ask to see your portfolio these days. I like the idea of sending people to my portfolio and not my instagram. Although I do get that little rush of endorphins we all get when we see someone like a photo or follow us but it doesn’t define me. I don’t want the personal attention. I really could care less. All I want to do is get more clients and work. 

An online portfolio is a well thought out representation of your work. It allows for high quality images to be showcased in an organized fashion whereas Instagram doesn’t except high quality images. In fact, image compression on Instagram is a common nuisance that affects image quality. There are way’s around this and because most people are viewing on there phones the loss in quality may not be noticeable but there’s no question that the quality of images as well as the viewing experience on a website out-shine Instagram any day. Also, a good website portfolio will have a good bio along with testimonials giving a potential client insight into who your are and what previous clients thought of you. A good online portfolio will also be streamlined and simple as to not allow for a lot of navigation. In terms of SEO, a website gives me the possibility to rank in Google, Bing, or Yahoo to be found by those customers who are searching online for my services. Undoubtedly, Instagram offers mind-blowing advertising possibilities as well. A portfolio is more personal in every aspect. 

The thing about me with Instagram is that I like the ability to post non work related photo’s. I love photography and having been influenced by so many types of photography I shoot all types of subject matter. This leads to an unorganized mishmosh collection of photos that’s probably not that appealing to a potential client. I have such a diverse background as a professional photographer that it’s hard enough to keep my website organized. With instagram you also have to be constantly posting in order to keep your audience attention. Whether daily or weekly it needs constant attention. For me, this all leads to a frustrating experience with instagram. It certainly doesn’t help that I am my own worst critic and have a hard time sharing photos in the first place and what do I post in the slow times? I’ve been on instagram for a few years and I’ve yet to break 400 followers yet some of my competitors have thousands. 

Maybe I’m just not good at it. It’s probably a good idea to work on getting good at it. As much as I don’t like it I have to stop posting photo’s that are not work related and make my feed an extension of my business, an extension of my website. 

At the end of the day I believe my best attributes are providing good customer service, quality work, building relationships and making my clients feel that they are getting a great overall experience. I can’t spend too much time thinking about things like Instagram. I won’t change my mind, a good or even decent website will always be better then an Instagram feed. I think more people should be asking for it and more people should be putting it out there. That’s just by opinion. Times have changed however and I think utilizing both is the best course to take. 

You can view my instagram mishmosh feed and follow me here: https://www.instagram.com/frankcalphoto 

How do you feel about Instagram vs online portfolios in this day and age ? 

Thanks for reading…..



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