CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 03, 2014
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Photographers: Use Instagram to Boost Your Career

Image via Flickr by Bien Stephenson

For photographers, Instagram isn’t just a convenient way to share pictures. The social photo-sharing site can open up whole new career paths for shutterbugs.

Instagram keeps photographers connected to their Twitter followers and social media audience. But it’s not just a place to show off those great photos, social media is also a place to be seen. Some photographers have been seen because of Instagram, and it’s been very lucrative for them.

Instagram Success Stories

Forbes recently profiled Carli Kiene, a photographer based in Austin, Texas. She took photos of weddings and portraits. A picture-taker by trade, Kiene joined Instagram in 2010. The app put her on their Suggested Users list, and her following rocketed up by thousands. Soon enough she got a call from Tiffany & Co. They liked her images so much, they wanted to put them on their own social media feed. Kiene said yes. Now, she gets a lot of commercial clients. She’s using the extra income to pay off her student loans.

Two of these "instagrammers" were profiled on CareerAddict. Lauren Bath has turned Instagram into a career by following journalists and travel writers, snapping pictures of the places they're going and what they're doing. Liz Eswein, who has nearly a million followers, attends fabulous New York events with her camera. People pay her to put the pictures on Instagram.

Social media and websites like Instagram are changing the way photographers find work and share their vision with others. It gives more skilled photographers the opportunity to find lucrative job offers. And it could change the landscape of photography as a career. 

The Traditional Route

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for photographers is $13.70 per hour (May 2012). Photographers who successfully parlay Instagram into a career stand to make much more from commercial job offers.

College Grad reports that photographers held 129,000 jobs in 2004, with more than half working as self-employed professionals. Median annual earnings in 2004 were $26,080. Traditionally, self-employed photographers focus on local business. They shoot weddings and portraits, and maybe sell some pieces on the side to newspapers and magazines. Some photographer may cover local events for news websites.

Instagram allows photographers to break out and share their photos at a national and even on an international level. This opens the door for bigger and better job opportunities, in some cases. It also allows photographers to share their art with the entire world, and that opens up a lot of doors.

Picturing Success

In order to gain success through Instagram, join the site (download the app to your tablet or smart phone). Link it to your social media accounts. Start working on your craft. Share all your amazing photos, and work on building your following. The more breathtaking your photos, the more followers you’ll start to get. Encourage fans to share your photos so you can gain more followers.

Show off your best work as much as possible. If you continue to build your audience and work on your craft, you will be seen. If your work is seen by the right people, the job offers will start coming to you.

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