How to become a photographer: A guide to becoming a social media star
In the past five years, Facebook and Instagram have taken off, but the popularity of Instagram and the likes of Snapchat has led to a trend of photographers looking for a niche to create their work.
The social media giants have long been used by photographers to connect with their followers and promote their work online, but it’s been a struggle to get a niche audience on their platform.
“It was quite a struggle for a long time,” says Amanda Jones, a freelance photographer who was once a member of Instagram’s creative team and has since become a professional photographer.
“There’s no way I could possibly get on Instagram to do that.”
Ms Jones, who is now based in New Zealand, has recently been working on a project with the hashtag #donttakeawaythecouch, which encourages people to use a couch to take photos of the person next to them when they’re having a bad day.
It’s an approach she says she’s always loved, and she’s been using Instagram’s tools to reach out to people on a more personal level.
“I’m actually doing a project to do a book and I have people I’ve met online and I’m trying to find ways to reach them, and I’ll just ask them if they’d like to take a photo,” she says.
“And then I will just send them a message and I will ask them to post a photo of their couch with the message ‘Do you want to take this picture?’ and then they’ll be like ‘Yep, that’s what I want to do.'”
A couple of months ago, Ms Jones was approached by a photographer who had been following her on Instagram, and the pair became friends.
“We were both just blown away by the amount of support that the community was able to give us and by the fact that there was no one else on the internet that was doing this,” Ms Jones says.
The project is called #dnttakeaway the couch and it aims to give photographers a platform to share their work, as well as helping to promote it online.
The hashtag #DontTakeTheCouch encourages people not to take away the couch, or anything else, and is a way for photographers to show their work without compromising their privacy.
“They can share their images without them being recognised,” Ms Moore says.
There are a number of ways for Instagram users to get involved in the project.
The most common method is to send a photo directly to the photographer, but there are others who post their own photos or share a post on their social media accounts.
For Ms Jones and Ms Moore, they’ve used the hashtags to reach people on different levels, such as asking people to write a thank you note to a friend or posting a photo on Instagram of the two of them sitting together.
“The message is always to say thank you and let them know you love them and they appreciate it,” Ms Anderson says.
One of Ms Jones’ favourite ways to get her followers to share her work is to upload photos to Instagram.
“If I can find a way to get someone to share a picture of themselves on Instagram and then have them post it on Instagram they can go on Instagram,” she explains.
“That’s just really fun.
You can be doing a whole other thing.”
While Ms Jones is keen to share the work she’s created, Ms Moore has no intention of stopping there.
“This is something that I love doing, and it’s something that will probably never end,” she laughs.
“But we’re always trying to make it more accessible, so if you’ve got a friend, you can go to Instagram and take a picture, share it with them, have them send you a link to the project and that’s it.
And then they can share it on their own.”
You can follow the full project on Instagram here.
Originally published as Instagram gives photographers a shot at creating a niche