Make your Instagram a business: tips from two photographers who did it


As creatives, using Instagram as a business strategy doesn’t always come naturally, but connecting with your audience and engaging them through your content is extremely beneficial.

We hosted an Instagram for Business Panel with Elaine Rystead of @localwanderer, a travel blog based out of Vancouver, and Jordan Dyck of @joordanrenee, a photographer based in Victoria about how they grew their accounts, and created effective business strategies through their respective Instagram's. They work with Shutterstock Custom and major global brands, as well as small local shops and tourism companies to create content through their lenses to promote these brands.

Here are a few top takeaways from the event on how you can turn your Instagram into an effective business. 

Find your voice, share it genuinely. Get to know your audience!
Remaining authentic to your voice will engage an audience that is equally as passionate about the content you create. Keeping your intentions transparent, and tailoring your approach in a way that resonates with your voice will keep your audience's trust and reliability in what content you are providing. Instagram audiences are smart, and trying to tailor your Instagram to a specific area that is not true to your brand will be easy to see through!

Plan your feed. Use scheduling apps to help you plan posts in advance!
Planning and managing your Instagram in advance seems like a lot of work- but it’s not! There are plenty of apps and tools out there to help you do this. Elaine loves using Later to plan her posts and schedule them in advance. This keeps her audience engaged, and reminds her to post at the times where her audience is most readily available and on the app! It also keeps your style consistent, allowing you to see what each photo looks like next to the rest. Most of the time, your audience will be looking at your grid as a whole and this keeps your style and messaging consistent.

Find your favourite editing apps, and develop your own editing style to maintain a consistent feed.
Curating gorgeous content for your Instagram feed is no easy task, but developing an editing routine will not only make it easy for you to keep a consistent style to your Instagram, but save your editing time! Some of Jordan’s favourites were Vsco (for a quick filter- bring it to about ½ of its strength), and Snapseed (for final sharpening and getting rid of random spots or blemishes in your images). Make sure your content looks as great as you do!

Foster a photography community.
Engage with other entrepreneurs in your area and when you travel, and learn from others with similar interests. There are plenty of Instagram meet-ups around the globe, as well as photography groups and community comments where you can find other creatives with similar interests to you.

Learn how to market yourself.
Develop your website and social media platforms around Instagram to create consistency. Display a clear email to contact you, and links to other sites where potential clients can see your work. It's not about the follower count or likes- if you have good content, it will speak for itself. Our recruitment team scours Instagram to find heaps of content creators to join our Community of Creatives, so tagging locations and making your profile visible to brands is essential!

The fundamentals that Elaine and Jordan discussed at our event had a goal of helping photographers and videographers build a well-rounded Instagram Strategy. Creating an effective Instagram for business is essential to growing your client base, so get out there and start marketing yourself! You never know what opportunities you could be missing out on. Check out our Instagram to see how some of our amazing contributors market themselves.

We’re constantly on the lookout for new creatives to join the Shutterstock Custom Contributor Community!
Are you a photographer or videographer interested in working with us?
Apply to start creating stunning visuals for the world's top brands!

Stay creative!
- The Shutterstock Custom Contributor Community Team