An Interview with Mollie Rose: Tips on Creating a Social Strategy as a Photographer
Most photographers start shooting professionally because they want to pursue their passions and make money doing what they love. But the business of being a photographer can open up a lot of questions. From creating a website to planning a social strategy to grow your business, you may find yourself wearing a lot of different hats. One avenue that recruiters at Shutterstock Custom look to when sourcing photographers and videographers around the globe, is to scour Instagram and social media platforms to find new creative talent. Knowing how to curate and create a social platform to promote your work is an effective tool to master as a photographer.
We spoke with UK-based fashion photographer (and Shutterstock Custom contributor) Mollie Rose about how she uses social media to promote her photography business and foster new opportunities and partnerships. Here are a few words with Mollie.
Photographer: Mollie Rose
Location: London, UK
Mollie, we are so excited to connect with you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me! My name is Mollie Rose, I’m 22 years old and I’m a fashion and celebrity photographer based in London.
How would you describe your photography style?
As a rule I don’t pin myself to a particular style, however, if I were to summarize my work, I’d say I have a youthful and fresh, social-media-friendly approach to photography. A running theme throughout my work tends to incorporate self-expression and personality.
I also enjoy photographing from exaggerated angles and playing a game of ‘chase’ with my models. It’s a fun, candid way of shooting my subject that gets us both moving around a lot, which really makes for more organic shots.
We can totally see that- your Instagram is amazing. How did you position your Instagram as a portfolio of your work?
Thank you! I use Instagram as a slightly more personable website. It is mainly my portfolio of work, with the odd personal or behind the scenes image thrown in there too. I read an article recently which states Instagram’s user base has doubled in the last two years with now over 800 million monthly active users, meaning brands are paying more and more attention to it as an online billboard.
Potential clients will now go to Instagram to check me out. Not my website or by banking on my word of mouth recommendations, but a brief scroll through a grid of images to decide - in a few brutal seconds - whether I, as photographer and brand, am fit for the job.
Definitely. We find talent all the time on Instagram! A lot of people choose to keep personal work and professional work separate on Instagram. Do you curate your Instagram? If so, how?
It’s a tricky balance. The ultimate aim is to represent a very natural, candid balance of your work and personal life on Instagram. Having said that, like all advertising - and Instagram being my strongest advertising tool, it does need to be curated and optimized. For me, Instagram is the quickest, most effective way to show current work to present and future clients.
I see Instagram as a black book; effectively the creative, photo-form of LinkedIn. It’s likely that your next client will already be following your work and progress covertly. The aim is to maintain that engagement and stay on their radar.
When did you first realize that Instagram could be an outlet for your career as a photographer?
It naturally became more professional (after a lot of archiving) when I grew with my photography and started sharing my work because I was proud of it.
What is your strategy for posting your photography work online on your portfolio and social media?
There’s definitely a pressure to keep it up! As a photographer first and foremost, I’ve had to teach myself the ways of working ‘Instagram for Business’. At times, this can be a challenging balance to strike. However, as one of the very few, free marketing tools out there for photographers, I have to remind myself to utilize my socials to the best of my ability.
An app called ‘Planoly' (I’ve heard Google Photos is good too) allows you to pre-upload to curate future posts and enable your feed to flow. I can just open the app, click on my next previously planned image, and post!
Is there any other social platform you’re excited about at the moment?
Yes actually! Raya is a networking app geared mainly towards the creative industry and connected to Instagram. I have found models and stylists to PR folk and musicians on this app. It’s a great way to keep expanding your social network.
Why did you decide to become a Shutterstock Custom Contributor?
I was approached last month by a member of the Shutterstock Custom team who explained how their new ‘Custom’ feature worked. Essentially, providing brands with bespoke content.
What are your favorite types of content to shoot?
I believe one of the main reasons I’ve fallen down the fashion photography rabbit hole is my love for color and emotion. It is such an expressive form of photography, and not only is it an outlet for my own creativity, it also enables me to meet so many other creative minds too. I also love getting to know my subject beforehand and photographing a person for their personality.
Last but not least, what are your top tips for photographers to use social media as a platform to promote their work?
Don’t let it take over! As a photographer, your main aim is to be making great photographs and a great photograph is not defined by how many ‘likes’ it’s received. Utilize the business features on Instagram. It will tell you what posts engage your audience the most, show the effect of lost engagement by not posting, and how to rebuild this. It even tells you what time of day is best to post!
Get an app to plan out your Instagram. The layout is just as important as the imagery. Do this when you’re wasting time in a queue or on the tube. This will reduce the pressure of what to post (and probably result in not posting and lost engagement). Don’t neglect your website! In the same way, you wouldn’t show up to a portfolio meeting with just your Instagram handle! Keep your website looking fresh and up to date.
Thanks again to Mollie for sitting down to chat with our team about social media as a photographer. For more tips on using Instagram as a photographer, check out this blog post on using Instagram as a business and this post on creating amazing Instagram Stories. Have any tips you’d like to share with our network? Comment them below!
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- The Shutterstock Custom Contributor Community Team