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Facebook for Photographers: How to Use Facebook to Help Your Business

Facebook for Photographers

by Tracy Genovese Robinson

Facebook can be a photographer’s BEST forms of free advertising.  I can’t tell you the number of clients I have gotten as a result of the magic of Facebook. Here are some tips on using it to its full advantage (and if you have more tips, please add them in the comments section).

web4182c 600x458 Facebook for Photographers: How to Use Facebook to Help Your Business

1) I use its networking power to its full advantage. I have friends on Facebook that I have not talked to since high school (which was … er… about… approximately 10 …OK FIFTEEN years ago). Some of those people are now my clients and found me and my work through Facebook.

2) I do not have a “fan page” for my business. This is deliberate. I want people to hire ME, the person, not the business. Photography- especially family/child photography, is so personal.  I personally would much rather be photographed by someone I feel I know as a person, rather than a business entity. This is totally my opinion and I am sure there are tons of people that disagree with me, but I feel like the fan pages take away from the personal aspect of the business.

3) Every great picture I take of my kids gets put not only in one of my online photo albums, but in an online photo album on my husband’s page.  We have over a hundred friends in common, but even more that are not in common. Some of HIS friends have seen those photos and ended up hiring me. I plan on doing the same with my parent’s pages and other relatives.

4) When I do shoots for my best friend’s children, after they have ordered, I often give them web sized files to post in a Facebook album with the understanding that they advertise for me in the photo captions area. I offer this as a surprise to them because I do not want anyone (even my best friends) to expect free digital files.  They are thrilled to do this, not only because they are my friends and want to help me out, but because now they have awesome pictures of their kids/family on Facebook.  I did this about a month ago and within one hour had a new client.  I also do this with some of my better clients and even offer web sized digital files as an “extra” on some of my packages.

5) I have recently decided that I need to treat Facebook albums with the same care as I treat my website. I.e.- I need to update my Facebook albums at least as often as I update my website. I’m sure there is no one out there but my mom that goes to my website every day. However, a lot of people visit Facebook daily and by updating my albums often, my Facebook friends will immediately be reminded again,  that I am a children’s photographer and they will continually be shown samples of my work.  When I upload pictures, I “tag” the parent and make sure my album is open to everyone. This gets the entire album a lot of traffic from people who might otherwise not know of me.

6) I network with other photographers, web designers, paper company owners, vendors etc. via Facebook.  It’s nice to get to “know” them as people too. It’s nice to get to “know” them as people too.  I personally would rather do business with someone I have a connection to. For example, a while ago a knitter who makes blankets, newborn hats etc. friended me. Because of the magic of Facebook, I know a little about her personally and can relate to her (a mom with small children trying to run a small business)- which makes me want to do business with her.

7) If I need models, Facebook is the easiest and quickest way to find them. For example, I am attending a workshop at the end of this month focusing strictly on newborn photography. As such, I am having a newborn special in April and May because I know I will need some newborns to practice my new skills on. I posted something about this on my Facebook wall and had at least half a dozen offers.

8) If my clients are on Facebook, they immediately get added as a friend once they hire me. In this instance, I do not believe in keeping business and personal separate. Again, because I feel photography is so personal, I want them to know and like ME as a person.

9) Every single post I make on my blog gets put on my Facebook wall. This is a gentle reminder to people to check out my blog.

10) Did I mention Facebook is FREE?

Now if someone could just write an article like this about Twitter… I’m still not getting it!

Tracy Genovese Robinson, of {doe*ee*bird} photography for little peeps, is a photographer from The Woodlands, Texas- a suburb of Houston. She specializes in unique children’s photography. She is known for her casual style and fun approach to her sessions.

*** Note from Jodi: One limitation of Facebook friend pages, there is a 5,000 Facebook friend limit.  Read about when I hit this 6 months ago, back in Fall 2009, and why a limit on friends makes no sense

 Facebook for Photographers: How to Use Facebook to Help Your Business

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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26 Comments

  1. 1

    […] 1 votes vote Facebook for Photographers: How to Use Facebook to Help Your Business Facebook for Photographers by Tracy Genovese Robinson Facebook can be a photographer’s […]

  2. 2
    Kim Jay says:

    Facebook has been THE marketing department for my business. On each pic, I post: my copyright info, and then this statement “Tag as much as you want, but please do not copy, print, or email.” This encourages them to tag! Every tag spreads your image to however many friends the person tagged has. So, in a matter of minutes, thousands of true, potential, clients see your work! And, they get notifications each time someone makes a fabulous comment about them.

    Also, wait to post your new pics until early evening (I wait until about 8:00 – after baby bedtimes.) That’s when the most people are online. You can do your own little survey to make note of your particular set of friends’ high-traffic time of day.

    I usually get at LEAST 2-3 bookings for each session posted.

    Kim

  3. 3

    thank you, I really enjoyed reading this. I do have a fan page, now I am wondering if I should cancel it?

  4. 4
    Rachel says:

    Facebook has not really worked for me. Other than getting people message me the “what camera do you use?” And getting models and/or friends that want free shoots. I do every thing suggested but it doesn’t help. I have clients friends, friend me but none of them ever book…

  5. 5
    Dave says:

    If you’re tagging the photos to the parents in 5, why do you need to give the files to them in 4?

  6. 6
    Jerome Braga says:

    Running your business off your personal profile is a violation of Facebook’s terms of use agreement and you will wake up one day and your account will be deleted by facebook. That’s why the make fan pages available. Just a word of caution. Great post by the way!!!

  7. 7
    Noa says:

    Quick question – I have tried every re-size option out there to get my photos looking crisp on FB, without success, and consequently don’t post pictures often. Have you found a solution for re-sizing so the photographs aren’t butchered by FB?

    TIA!

    • 7.1
      Shauna says:

      Noa-
      Instead of saving them as a jpeg, 1st re-size your image to 72ppi and then go to Then save it as a .png file. It makes your image remain sharp, but softens it enough for web so that t doesn’t appear “crunchy” or harsh.
      Hope this helps!

  8. 8

    I don’t separate my friends, clients and Facebook fans either. For one thing it is just another page to pay attention to. Who has time? More than likely, I will be happy to friend my clients and if its becomes a problem I can always block. Keeping business and personal separate is impossible since my clients are buying me. I would like to know more about how you keep your photo’s organized, tho.I am a wantabe photographer but every client loves it even when I post a blurry picture of there pup and every once in awhile I get lucky. Now let’s talk about twitter!!

  9. 9
    Amber says:

    I have used facebook for over a year now, and have not really had any success as far as gaining new clients. The only clients I have are friends, who always seem to expect the “hook-up” from me since we are friends. I get the “What camera do you use?” comment quite a bit as well, like people think all you need is a good camera and voila! you are a phenomenal photographer. Ugh.

  10. 10
    stacy says:

    Wow Tracy I could have written that myself…great minds think alike!

  11. 11
    Aimee says:

    I have a fan page as well as a personal page. I put the same photos on both pages. I have fans on my fan page that I have never met before and would not have known of me with out it. I think it is important to have both pages. I have gotten many bookings from both pages. Also tagging people in the photos is very important because every photo you tag and one of their friends clicks on it, it links them back to your page.

    The facebook uploader destroys the quality of the pictures. They have two different uploaders. The one used to post wall photos is the worst. If you add to an album or create an album it is a different uploader and it looks much better.

  12. 12
    Casey says:

    Noa – read this link: http://www.damiensymonds.com.au/art_facebook.html

    I am a little bit torn on personal accounts (that are used as personal accounts, Farmville and Mafia Wars and incendiary status updates and all) versus setting up a fan page or a separate personal account just for your business. First, I would encourage everyone who is considering using their personal account to check the terms and see if what you’re posting about your business can violate the terms of use: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php. See section 2 #4: “You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain….” Will FB crack down? Perhaps not, but it’s something to be aware of.

    Second, I am not sure I feel entirely comfortable with my spheres of influences conjoining here. Do I need my clients to see that I like Bejeweled? Or what if a friend posts something really just awful to my wall? Do my clients need to be subjected to that?

  13. 13
    stacy says:

    Just wanted to add that for facebook to really work for you, your work also has to speak for itself…dare to be different and post new stuff often!

  14. 14
    Marchelle says:

    I agree – FB has been a huge marketing tool for my business! But I do have a fan page because my personal page is private. I do become friends (in real life, and on FB) with my clients, but I don’t necessarily need their cousin’s brother’s neighbor’s boyfriend seeing my status update that talks about the goofy thing my 4 year old said this morning. I do have photos of my children on my website and fan page, but there are some things that I do not care to share with the World Wide Web.
    Just wanted to point out that the Fan Page works just as well for those of us that want to keep our private life private! Thanks for the great post!

  15. 15

    I’m actually one of those Photographers who found their personal profile page deleted by facebook ( as Jerome mentiond as commenter # 6 ) . Assuming it was because I was intermingling with the business side (who doesn’t?) but I never did get an answer from FB as to why my page was deleted. With that said I also have a Fan page AND a Group page and just about EVERYONE from my personal page is a fan on my fan page but there are many people on my fan page that I will not intermingle with my personal page for personal reasons. But have found my fan page to be the #! source of generated business for me.
    Great article BTW.

  16. 16
    Dave says:

    You should also read the Terms of Service to see if you can live with the fact that FB can license your photos (charge someone else) or use them any way they want, without further permission from you, or paying you a penny…

    • 16.1
      Margot says:

      I’ve been very wary of this and am curious how they’re able to use images of my clients without model releases? Sounds like a legal minefield for them if they exercise this ‘right!’

  17. 17
    Alexa says:

    Great post! I will definitely be using some of this… That shot of your little boy is too cute too!

    Not too sure about joining my fanpage and personal page into one though…

  18. 18
    karen gunton says:

    great post! i am enjoying reading everyone’s take on personal vs business. i have chosen to keep mine seperate. i will still do my blog posts on my personal page but otherwise i only use my fan page for my business.

    one reason is i don’t really want potential and past clients seeing all of my personal comments about drinking beer on the beach etc. =) but the other reason is that i have had a situation with a FB troll that was not only annoying but also a little frightening. so i only friend people I ‘know’ (including FB friends i have gotten to know online) on my personal account, and i keep my fan page for interactions with strangers, friends, clients, potential clients etc.

    i would also love to read a post about twitter. i have only just started with twitter and am not sure i get it yet. =)

  19. 19
    Nicole says:

    LOL I was wondering why there was a smiley face between 7 and 9 until I realized it was the 8 and parenthesis! Great article!

  20. 20
    Julie says:

    Facebook hasn’t been a huge hit for my business either but that doesn’t stop me from using it. I’m hopeful that it will start working! Great post.

  21. 21

    Great post! Facebook actually was what STARTED my business…I got so many requests for ‘real sessions’ just from posting things I’d done for friends and family. I started a Fan Page recently but my personal page is definitely where I get the most response, that was interesting that you mentioned that.

  22. 22
    Maria says:

    I absolutely love Facebook. I just bought my first DSLR last year and as soon as I started posting my pics, people started asking, are you doing photography? Well, I had told myself that I was going to familiarize myself with my camera first before I even attempted anything, but the offers to shoot this and that came hard and fast. And all I had to do was post a few pics here and there. Fast forward one year later, I’ve upgraded all my gear and am completely booked for the next few months. It’s insane! Everyone knows someone who wants pictures taken, and Facebook gives you the opportunity to show people what you can do…

  23. 23
    David says:

    Great Blog! I wrote on the same topic a few months ago and you have some great points here.

    If you are looking to network with other photogs (on Facebook) check out the PhotoBiz Fan Club with over 4,000 fans: http://facebook.com/photobiz

    Talk with some photographers that have increased their fan base by over 1,000 in less than a week and share ideas that work!

  24. 24
    kate cowan says:

    Hi! Thanks for the great Facebook article and tips. I am just dipping my toe in starting my photography business and really appreciate you sharing your insights :)

  25. 25
    Grace says:

    Just reading the comments about FB. I am considering a Fan Page for my photography on FB. I have a personal page and like others here, I do not wish to combine the two. I am assuming that the Fan Page is just open to anyone on FB. What about copyright and protection of identify for the photos of the clients that you post. I always get them to sign a copyright agreement in case I want to use their photos on display. Does anyone know if this is a violation on FB to post other peoples photos for business purposes?

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