Instagram… finally!

Gates to a disused Royal Mail sorting office, Christchurch, Dorset. ©Neil Turner. November 2013

I’m not actually sure why but I have avoided Instagram since it was launched. I am aware that it can be used as a good shop window for photographers and I am equally aware that it can suck hours from your day. The thing that finally made me sign up and dive in was when a third picture editor informed me that they didn’t look at portfolios unless they’d seen an Instagram feed first.

When it happened for the first time I wrote it off as the narrow silliness of a very young picture editor. The second time made me think that the whole industry was going nuts but when it happened a third time I decided that I had to move with the times. Now this isn’t the first time that I have been (too) late to a party. I used Flickr when it first came out but deleted my account fairly promptly before getting back in the saddle a couple of years later. I had perviously used EyeEm as a mini-folio but that appeared to be a waste of effort after several months of putting effort into it. Could Instagram be the answer for me?

Those of you that follow this blog will know that I have been less than 100% mobile for the last nine months or so and that when I wrote about my back pain and subsequent surgery I proposed that a good use of time whilst not working would be to refresh portfolios and have a look at social media so that’s what I am doing. I am ready to start getting out there again soon and so I have timed my arrival on Instagram to coincide with a push for new work that I am planning later in the year. I have started to post personal folio images with the hashtag #archive on a daily basis (between one and three images per day) and I have lined up a couple of weeks worth of those. Then I intend to post a small selection of my classic technique images before getting on with the serious business of generating new pictures just for Instagram. At the same time I am gently retiring my Flickr account again and working out exactly how to integrate Instagram with the other social media platforms that I use such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The funny thing about Instagram is that you appear to be judged on the number of followers that you have. From a standing start I guess that just over 200 in two weeks isn’t too bad and there’s no doubting the quality of those followers because most of them are my peers and even a few photographers whose work I look up to. I don’t set the rules – to others this is a numbers game and so I need numbers. If everyone who reads this post follows me that would be an amazing boost. If everyone who has ever read anything on this blog were to miraculously follow me then I’d be a very happy chap.

When I set up my account I used the line “Editorial & corporate photographer still in love with the job after well over thirty years” and that is certainly true. Whether I am in love with everything that you have to do to publicise and promote yourself is a whole other matter. A necessary evil for sure but keeping so many social media plates spinning whilst keeping an online portfolio and various tablet and print based folios current as well can be very time-consuming. I want to do this properly and I want to get the balance between effort and reward somewhere near right as well. If you have any sage advice for me please use the comments option on this blog or my email to share them.

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