Behind the Lens is a new blog series where I'll be delving into different topics about my work as a freelance photographer. I've been getting a lot of questions via Instagram about the little details of my business, from how I market myself to dealing with clients and balancing being a full time parent and photographer, that I thought it might be interesting if I wrote a little more about it all. I'm hoping it's helpful to anyone wanting to pursue a creative career, balance parenting and work, go freelance or perhaps just start something on their own. If there's any specific topics you want me to cover, leave me a comment here or on Instagram!
If you follow me on Instagram, and more specifically if you watch my IG stories, you might have seen that I've created a new account (@siobhancalderphotography) just for my photography work. I haven't shouted about it too much yet as it's so new and I've only shared a few images. I actually feel a little nervous about it because it's a bit of a different voice to the one I've got so comfortable using. I'm just finding my feet with it, but it's really fun to have a new challenge while I'm figuring it all out. I've not even got 200 followers yet, but it's nice to see who has been coming over from my main account to learn more about my work. It's good to be chatting to some fellow photographers and enthusiasts too, it's really inspiring and I feel like I'm all of a sudden part of a whole different community. Obviously, I'm hoping there's some potential clients out there too, because...a girl's gotta eat.
Creating a new IG account just for my photography is something I've been toying with the idea of for a while, I've always felt that my professional work jars in my feed when I post something from a family or portrait session. There are so many images I don't share because they don't look right in my feed, and it always seems a little weird to have so many photos of me, Rory and my life and then suddenly jump to an image of a different person or family. Plus, those images never got much engagement either and I started to feel shy about posting them. I all but stopped marketing my business on Instagram, which was so counterproductive because currently that's where around 80% of my clients come from. I knew that sharing my work on Instagram was getting me clients, but I felt it conflicted with all the more personal and lifestyle stuff. I got to the point where I felt like it was holding me back from growing both sides of it, that I could have a great personal/lifestyle account or a great photography/work account but not both. It's hard to do, and I'm not sure I can think of anyone who 100% succesfully blends the two. I know people who do it well, but I think they would also admit to finding the mixture a little tricky.
I've spoken to a few other photographers about their feeds, why they do or don't have separate ones for work and personal stuff and how they feel Instagram fits into their business. And the answer is that it's different for everyone. Some people felt they couldn't manage two accounts, or they've tried it and it didn't work for them, some only want to be on IG for their photography work and some, like me, have a whole lifestyle side to their IG world that they want to hang on to. To separate or not to separate...it's down to the individual. After thinking about it for a year or so, I finally made the switch a few weeks ago. I'm not really sure why, I just got an impulse and followed it. I like to think in moments like that I tap into my lizard brain, you know? I'm a fairly impulsive person, much to Gav's dismay, and I like to follow my gut on these things. When you know, you know.
I'm only a few weeks in to using my new account, but already I am enjoying it so much. I've noticed that photographers have started following me, I'm getting more traction on posts when I use hashtags for family photographers and companies who create beautiful photo albums have been reaching out. I think simply having an IG handle that contains 'photography' immediately attracts followers who are soley looking for professional photographers to connect with and inspire them. It's clear exactly what my account does, and for the purposes of my business I am already loving that. I also feel a lot of freedom to be able to share any images I want without being afraid of boring people or promoting myself too much. Because it's pretty obvious why that account is there, and anyone following me is there to see more of it. And I love that!
Why I decided to create a new Instagram account:
- to separate my lifestyle content and professional photography
- to build a following with a strong interest in my photography, either as a client, photographer or enthusiast
- to streamline who I follow, focusing on family and portrait photographers
- as a mini portfolio
- to inspire my creativity, participate in hashtag challenges and competitions
- to hopefully get features with photography IG accounts, in a way that I know I won't with my personal one.
- to raise my profile as a photographer, amongst other photographers, feature accounts, magazines, conferences etc.
- to inspire other photographers and enthusiasts, share photography tips and behind the scenes of my work
- to promote my work, photo walks, mentoring packages and workshops
- to free up my personal account to focus on lifestyle content
Sometimes I feel a little bit like the new kid in school with my photography account. The comments and likes are fairly quiet, I'm finding my voice and building up my new feed slowly. It's currently all family sessions, because that's mostly what I've been doing this year, but my goal for the next six months is to work on building a portfolio of creative portraits. Diversify a little. I'm really excited to share my work, be inspired to create more and hopefully in turn help and inspire you with your photography.
I actually got a little feature on @dearphotographer the other day as one of their IG accounts to be inspired by. It's a little thing in the grand scheme of things, but to me it feels like a huge validation and tells me that I am doing the right thing. I am so excited to interact more with these accounts, and become a real part of this community of photographers.
Well, I hope this has been helpful for you if you have been thinking of starting a second account of your own. Perhaps it's for you, or perhaps it's not...but maybe my words have helped you decide. Don't forget to come and join me on my new account @siobhancalderphotography for more of my work, photography tips and behind the scenes. Leave me a comment here or on IG with any other questions for this series too!