Instagram has become the social network teens use. According to a recent survey by Piper Jaffrey, 76% percent of teens use Instagram – more than any other networking site, including Facebook and Twitter. That adds up to a lot of potential clients for a savvy senior photographer. So how do you break into Instagram marketing? We asked popular senior portrait photographer Clark Sanders about his impressive following on Instagram and about how he is using Instagram and Animoto to market his business.
What’s your background as a photographer?
I’ve been in photography as long as I can remember. As a profession, I’ve been at it since probably 2002 or 2003, and finally got up enough nerve to pursue a full-time career in 2010. I have a small portrait studio in North Arkansas.
When did you start using Instagram?
I don’t think it was immediately after it started, but it wasn’t long after. I’ve got 3787 posts on my Instagram feed. Yeah, I posted that many.
What are you posting on Instagram these days?
I try to keep it pretty relevant to my business, but sometimes I throw in something silly. If you search through my feed, you’ll see I actually posted my high school senior portrait in my Instagram feed. It’s not real pretty at all. I graduated in 1985, so I had a can of hairspray and feathered back hair. It makes me cringe when I look at it. I always tell my seniors — this is what you’re not going to get when you come to me. I’ll make you look a hundred times better than that.
Q: You have more than 2000 followers on Instagram. How did you end up with so many?
It’s taken time. I want people to follow me because they like my work. I have friends that’ll give me a shout out, or a lot of the seniors I photograph have got a lot of friends. Some of the girls will post their senior session and I ask now when they do, to tag me. I guess you could say it’s been an organic kind of thing, because it’s just been over time.
I remember the first time it hit a thousand, I thought, oh my gosh, I got a thousand people following me, that’s so cool! But then it’s, well, are they going to use me? Are they going to book a session? And sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But I got an email from a parent in Alabama, which is two states away from us, and she was interested in bringing her daughter to me from Alabama for her senior session. She followed me on Facebook and her daughter followed me on Instagram. That made me feel so good that someone thought so much of my work to come all the way here. But that’s the power of social media.
Why did you start using Animoto to market on Instagram?
Well, [Instagram has] had the video feature for quite a while, but I’ve got some friends that’d post some little videos, and they’d post either photos from a session or just little tidbits – maybe a little 15-second promotion for their studio. And I thought, I’d kind of like to do that with some of my seniors.
The first thing I thought was, what app did they use to make that? And then it hit me – well, duh, you’ve got an Animoto subscription, and it’s awesome, and you use it anyway. Then my wheels started to turn. I thought, well, Instagram is square; I’ll crop my images square, and I’ll go in and check all the different styles and see which ones keep the images square and in the center.
What styles do you like the best for Instagram?
If I had to pick one, the Animoto Original is probably one of my favorites. I used 1:1 and Simplicity. I used Aperture. Aperture is awesome for Instagram. There’s one video I did of Chase Martin Session Favorites, and I used Aperture on that.
How has the response been to your Animoto videos on Instagram?
A lot of the kids think it’s cool. I’ve had a lot of photographers say, “How’d you do that? How’d you do that?” And I have to go tell them, use Animoto.
Clark Sanders is a senior portrait photographer in North Arkansas. Check out his Instagram feed, including his Animoto videos, at https://instagram.com/clarksanders/.