Snapchat 101: A Guide for Senior Photographers

Moira West


Snapchat’s a great way to connect with seniors and promote your photography business. According to Snapchat, “On any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year olds in the United States,” making it a key element of marketing to seniors.

But if you’ve never used Snapchat before, getting started can seem a little intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you get acquainted with the mobile app.

The Lingo

Snaps: The individual photos or video clips you take in Snapchat. Snaps can be altered using filters, stickers, text, and drawing tools. These finished snaps can be sent to friends, though once your friend has viewed a snap, it’s deleted.

Chats: Like the name suggests, this is a chat with a Snapchat user. The chat is deleted once a user moves away from the chat screen.

Snapcode: Each Snapchat user has an individual code (a little like a QR code). You can add users as friends by taking a photo of the Snapcode in Snapchat. You can also customize your Snapcode with your picture (taken in Snapchat).

Peter Hurley's Snapcode

Stories: In Snapchat, these are a collection of snaps that become part of a 24-hour feed. After 24 hours, individual snaps within your story are deleted. However, you can download your story to use later (for example, in an Animoto video). This is how most businesses market using Snapchat, and how individual Snapchat personalities get well known. It’s also one of the best ways to use Snapchat to reach seniors (more on that in a bit).

Getting Started

Setting up an account is very simple:

  1. Select “Sign Up.”
  2. Enter your information: name, date of birth, phone number, and so on. You can also link Snapchat to your contacts to see who else has Snapchat, too.
  3. Start snapping. (See, we told you it was simple.)

Creating Snaps

Even though Snapchat doesn’t come with many instructions, it doesn’t have a complicated interface either. It works a lot like a smartphone camera, with a simple shutter button. To take video, just hold down the shutter until you’re done filming. On the same screen as the camera, you have access to your settings and contacts, as well as boxes telling you if you have messages from friends or new stories to view. Clicking the box will take you to your messages or stories.

Creating Snaps in Snapchat

Once you take a photo or video clip, you’ll be taken to a screen to edit it. You can add filters, doodle on your photo, or even hit X to start over. When you’re happy with your image or video, you can send your snap, download it, and add it to your story.

Editing Snaps

Snapchat stories

For photographers, especially senior photographers, there are compelling reasons to add Snapchat to what you already do on social media. Most of those reasons relate to Snapchat Stories. Stories last 24 hours, giving seniors time to share your content with their friends (and potential clients). They’re also saveable, so you can add them to videos, as senior photographer Teri Fode did in the video below.

Style: Documentary
Song: “Pacifica” by Daniel Christopher O’Donnell-Smith and Jon Dix

While Teri has already detailed several ways you can use Snapchat stories, here’s a quick breakdown of exactly how to download your stories and add them to videos.

  1. When you take a photo or video clip that you like, select the icon for adding a snap to your Story (a square with a plus sign in the right corner). This will add your content to your Story, where followers can see it. If you have clients follow you, they can easily share your info with friends.

  2. If you feel you’re happy with your story, or if you’ve finished a session with a client and want to download the related Story, touch the button for your Stories (it looks like a triangle made up of three circles).

  3. Your story will appear at the top of the Stories page. You can select it to look at individual Snaps, and even delete them by selecting a Snap and tapping the trash can icon at the bottom right.

  4. Click the three dots to the right of the words “My Story” to find the option to download the Snaps you’ve saved in the past 24 hours.

    Downloading your Snapchat Story
  5. Once downloaded, your Story will appear in your camera roll, where you can save it for the future or add it to an Animoto video just as you would any video clip.

Creating and downloading Snapchat Stories can be an easy way to connect with senior clients. And once you’ve learned to basics, it’s easy to add Snapchat to your social media marketing mix.

How are you using Snapchat in your senior photography business? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on Facebook or Twitter by tagging @Animoto.