As a photographer and a business owner, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of things you feel like you need to do from day to day. Whether it’s showing up in your stories or posting to TikTok or remembering to engage with people on Instagram, it’s like every day there’s something new to do.
I get it, trust me. It’s a lot.
And, when I saw that Instagram had released yet another feature last year with Reels, I was tired before I even looked into it. I remember thinking, “how the heck am I supposed to balance something else on social while still trying to grow my business?”
But Instagram Reels have ended up being one of my very favorite ways to show up on social media and engage with people from my phone — and they’re fun! Plus, it can actually be super impactful to use Reels in your business, I promise…. and you don’t need to make up dances, point at words, or be something you’re not. Here’s what you need to know.
Why are Instagram Reels so good for photographers?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve definitely spent quite a bit of time scrolling down the Reels section of your Instagram app, and that’s exactly why they’re so powerful. See, the Instagram algorithm is weirdly smart — and it knows how to show people what they want to see. Since the algorithm showcases the things people are searching for or are interested in, it’s a great opportunity to show up for an audience that might not follow you yet. For instance, if someone who just got engaged has been searching for a wedding photographer on IG, your wedding photography Reel might just show up on their feed — similar to the Explore page.
How to use Instagram Reels the WRONG way in your business…
I think using Reels the right way can be super, super powerful, but I also think that using Reels the wrong way can have the opposite effect you want. Here’s the thing: you want to showcase YOUR business, your unique light, and what makes you the best choice for someone looking for a photographer. That means that when you show up on Reels, you want to know who you’re speaking to, and you want to talk to your dream future customer or follower. While connecting with people you won’t work with is one of the unexpected joys of Instagram in itself, it’s probably not going to be a goal of yours on Reels.
If you take some time to scroll through your own Reels feed, it’ll be easy to see a ton of Reels trends that you’re probably tempted to follow. After all, it can get hard to try to think of enough inspiring content to actually put together, right? But, it’s so, so, so important to remember that you want to post content that’s going to attract the right kind of person. I see so many aspiring photographers sharing Reels on things like baking cookies, and, while that’s fun (and delicious), it’s probably not going to move the needle in their business if they’re not a food photographer. What would move the needle, though? Sharing a Reel about tips focused on your future customer, like how to choose the right wedding photographer if you’re looking to shoot newly engaged brides.
Another thing I notice photographers doing that’s a huuuuuge no-no is degrading customers or future customers in any way, regardless of how harmless they might think it is. For instance, they’ll post Reels poking fun of customers who ask ridiculous questions like asking for their raw files or they’ll share a Reel talking about late invoices or people asking for discounts. Here’s the thing: sharing content like that can be super funny but it can also be incredibly damaging to a future customer, especially if they’re already nervous to search for the right photographer. If a future customer comes to your page and feels like you’re super cynical or intimidating with a bunch of Reels that are essentially making fun of them, they’ll probably move on to a photographer who feels more welcoming.
How to get started with Instagram Reels
Whether you’re looking to grow your following or attract some new clients your way, Instagram Reels CAN help you get there — and, I promise, it’s not as hard or as intimidating as you think! Your first job is to decide what result you really want, so that you can position yourself as the expert you are. Do you want to share tips for finding the right photographer? Do you want to attract product based businesses? I’m a huge fan of brain-dumping everything, so I want to encourage you to grab a piece of paper and write down everything you want to happen from posting Reels. When you go into it with some strategy, it’s so much easier to make it successful.
Next, you just have to go for it! Reels are one of those things that you’ll get better with as you go, just like with anything good in business. Your first couple Reels may take you forever to figure out, but it gets easier and quicker the more you do it. So, here’s your challenge: post some reels (you can use this brainstorm list as inspo!), and tag me in them so I can see. I’ll pick some faves and share them, too! After all, we’re all in this together.
Instagram Reels ideas for Photographers
- An introduction into who you are, where you’re from, what you do
- A behind the scenes look into how you work
- A client review
- Sneak peeks from a shoot
- Tips for your future customer (for example: tips for a stress-free family photoshoot, advice for finding the right photographer)
- Share a story behind your favorite image
- Why you should hire a _____ photographer (aka you)
- Your own journey as a photographer
- Video clips from your shoots
- Share your latest shoot to a trending song
There’s so much more to choose, from too — endless opportunities, really! Instagram Reels are such a great reminder that, even though it seems like social media can be super overwhelming, it can be really, really fun, too. I can’t wait to see the Reels YOU create for your photography business, so don’t forget to share them with me! I’m so excited.