If you’re not building a personal brand on Instagram in 2021, you’re leaving opportunities on the table.
Your personal brand is not only your work. It encompasses who you are, why you work, how you work, and what you do for your audience.
When people hear your name, they should be able to recall what you stand for. That’s the might and purpose of a personal brand.
If you’re a photographer, you know how important it is to define your niche and expand your network. Having a personal brand helps you achieve these goals.
In this article, we’ll explore how creative people like you can develop a strong photography brand on Instagram and use a website to build a personal brand.
We’ll also dive into some creative photography Instagram accounts (and related creative profiles) that are doing an amazing job of showcasing their work. We hope you can derive some learnings about how to promote your photography on Instagram.
Website and social media for personal branding
One of the first steps you should take toward building a personal brand is having your own website. It’s a corner of the Web you can claim as your own.
Photographer websites give you a chance to tell your story to your audience in a style that is unique to you. It is where you display your portfolio, connect with peers, mentors, and clients, and conduct business.
Another aspect of building your brand is to have a presence on social media.
Most influencers, small businesses, and big brands have a presence on Instagram today. The platform has surpassed 1 billion users in 2020.
Think of the size of the reach you can achieve!
Instagram emphasizes visual storytelling through its square photos, videos, stories, and reels. It’s the best platform currently to showcase your unique style and personality to the world.
You can use various inbuilt photo editing tools to share your photography on Instagram and receive feedback from the vibrant creative community on the platform.
Remember to connect your website and social media handles to each other. It presents a streamlined image and attracts new followers.
A compelling personal brand helps you build a lasting presence in your industry. You can also attract lucrative media opportunities and appeal to new clients.
How can you leverage Instagram to stand out from the crowd?
Let’s take a leaf out of the books of some successful creatives by exploring what they do best on the platform.
7 creatives who use Instagram for personal branding
Take a look at how these 10 creative people leverage Instagram to build their personal brand.
Eriksson is a Barcelona-based illustrator who creates bright, bold compositions with vivid imagery. She uses Illustrator to create the shapes and adds highlights, texture, shadows, and other elements using Photoshop.
She draws inspiration from practically anything – clothes and accessories worn by people, books, street art, films, patterns in nature.
Instagram has given her the perfect platform due to its visuals-first vibe. Eriksson showcases her work on her website, her agent’s website, and on her Instagram account.
On Instagram, she gives her audience a more intimate look into her work life – what she’s currently working on, how she creates her compositions, and what her process is like.
At 93.3K followers, she certainly has a wide fan base.
She uses Instagram highlights to cleverly promote various aspects of her work:
- iPad drawings,
- client work,
- interviews, and
It’s a comprehensive look into her professional life and a sneak peek into her personal one.
As a full-time freelancer, she’s using Instagram to build an easily recognizable brand.
Think bright colors and organic shapes and you’re likely to think of Eriksson.
Wade Jeffree and Leta Sobierajski
Art Director and designer Wade Jeffree’s account is a study in branding. Through short videos and photographs on Instagram, Wade and his partner Leta display their quirky sense of color and design.
In their own words, “Wade and Leta make music for your eyes. Their studio combines purposeful eclecticism and performative design to create satisfying and emotional visuals ranging from conventional identities to colorfully charged compositions utilizing all disciplines.”
Their posts speak about how they work with clients in great detail:
- the ideation process,
- the brainstorming,
- the thought that went into finding alignment with the client brief,
- the execution of the idea, and
- the outcome.
It’s interesting to read how they explain the “why” behind their work and their experience of working with each client.
Some of their eye-catching posts are:
- A branding project for Sons and Co. – unconventional and painstakingly detailed designs
- A visual identity for Lola Pizza – simple yet powerful imagery
- Branding for Kinglake Distillery – reflects the brand’s values and gravitas perfectly
Safe to say, Wade and Leta have successfully built a distinct personality and photography brand on Instagram.
Nick Ulivieri’s passion for photography shines through on his Instagram page.
He shoots the skies above Chicago and the structure and architecture of its various buildings. He also dabbles occasionally with abstract photos.
It’s a breathtaking look at the beauty and symmetry of nature and man-made objects.
Ulivieri employs Instagram Highlights to give his audience a behind-the-scenes view into his preparation, equipment, process, and the tiny details that you don’t even know exist.
He infuses personality into his profile by also sharing other aspects of his life — his favorite books (by year), his work set up, and some household stuff with his partner.
He also uses Instagram to drive his freelance business, talking about:
- his digital products like calendars,
- offering tickets to photography workshops, and
- tips and tricks to shoot in extreme weather (of which he is a master!)
Ulivieri’s profile is not just pleasing to the eye due to its sleek esthetic, it also projects what he is all about as a person and a professional.
He is successfully promoting himself as a master of his genre and offering a human interest angle as well.
At first look, Simone Bramante’s work is an eclectic mix of colors and hues and a lot of light and shadow play. He appears to have a knack for capturing the magic in people, landscapes, and objects.
Bramante uses a combination of photographs and engaging videos on Instagram to tell his stories. Many of his photographs feature members of his family. He is a Creative Director with a gift for photography.
He often speaks of contemporary topics through his photographs and the popularity of his work is evident in the number of “likes” each post receives — nothing less than 10K.
Just like other creatives, Bramante harnesses the power of Instagram Highlights to spread awareness about his book and his work. He has categorized his travels and causes by theme – Sustainability, Water, and Desert. He also offers a peek into his family life where photography and design feature heavily. (Why is this not surprising?)
Bramante’s bio leads us to his website where he provides information about his clients and his credentials. It’s a great approach to building a personal brand with a combination of Instagram and a personal website.
Meera Lee Patel
Meera Lee Patel, an artist and author of illustrated books, uses just about every hack in the book to promote her work on Instagram. Her profile is a beautiful example of how creatives can find an outlet for their creative expression, market their work, and earn from it.
She seamlessly bridges her identity as a visual storyteller along with that of a new mother and makes the combination potent. She features her baby occasionally wearing her designs and it’s sure to draw in brands looking to hire her services.
Her posts are a mix of her bright watercolor artwork, her digital products, and her published prints (magazine and book covers, calendars, planners, journals, cards, framed photos). Several discounts and giveaways feature on her page leading to her shop on her website.
Patel also markets her Skillshare course on “Drawing for Personal Growth” through Instagram Highlights.
She advocates growing your own food and eating home-cooked meals that tie in with the theme of her books – living with intention. It’s a smart piece of subtle marketing that builds her credibility as a person who walks the talk.
Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda
Anna Devis and Daniel Rueda are trained architects known for their unmistakable style involving hand-painted props, the use of everyday objects as canvases, and humorous imagery.
Their Instagram account is filled with bright, larger-than-life photographs based on geometric elements and bold patterns and theatrical images using portions of everyday buildings as a background.
They also have short videos demonstrating the process behind taking the photos and creating the props, most of which are handmade.
Using a combination of clever posing and imaginative imagery, they have built their own aesthetic. Their photos are simple and minimalistic yet have a powerful impact.
Devis and Rueda write long, catchy captions and use clever wordplay to highlight interesting aspects of the photograph or the process behind the shot.
Their Instagram bio links to various offerings:
- their photography website,
- their online course,
- their for-sale prints,
- their latest blog post, and
- their live talks.
They have leveraged their Highlights to show the audience the different aspects of their professional life – gallery exhibitions of their prints, examples of their featured work in publications and television, interviews, brand campaigns, and making it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
They also give us a tour of their house and how their creative influences are reflected in the interior design.
A focal point of their work is how they minimize the use of Photoshop, choosing instead to depend on perspectives and lighting to create stunning images. It’s a unique approach to building a photography brand on Instagram.
Jacob Santiago has made a name for himself documenting the many moods and faces of New York City. Begun in 2012 as a personal account posting selfies and breakfast scenes, Santiago switched to capturing the beauty of his city.
Many famous landmarks and locales like Central Park and Chinatown feature in his photographs
He plays with light, hues, tones, and textures in his posts to make them more interesting. People love his work as is evident from his large following – 125K people!
Showcasing his work on Instagram has enabled him to grow into a professional photographer and designer with brands commissioning him to create their visual identity.
Santiago links to his website from the bio section where he displays even more of his work that includes GIFs and videos.
He also links to a second account that features an 80s vibe and retails memorabilia from the 80s through an Etsy shop front. It’s a smart way to piggyback on the popularity of his main account to drive interest and sales to his side hustle.
No matter who you are or what you do, you need to build a compelling personal brand today. As a creative, putting your work out in front of more people has become simpler than ever.
There are several social media platforms that are designed specifically with visual artists in mind. Be it photographs, videos, memes, or GIFs, you can carve your unique style and presence online.