Rachid Dahnoun, @rachidphotoBe Engaged. Most people who don't do well on social networks forget that it isn't all about you; you need to interact with other people on the network by liking, commenting and following other accounts. Building relationships with other users will really help boost your own account's engagement.
Be Consistent. Posting once a week isn't going to cut it. Nor is posting a beautiful landscape one day and a furry kitten the next. Consistency across the board is key. You want to be posting at least 5 days a week (7 is ideal). That said, you don't want to over-post either. If you overload your followers with 4 posts in an hour they are likely to dump you. For content, you want to stay true to yourself and your brand. When someone looks at your feed the work should look and feel cohesive, just like a portfolio.
Jess McGlothin, @jess_mcglothlin_mediaLook Outside Your Immediate Target Audience. I specialize in fly-fishing and outdoor adventure travel, but I’ve seen an increase in fitness and general travel followers when I tailor a post to less-technical viewers. A fun one-liner with a post about my favorite sandals for airplane rides? That’s guaranteed to land a few new followers outside my normal “dude with a beard and a fly rod” genre. Tell Stories. An image is worth a thousand words, as they say. When someone is flipping through their feed, I want the image to make them stop and look deeper. It’s a tenet of strong photography, and it’s important here too. Instagram is a great tool of escapism… enable that a bit; let people into the story. They'll respond. Let People in to Your World. Adding a ten-second video into your feed once in a while allows viewers to feel like they’re behind the scenes. In the past few months I shot iPhone videos of helicopters landing on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, people passing through the Lima airport at 1AM and a team bumping along a backcountry road in the Amazon jungle while dodging bamboo overgrowth. Video is a fantastic tool to relate to your audience… show that it’s not all fun and glory and good times! Sometimes the job is sleeping on airport floors, dealing with infected wounds and burning time on long car rides. Let’s not be afraid to talk about that!
Andrew Peacock, @footloosefotography
Be True to Yourself. It's important that I am excited about posting and it helps if I keep things fresh and post very recent work rather than spend time 'mining' my archive looking for something to post just because I feel pressure to do so! I think of my Instagram feed as a portfolio for my adventure travel photography, so I only post high quality images and I keep it 'real' in terms of any post processing, to ensure my feed is an accurate reflection of the style of work I deliver to clients.
Find Partners. I'm very lucky to be able to travel widely, so I make sure to post images across a range of subjects and locations to appeal to those looking for adventure travel inspiration on Instagram. Occasionally I'll also share my work on a feed with a larger audience. By establishing personal connections with relevant people at companies with huge Instagram followings - Lonely Planet, for instance - I've gained an avenue to share my work with a broader audience.
Paul Zizka, @paulzizkaphoto
#Trending! Posting images relevant to current natural events seems to give my post an extra boost in interaction. Whether it's season specific, ie. snowy scene during the Winter months, or an Aurora post during or after a solar storm, finding images that people can relate to as something they're experiencing or thinking about is a strategy that pays off for me.
Sean Davey, @sean_davey
Ask Questions. I post a a mix of images as they happen, along with classic surf images from my days as a magazine photographer, to keep the content interesting and different as much as I can. I try to engage my audience as much as possible. Ask them a question about the picture, or in my case, I ask them to name the photo and reward the winner with a few 8x10’s. I see that as part of my advertising budget, so to speak.
David Hanson, @davidhanson3
Share Personal Work. For over a dozen years I've collected portraits and interviews of people I meet, most complete strangers. With over 400, I turned to Instagram to post one per day for 2017. It's a fun way to stay both consistent and unpredictable. I was a writer before I was a photographer so I like digging beyond the pic. And part of me hopes to learn some secret to life from the people.
Kay Vilchis Zapata, @kayuvilchis
Join the Celebration. I like to upload photos on days that are celebrating something, like for example National Dolphin Day. I think that by celebrating something everyone talks about that topic and in the same way you can make your audience aware of conserving those important elements and taking more care of the planet.
PDN just announced the 2016 winners of The Great Outdoors photography contest in categories including Action/Adventure, Landscapes, Beaches/Underwater, and Wildlife/Insects. Open to both pro and amateur shooters, The Great Outdoors contest celebrates the beautiful vistas, diverse wildlife and adventure that make our planet so unique.
We’re excited to share that several Aurora photographers, which we entered into the contest, were selected as winners in 3 out of the 4 professional categories including Sean Naugle who won the Grand prize in the Professional Action/Adventure category.
Our first place winners included Paul Zizka in the Landscapes category and Sergio Villalba in the Beaches/Underwater category. Chris Schmid and Chris Ross were also selected as winners in the Action/Adventure and Beaches/Underwater categories. Additionally, 3 more of our photographers, Adam Clark, Krystle Wright and Alasdair Turner won with their own independent entries in the Action/Adventure and Wildlife/Insects categories, respectively.
Although it’s always a challenge to select only a few pieces to submit from our photographers’ great body of imagery it's also extremely rewarding and validating to have their fantastic work recognized on such a big stage by a wide variety of judges.
Congratulations to all of the winners!
Check out our photographers' winning imagery below and browse the entire winner’s gallery here.
Grand Prize Winner: Sean NaugleFirst Place Professional, Landscapes: Paul Zizka First Place Professional, Beaches/Underwater: Sergio Villalba Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Chris Schmid Winner Professional, Beaches/Underwater: Chris Ross Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Adam Clark Winner Professional, Action/Adventure: Krystle Wright Winner Professional, Landscapes and Wildlife/Insects: Alasdair Turner