Social Media and Wildlife Photography

Social Media for Wildlife Photographers

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry 2 Comments

Social media is not just something we do on the side anymore.  It’s not something you just do now and then while mainly focusing on your website as the main place where people can find and view your work online.

Social media, and the various platforms that are available out there, is something that you should consider as an integral part of your online presence as a photographer.  It really should not be a question anymore but many many people just don’t seem to get it yet.

What, how and where to share their work seems to be one of the biggest things people seem to struggle with and the endless, pointless pursuit of getting likes or the most followers seem to still cloud a good, solid online content and social strategy.

A few short pieces of advise could include:

  • Always be authentic.  Keep it real in both your images and reason for posting them.  People can smell digital bullshit a mile off.
  • Know the ‘language’ of the various social media platforms.  One piece of content or image won’t work everywhere.
  • Don’t link your social profiles together.  It’s lazy and refer to the previous point.  Worst is the autopost between  Facebook and Twitter.
  • #please #stop #using #so #many #hashtags and rather have a specific plan with what you are trying to achieve using them.

This list could go on and on and based on the trends out there it’s something a lot of people should look at.  Seriously, how do you expect to give your images the attention they deserve if you do what everybody else is doing and scaring people off with more hashtags than the words in the description of your images?

As a photographer who is serious about getting your work out there, noticed and to either make a difference by adding value or building a solid online business profile this is something you definitely should take time for and work on.

I have had a few questions on this and have answered them in Q&A videos but if you have any specific questions on this head over to the page and ask your question there and I will include it in a future episode of our Wildlife Photography Q&A video series.

So with that all said and done I thought I’d look at a question I get asked often on course which has to do with image dimensions for online use.  The question normally revolves around Facebook banners and such as this is still the big daddy of social but there is a whole lot more.

Here are, in my order of personal preference, a few image dimensions (in pixels) which will help you to pimp out your various social media pages.

Facebook

Even though I have listed Facebook as first on my list I have not been paying as much attention to it as in 2014 and before that.  That being said I still take Facebook business pages very very seriously.

Let’s be honest, Facebook is noisy and it’s very easy for your image or message to get lost.  That being said, Facebook is still massive and with more than 1.4 billion active monthly users who spend an average of 20 minutes per visit you would be quite silly to ignore the potential reach and business possibilities.  If you know how to optimise your message the digital sky is the limit on Facebook.

Social Media and Wildlife Photography

 

Cover photo: 851 x 315

  • Appears on your profile at 851 x 351.
  • Smaller images will be stretched to fit the size.
  • Minimum acceptable size is 399 x 150.
  • PNG files may be better than JPG.

Profile Image:  180 x 180

  • Image must be at least 180 x 180
  • Photo will be shown at 160 x 160
  • Image will be used as thumbnail of 32 x 32 on Facebook.

If you would like to use the pixel dimensions above as ratios and plug them into Lightroom you can upsize your images easy enough.  I would suggest doing this, obviously within reason, which will make sure that when people click on your images they display properly even on the biggest screens.

You can find my Facebook page here.

Instagram

Instagram is without a doubt the place to be in 2015.  The mobile nature, clean feed and stunning visuals makes for an amazing place to showcase your wildlife images without all the noise.

But please oh please pay attention to hashtags and how you use them.  A spray and pray approach is not only quite pointless but looks desperate and, at the end of the day, only creates wonderful imagery for someone else’s feed or aggregator account.

Social Media and Wildlife Photography

Image size:  640 x 640

  • Instagram scales images to 612 x 612
  • Images appear in your feed at 510 x 510

Image thumbnails:  161 x 161

  • Make sure to always maintain an aspect ratio of 1:1

Profile image: 110 x 100

  • Make sure to always maintain an aspect ratio of 1:1

I personally upload all my Instagram images at 1000 x 1000 pixels.  This allows me to chop them up or utilise them for other platforms at a later stage if needed.

You can find my Instagram feed here.

Twitter

Many people don’t ‘get’ Twitter but during the last few weeks I have rekindled my love with the microblogging platform.

Don’t just hit up a schedule program and run tweet after tweet.  Rather think of Twitter as a pulse of the community you are interested in and listen.  Listen, listen, listen and then engage rather than just randomly pushing your images out and Twitter will yield some great digital returns.

Oh, and the launch of Periscope and Meerkat, which I am very excited about, has thrust Twitter back into the must have for many wildlife photographers.  I know I’m going to be spending quite a but more time on Twitter.

Social Media and Wildlife Photography

Header image:  1500 x 500

  • Recommended size is 1500 x 500
  • Maximum file size of 10MB

Profile image:  400 x 400

  • Recommended upload size 400 x 400
  • Image displayed at 200 x 200

You can find my Twitter feed here.

Google +

Apart from all my YouTube content which automatically gets added I have not done a single post on Google+ in a very, very long time.

I just don’t like the platform and have never gotten into it.  Yes yes, I know it’s linked to the largest search engine and shows images large and pretty and everything, etc etc but I just don’t think Google really hit this one as far out the park as they would have liked to.  I would not be surprised to see G+ disappear in the next year or so and be replaced by a Flickr type image platform rather than a full on social platform.

That said, if you have an audience on G+ who watches you and enjoys your work most definitely keep posting and engaging with them.

Just don’t, and this goes for all the various platforms, put all your social eggs in one media basket.

Social Media and Wildlife Photography

Cover image:  1088 x 608

  • Minimum image size is 480 x 270
  • Recommended image size is 1088 x 608
  • Maximum image size is 2120 x 1192

Profile image: 250 x 250

  • Minimum image size us 120 x 120
  • Recommended image size is 250 x 250

Since I have not done too much on G+ you can find my YouTube channel here.

If you guys want I can, in a future post, also look at YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn which are all also amazing places to drive your wildlife photography message home.  YouTube specifically is another place where people’s attention is this year so if you can, go there.

Social media does not have to be difficult and is, by it’s nature, social.

Think about it.

Would you walk into a cocktail party and go from person to person trying to immediately hard sell you new series of prints?  And then keep asking again and again and again even when they are not responding to you at all?  Or, would you go from person to person telling them how great you are and how great your images are and how great you are and how great your images are and how great you are… see, get’s kinda annoying but if you look at how some people approach social this is exactly what they are doing.

Don’t be that guy or girl.

Rather make sure the image you present is one that shows how proud and passionate you are of your images.  Add value to the people who want to listen, and do it so well that more people want to listen to you and then, once people have bought and what you do into you start thinking of trying to sell or ask something of them.  Simplified I know, but the theory is pretty solid is you stay authentic!

But for now, the first step to making your online profile look good is to choice some of your amazing images and then use this post to make your social media pages look beautiful!

Good luck, shout if you have any questions and see ya online.

Until next time.

Gerry

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About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at www.gerryvanderwalt.com or follow my journey on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope.  I look forward to changing the way you see the world! Have you checked out The Wildlife Photography Podcast?

Comments 2

    1. Post
      Author
      Gerry van der Walt

      Thanks Jan. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll gladly assist. If you have a following on G+ keep going but I would also look at setting up at least one other platform. Just in case! 🙂 Good luck!

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