“How come you’re not as active as you used to be?”
So, I’ve been getting some questions from colleagues and friends on what I’ve been up to lately. My social media presence has diminished greatly in the past months and they were getting concerned. Am I okay? Am I still involved with photography outside of my job?
Well, after some deep thought and contemplation, I’ve decided to formally announce that I am done.
No, I’m not done with photography. That will never happen. I’m planning on being buried with a camera when that day comes.
What I am done with is the whole social media promo/marketing aspect of photography. Let me explain.
One year ago, at the height of my marketing, I was posting to my blogs, Instagram, my Facebook business page, Flickr, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and even Snapchat. Each platform had different target audiences, each had to have content geared to those platforms, each one had to be updated at specific times to reach the specific audiences, et cetera. Several times a week.
Add to that the actual content creation – ie photoshoots and editing and all that goes with it – and it is easy to say that it was more than a full time job. It was actually a job and a half. Every week. On top of my regular day job of teaching.
Fast forward to today. I have a full time job of taking and editing pictures. I quickly realized that the last thing I wanted to do after coming home from eight hours of that was to sit down and do another 4 or 5 hours of my own shooting, editing images, and social media marketing. I barely had enough energy to cook dinner, clean, do some errands and then call it a day.
That was the first step towards my decision. The second one came after I looked at the results from years of effort of marketing. Yes, I got new clients but I realized something. The majority of my new clients came from word of mouth recommendations from those I’ve worked with before. I do a shoot with someone, they show a friend or relative, the friend/relative decide they want to do a shoot, and contact me.
It makes perfect sense. All the glitz and hype seen on social media doesn’t hold a candle to the words spoken by someone you know and trust who has done it themselves.
The last step was when I realized that I’m good with the level I’m working at now. Sure, I’m not reaching as far out as I used to. Yes, my viewership is down. Yes, I’m missing out on potential clients and I’m ok with that. Last weekend I had four sessions – one of them with someone brand new to me. This weekend I have two. I’ve already got sessions scheduled for the coming weeks with more potentially in the works.
All with little to no extra effort on marketing from me. In fact I deleted my Facebook business page a month ago. I’ve stopped posting images on Twitter and Tumblr. In short, I’m just as busy photographically as I was in the past but now I’m not working as hard. The pressure is off and I can concentrate on the sessions and images
It is my plan to continue the blog pages and Instagram to show what I’m up to but the marketing spin will be absent. I won’t lose sleep if I don’t post two new images to Instagram a week, for example.
New images are coming and will continue to come, I promise.
Mark Knopp is a Yorktown/Hampton, Virginia-based portrait photographer.