I’m a photographer who is looking to branch out on my own. I've been working on my portfolio, and I have my website up and running. People can buy prints through my website or my Etsy shop, but I’m still working out the kinks in my marketing plan.

I know that photographers heavily rely on social media, particularly Instagram, to get their names out there and start making sales. I seem to have hit a plateau in my number of followers. How can I get more Instagram followers?

Congratulations on your decision to branch out on your own. You're right – Instagram is the perfect platform for photographers to get their name out there. However, you’re also facing a lot of competition. On Instagram, everyone is a photographer. 

There are many ways to get more Instagram followers, but if you want genuine engagement, you’ll need to stand out in the crowd.

A beautiful photo of a breathtaking landscape can speak for itself, but you can only take so many “once in a lifetime” photos. 

It should go without saying that you should only post your best work on your Instagram account, and I would also recommend finding your niche. Like any other artist, you’re probably drawn to a particular theme. Maybe you like to photograph architecture, or landscapes. Find your niche, and target people who share this same interest.

Followers will expect you to maintain a cohesive style and subject matter, so do your best to stay within your niche. 

Also, think about the way that you’re posting your photos. Are you telling a story? Are you sharing what you were thinking/feeling when taking your photos? Add a personal touch to your photo captions. Some photos don’t need a backstory, but most will. Your followers want to get to know you, the person behind the camera, while appreciating and admiring your work.

Offer bits of wisdom, tips and advice on life and photography.

Speaking of captions – are you using any hashtags? Each post should have several relevant hashtags, which is how Instagram users will find your work. There is no rule on how many hashtags to include, but try to add as many as possible and make it count.

Engagement is the key to success with Instagram as a photographer. Many photographers make the mistake of treating other photographers as the competition – the enemy. But other photographers can be your greatest allies and customers. Try engaging and networking with other photographers. They may share your work with their followers, which will put your brand and your photos in front of more people. 

Make sure that you’re posting regularly, and that you’re taking advantage of Instagram Live and Stories. Take your followers behind the scenes of a shoot, or share snippets of your life through your Stories. Followers will see your Live and Stories first (these are the first things they see when they log into the app), so engagement is much higher. 

Ultimately, the key to getting more followers on Instagram is to post quality content, add a personal touch, use the right hashtags and take advantage of Live and Stories.

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