Social Media

Social Media

A blog is a great way for a photographer to get their work out for the world to see.  It is an amazing undertaking and I have complete respect for any photographer who takes on the challenge.  It will transform your photography.

When I first built ShootTokyo I was trying to figure out how to get some exposure and like many photographers I turned to social media.   Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, 500px, StubleUpon, RSS, Reddit and the list goes on and on… This can be overwhelming, especially at first when you are trying to figure out where to best spend your time.

Social Media

I want to spend my time on photography but I also want to share my work out with the world so there is a need to invest in social media.   It is important to remember that these site are as their name implies ‘social’.  This means you are there to engage and interact with people.  You can’t simply go to a social media site and spam out your link and expect to get traffic.   You need to have meaningful interaction with people.  Nothing is more annoying than someone commenting on your photo like this ‘Great shot, check out my blog‘.  If this is your approach I do not think you will have a lot of success.

I have tried a lot of different approaches and I’ll share what has worked well for me.   Different approaches work for different people.  I was having lunch with Street Photographer Erik Kim and we were discussing what worked well for us.  It was interesting to hear what was working for me wasn’t for Erik and vice versa.   There are so many social networks that I think you need to limit yourself to a few and I have choosen to focus the majority of my efforts on Google+ and a bit on Facebook and Twitter.  I don’t spend time on most of the others as I simply don’t have the time.  There is no correct answer…this is just what works for me.

When you first establish your blog make sure you set up an RSS feed.  I use Google’s Feedburner.  It it a great way to syndicate out your blog and get a base of followers.  A lot of people prefer to read blogs via an RSS readers or email and this is a great way to allow them to do that.  As a writer of a blog you might end up being surprised on the following you pick up via your feed.  I currently have 1,300 subscribers that get my blog delivered to them each day.  About half of them view the feed each day and half of that group clicks through to ShootTokyo.  I also have another 4,000 subscribing through Google Currents.

The next tool I experimented with was Twitter.  It took me a while to figure out Twitter honestly.  I initially just used it send out my link when I posted.  I found it was much more useful for news and when I wanted a real time view of what was going on.  It was easy to leverage to interact with people while on the go as everyone is limited to 140 characters so I often use it while in cabs, trains, or waiting to board a plane.   I find I have a group of ‘photography friends’ that I chat with while I am on the go.  I have built up a following of 1,800 people and Twitter helps to drive a fair amount of traffic to ShootTokyo.

I use Facebook but primarily for staying connected with friends and family.  I know some photographers who have had wild success on Facebook but I just haven’t. After a few years I have ~500 ‘friends’ on Facebook.   It is a good group and I get a lot of interaction but it has not grown for me as other social networks have.

As I have mentioned many times here, I truly believe the ultimate platform for photographers is Google+.   I have met so many great people on Google+.  I have met and learnt from so many other photographers.  I can go to any city in the world now and find great photographers to shoot with via Google+.    I have been able to host photowalks in Boston, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore through Google+.  I have made great business contacts.  I have had editors reach out to me to publish my work after finding me on Google+.   I have been on Google since it went live last summer and today I passed 1,000,000 followers.  The breath of people I get to interact there is just unmatched for me.

Guy Kawasaki and I were exchanging emails the other day and talking on this very topic.   We both believe this is the ultimate platform so much so that we are giving away 500 copies of  his latest book ‘What the Plus!’ for FREE to ShootTokyo Readers.

What the Plus!

Simply click HERE and get your copy while supplies last.   It doesn’t cost you anything and I get nothing out of it.  I just hope you read it and can get as much out of Google+ as I do.   Please let me know what you think of Chapter 7 guest authored by me!

What Social Networks are you using?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What ever you choose to use, I hope it works well for you and helps you to get your work the visibility it deservers.  Thanks for stopping by today!


  • LongnoseRob

    You should have made the Poll multi-selectable.

  • Lauri Novak

    Would love to win a copy of What the Plus!

  • Dave

    I just did Rob…
    Lauri – Just click the link and you can have a copy!

  • Kat

    Hmm, I use all of them except for 500px. Picked the one I use the most.

  • Carlos Ferreira

    I co-author a photography blog with my other half, and I do think it has changed the way I look at my photography. It forces me to carry a camera around, to look at my shots, to select from among the photos, and to think how I could improve on them. So far it has been more about our own evolution than about getting it out there – plenty to learn yet.

    I do find that Google Plus is the most effective way of interacting with other like-minded people. My co-author, however, is not keen on the platform and prefers to use facebook and twitter. I argue that in facebook and twitter we’re more likely to come up against clutter, but she retorts it is important to her to reach friends and family first. At the end of the day, it probably comes down to personal preference, at least in our case.

    On a final note, I did get a free copy of What the Plus – thank you for that.

  • marco barsotti

    interessante, grazie del libro.

    interesting, thanks for the book.

    ps facebook, google+, flickr, butnyour survey does not allow mltiple choiches!

  • ahmed

    thank you

  • holli

    Thank you for sharing your insights into the social media world.

    And thanks to you and Guy for the free copy!

  • Michael Stuart

    Great article – I totally sympathize with how overwhelming it can be to try and get exposure for your photos. Luckily in our house we get to share the task since I’m a web designer and my wife is a photographer. She has concentrated on Facebook and I’ve done the website, G+, 500px side. Twitter is just an echo of Facebook, but our 23 followers don’t seem to mind :)
    Congrats on the 1 Million followers on Google+!!!

  • Jordan J. Caron


    Thanks for this post, will pass it around to my photographer friends.

    And thank you and Guy for the book as well. Google+ is new to me but I do see it having a lot of potential for my line of work.



  • Mark

    congratulations on passing the 1,000,000 mark on Google+

  • Celesta

    Dave, my question about Google+: how much time do you spend visiting other Google+ people’s streams vs uploading content to your own stream? I started using Google+ for my photography stream about the same time as you. Very quickly I noticed how great it is for seeing other photographers’ work, yet there is very little interaction. Unless people publish something really controversial or plain provocative, there is a feeling that it is 99% of time polishing one’s own page and 1% checking out how others fare. The size of circles exceeds any comparison with Facebook, and with thousands of photographers to follow one may find it tough to give individual posts in the stream more than a scroll. What is your experience in this regard? How do you make sure your relationships in Google+ remain active?

  • Dave

    Celesta – Good questions. I have chosen some people to follow and make sure I engage. I make sure to scroll my stream a few times a day and interact. It can’t be one way. I get tons of comments so I make sure to engage with them and also make sure to engage with a fairly broad group of people. I also try to share out work of others that I see in my stream and like.

  • Dave

    Thanks Mark!

  • Dave

    Fixed it Marco… Thanks for letting me know.

Pin It on Pinterest