A Picture’s Worth

[by Colleen Wainwright]

Social photo-sharing sites look an awful lot like variations on the traditional portfolio.

But if you view services like Instagram, Flickr, or Pinterest as places to push out content that pulls in business, your efforts are almost guaranteed to fail.

First, because pushing in general doesn’t work in an attention-based, “pull” economy; sharing content that informs, supports, and entertains does.

And second, because people don’t hang out on social media to find a photographer; they hang out to be social, to express themselves creatively, and, in the particular case of Pinterest, to fantasize (or even to fulfill their fantasies with a little retail therapy–Pinterest drives a lot of traffic to retailers and women’s magazines).

This is not to say there aren’t terrific, creative ways to use photo-sharing sites that can attract people to you, serve your clients and prospects, and build your brand. I believe that And I am firmly in the camp of relaxing old-fashioned ideas about copyright and making your work easier to share on consumer-centric social sites.

But to see Instagram, Pinterest, or any other site merely as a place to show off your photos is to miss the point. What we should all be sharing, on the internet and everywhere else, is our unique creative thinking, our experience, and our humanity–as often, and as freely as possible. If our work is truly unique and awesome, the people we’re meant to serve will find us.

Colleen Wainwright has been freely sharing her words all over the internet since 2004. A few agonizing encounters with code aside, it’s brought her nothing but joy, money, and attention.

By Colleen Wainwright | Posted: July 24th, 2012 | 1 comment


One Response to 'A Picture’s Worth'

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  1. Hi Colleen

    Thanks for the article but I disagree. I myself have found work from social media sites eg Facebook, and know many other photographers (also MUA/H’s, models etc also in same business) who find work all the time on social media. The only downside I think there is, is that people can and do steal your work (or ideas) but how else are you going to get 20,200,2000,20000 people to see your photo or portfolio in a day to a month? It’s physically impossible to do that much footwork. I personally like Facebook – because if someone is selfish enough to want to steal a photo of yours, regardless of how hi-res the image you uploaded is, the end result that everyone sees on facebook is rather low resolution, and is pretty much useless for artwork eg for a print, tshirt design etc. I use Facebook to grab the audience and try to steer them to my website which implements some code that prevents right clicking (so they can’t right click “Save as…” etc – and the photos on there are much higher resolution. (Of course no security measure is perfect, it’s merely a deterrent).


    By David | Jul 30, 2012



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