Facebook isn’t the best place for photographers to show off their images. Flickr is better known for serendipitous sales (and its tie-in with Getty) and searching Facebook for pictures, let alone shooters, isn’t straightforward. But the site’s size and its constant growth have made it a popular destination for photographers. Some use it just to share their work. Others use it to exchange ideas and a significant number have found that the site can be an extremely effective way of generating extra income.
Here are five of inspiring photographers we found on Facebook and the inspiration you can draw from them. Be sure though to add your own favorite photographers on the site at the bottom of the list.
Kate Holt is a Zimbabwe-born photojournalist who was inspired to take up journalism at the age of 19 while volunteering at a neglected Romanian orphanage for disabled children.
“Realizing that aid work touched the tip of much bigger issues, I turned to journalism as a way to expose these [issues] to a wider audience, and those with power to make a difference,” she writes on her website.
She joined the BBC, studied photography and has since worked in Bosnia, DR Congo, Kenya, Moldova, Somalia and Afghanistan. Her work exposing the involvement of UN personnel in sex trafficking led to the resignation of Ruud Lubbers, head of the UNHCR, and she has been nominated three times for the Amnesty Award for Humanitarian reporting, as well as the Prix Pictet Photographic Award.
Her Facebook page is now showing images from her Brothers in Arms exhibition being held in Nairobi, and contains shots of the African Union mission battling the Shabaab in Somalia. It’s work that should inspire other photographers to aim to make a difference too.
Chris Meyer’s images are much happier than those usually taken by Kate Holt. He’s a wedding photographer who had done much to pioneer the use of Facebook as a marketing platform for professional event photographers. Back in 2010, Chris told us that spending $1,000 on Facebook ads between December and March was enough to generate more than $100,000 in new bookings.
And that was just his paid ads. He also discovered that tagging the faces of wedding guests, and inviting them to add more tags, enabled him to spread his photos naturally to friends and relatives of his clients. It was a double-exposure of Facebook’s potential for at least one kind of photography, and an inspiration for other photographers looking for creative and cost-effective ways to promote their businesses.
Scott Wyden Kivowitz describes himself as a “portrait, travel and life photographer.” He used to own Photowalklist.com, the largest source of photowalks on the Web, which he sold in 2010, and he still operates HDRPhotog.com, a collaborative HDR blog. He’s an editor on HDR Spotting and writes guest articles for a number of photography publications including Outdoor Photo Gear, Current Photographer and Mack Camera Blog. When he’s not shooting images used by newspapers, magazines and ad agencies in the American northeast, he takes free portraits for low-income families.
His Facebook page though is an inspiring example of just how much the site offers when all you want to do is show off your work. He answers questions on an active wall and on a dedicated question wall, discusses his images and links in a separate section to his blog. The impression is of someone who loves photography, and loves talking about it with other photographers. That’s inspiring enough.
Andrew Farrington is a British photographer whose Facebook profile is worth checking out for his Jack Nicholson-style portrait alone. His other images of models in various poses, outfits and styles though are no less inspiring and they flow through his wall with regular updates that appear more often than new images on his blog, which is mostly empty.
That might seem strange because Farrington has a professional website that shows off his portfolio as well as his personal work, and which is notable for placing a link to his Facebook page alongside his image categories.
The overall effect is to position his website as a professional space for clients and his Facebook page as place where he can connect to photographers and talk about art. His Facebook bio, for example, is aimed specifically at other photographers and models, and pitches workshops in Manchester and London. For any top photographer who wants to discuss his work with other photographers — and perhaps teach them some of his or her tricks — Andrew Farrington’s profile contains both inspiring ideas and some impressive images.
All of the photographers listed so far have been professionals. Carl Thorburn is a 20-year-old amateur who shoots urban photography like a seasoned old pro. He has a portfolio site to back up his social media presence and a Flickr page that’s active even if it has few contacts, but it’s his Facebook page that seems to be showing the most life — including plenty of praise from admiring fans.
There are few creative marketing extras here. The bio says little about the photographer, let alone pitch for work. There’s no coherent message that a potential client could latch on to so that he could pigeonhole the photographer for a future job. But there is plenty of great photography shot by someone who likes to shoot for fun and does it well.
And that’s really what photography should always inspire people to do.
Flickr is still a better option for photographers who want to show off their work to other photographers and talk about it. It’s a place where buyers go to look for extraordinary images and where enthusiasts go to learn new techniques from people with similar interests. But they need to network, join groups and take part in conversations. Facebook has the advantage of hosting people who already know you and who are ready to say nice things about your images. There are plenty of talented photographers on the site and lots of great images. Now show us whose pictures you look at on Facebook.