By Conor risCh
PhotograPher and graphic designer Steph Goralnick’s Instagram notoriety,
which has led to jobs from clients like Delta Air Lines, Evian and the Israel Ministry of
Tourism, and which has also earned her a fair share of recent media attention, isn’t
her first experience building an online audience for her photography. Goralnick’s Flickr
stream, which she began in 2005 and still updates regularly, has earned her a substantial following on that platform—views for some of her photo sets number in the tens
of thousands—as well as image licensing through Getty’s distribution deal with Flickr.
“Any photography job I’ve ever gotten has technically been a result of the exposure I’ve created for myself through social-media networks like Flickr and Instagram,”
Flickr is actually a better tool than Instagram in many ways, Goralnick points out.
It is “much more conducive” to engaging viewers in a story, the organizational tools
are superior and the text-editing options allow the user to link to other pages on the
Web, which means that “viewers are more likely to explore and become interested
and dig beyond just the most recent image. The simple fact that images stored on
Flickr are searchable forever means that older posts
still have potential for a lifetime longer than three
hours,” she adds.
But Instagram has Flickr beat in the most important way: “Instagram is where the audience is, and
at the moment, that is what trumps everything
else,” Goralnick notes.
Goralnick (@sgoralnick) says she hasn’t “actually
done anything specific” to translate her Instagram
following into promotional exposure for her business or jobs for clients. “I started using Instagram
soon after it was released. I posted every day, snippets of my life that I thought would be interesting
to my friends or the few strangers following along, [and] responded to people who
happened to stop by.” (Goralnick says people have mentioned that they like her willingness to engage with commenters and “try and connect with people.”)
© DAN BUSTA
“By being diligent about all those things, I ended up on the suggested users list,
which is the major factor that resulted in a large audience,” Goralnick says. “Being
consistent and engaging is a great way to build an audience.”
Art buyers, photo editors and other potential clients have been drawn to photogra-
phers’ blogs, Flickr streams and, more recently, Tumblr and Instagram feeds because
ALL PHO TOS © S TEPH GORALNICK
Images from Steph Goralnick’s Instagram feed. Goralnick says posting images daily and interacting with commenters landed her on the Instagram “suggested user list,”
which caused her follower number to balloon.