BIG FOLLOWING NOT A
It’s true that many photographers with big social followings have
been hired by clients that want to take advantage of their “influencer”
status, but a big following on Instagram or Tumblr isn’t a prerequisite
to landing social media work. Brands that have their own social
followings don’t need to partner with Instagrammers to attract
attention: They need high quality imagery shot by professionals.
“My photographers aren’t getting work based on the number
of their social media followers, but for the nature and integrity
of their work,” says rep Sherry Riad of RIAD Represents, whose
photographers have worked on native advertising campaigns for
brands like Visa and Nike.
Dara Siegel of I Heart Reps says she’s seen a “huge jump” in the need
SHOWING SOCIAL STYLE
for “unique and professional social media content” recently. “Everyone
thought social media was going to kill professional photographers, when
in fact [clients] are going back to professional photographers to fill social
media content, because they want it to be done right.”
Siegel notes that budgets for social media campaigns are “growing
pretty quickly…. They’re not these $500-a-day things any more.”
Amy Yvonne Yu, senior integrated content producer for “ideas and
innovation” agency AKQA, says that when she’s hiring a commercial
shooter for a social media project for a client that doesn’t require a
photographer with a big following, “If the creative is right, I don’t care
about the rest.” (For more about the types of jobs photographers are
doing for social media, see the sidebar: “Understanding Social Media
As the need for social media content has risen, clients are looking for
photographers who can shoot work that appears “native” to the social
channels on which it’s published. Social media imagery often seems
personal, and in social media advertising, the branding is seldom overt.
“It’s more casual, it’s looser,” Siegel says.
She’s been integrating work into her photographers’ portfolios that
feels social-media savvy, and will occasionally pull images from their
social media feeds for her website.
Jamie Appelbaum, a senior art producer with mcgarrybowen,
notes that the look of mobile content is “completely different” from
traditional ads. “A lot of people have mobile as part of their websites
now,” and will highlight that work in its own portfolio.
Yu says that she wants to see social media work by a photographer
that looks like what she’s hiring them for, just like any other
assignment. She wants to “see the type of storytelling [a photographer
Another photo from Keena’s #MyFootballFantasy work for Visa. His rep, Sherry Riad, says Keena’s work is suited to native advertising because it “it feels real, it feels
organic, it’s high energy.”