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Now more than ever we’re living in a world dominated by social media. A billion users across the globe use Instagram every month, and with continued growth it’s predicted there will be 112.5 million users in the U.S. alone in 2020.

Instagram’s growth has helped bring beautiful, creative images to users everywhere, meaning that our images can reach the far corners of the world with just the right hashtag and a consistent strategy.

Businesses everywhere have noticed the potential of including social media in their marketing strategy and are investing in this lucrative new tool. Enter…influencers.

What Is an Influencer?

There are several different “tiers” of Influencers in the marketplace, ranging from “Nano Influencers” (those with 1,000 to 5,000 followers) to “Mega Influencers” (those with more than a million followers). With such a wide range of influencers, it’s little surprise that there are projected to be over six million brand-sponsored Instagram posts in 2020. And the influencer field shows no signs of stopping in the near future.

jessica tepas
Jessica Tapas

Influencers desire professional, consistent looking profiles that engage and capture their desired audience. Quite often, that’s where you, the experienced photographer, will join the conversation. Influencers will need a lot of content on a very quick turnaround and, if they like you, they’ll want to engage with you time and time again.

Because this medium is so different from, for example, selling a landscape photo to an office building, there are different needs to consider. Let’s dive in:

1. Plan to change settings

Influencers need a lot of content to share on their Instagram feed in a short period of time. And often they want the photos that they share to be in a variety of different locations, outfits, and positions.

Each influencer is different in how they decide what to share on their feed, but most will want to share around three pictures in the same outfit or setting. Once they’re comfortable that you’ve captured the pictures that they want, you can move on to the next location or outfit change fairly quickly.

2. Perfectionists need not apply

One of the reasons why influencer marketing is so impactful is that they are approachable. Very few want to display complete perfection, instead valuing more human photography that shows a few flaws. If a hair is slightly out of place or if the wind is blowing, capture those moments—those are what will make the best captions and most engaging pictures.

3. Use a consistent editing style

Picture a magazine in your mind: each photo tends to fit together, even though there are several different articles relating to a wide variety of subjects. That is what influencers want their Instagram feeds to look like.

When you’re taking pictures, plan on editing them all to have a similar aesthetic. For deep contrast, high saturation, or anything in between, have a conversation with the influencer early on and consider using some form of preset so that everyone knows exactly what to expect.

4. Plan a quick turn-around

Often influencers need their photographs quickly after you take them, whether because their outfit is seasonally specific or because the post is going to be sponsored by a brand.

In your scheduling, the quicker the better for influencers—24- to 48-hour turnaround is ideal. The quicker you get at least a few photos back to them, the more they’ll want to work with you again in the future.

5. Make a long-term contract an easy decision

No matter how you decide to price out your first session, consider adding in a quote for X number of photos or hours each week or month for the next six months. In a freelancers’ market, having a long-term contract can be a welcome change, and working with influencers is one way to get there!

Price yourself fairly, but make sure that there is some form of discount if they agree to work with you over the longer term. Many influencers will welcome a long-term contract, too.

Influencers Are Brands

When you’re engaging with influencers, remember that you are working with a person that has built a professional brand, no matter how big or small their online presence may be at the time. Trust your gut and work primarily with influencers that jive well with your vision. You’re well on your way to successful long-term influencer contracts in the near future!