I would like to start by saying that I am certainly not a social network expert or guru, but I have tried many social media sites for photographers. And I was surprised by how much the results could vary from one social network to another. Believe it or not, the big social networks we all know are probably not the best choice (with only one exception). However, remember that this review is only accurate if your primary goal is to show your photo skills to the widest possible audience (without any marketing or other background manipulations). Finally, if your goal is to present a website or post another niche other than photography ( such as painting, memes …), you should also follow a different method. Here we go!
What Social Media Sites for Photographers should you consider
None of you have heard of this network yet? Oops. YouPic is a social network that is specifically designed for photo enthusiasts and professionals. YouPic was first launched in 2012 but has not received much attention until 2018 when the user base has grown rapidly to nearly 4 million. Yes, it is still a ridiculously small number compared to two photography giants Instagram or 500px, right? Nevertheless, I guarantee that you will get more recognition on YouPic than with all the other mentioned photography networks. Engagement here is just great. And not only that!
Every day, the YouPic team selects photos that are going to be shown for 24 hours in a “recommended” section (something like explore feed on Instagram) – these photos are called Inspirations. Inspiration photos are nominated by the site users and chosen by the YouPic Team. So everything is controlled by real people no stupid computer algorithm. Therefore, even though you have 0 followers, your photo can get around 3,000 views. Do you think it is difficult to get into the Inspiration feed? It is not. I have posted 22 photos on YouPic so far, and nine of them have succeeded.
Besides, YouPic allows you to give and receive feedback to/from another user. Users can rate every post’s: composition, creativity, technical quality and the content itself. One can also add points to skills you choose on your profile. You can even upload photos to the app in full resolution and most importantly – YouPic does not claim rights to your images in any way (unlike most other social networks)!
YouPic even offers a basic form of leveling. It is simple – you collect inspirations and views, through which your XP will increase and you will level up (the highest is level 30). This sounds interesting, but in practice it is useless. It just encourages some users to chase these XP points and be on top of the charts, which is simply … awkward.
However, YouPic offers much more. There are 4 versions of membership, and only the “BASIC” version is free. I know this sounds a bit scary, but it’s not – you are completely fine with the basic version. I would say that except for the highest “PRO” version, which includes a domain and the ability to build your own website, these versions do not significantly differ from each other.
I mention this for another reason. I have read that YouPic can be annoyingly intrusive – YouPic team members are “pushing” users to invest for a higher version of membership. However, I have no such experience! Yes, YouPic contacted me a few times via in-app messages to see if I wanted to upgrade my membership. But always friendly and in all decency. Just ignore it.
Overall, YouPic might be the best social media for photographers, it is very similar to Instagram, but there are some great ideas you won’t find elsewhere. The quality of the photos is higher and if you are allergic to “influencers”, you will not find them here. Finally, if you have good shots, the YouPic team will reward you (Inspiration feed).
PROS of YouPic:
- High engagement for a photography social media
- Inspirational photos choosed by real people
- Shots can be uploaded in full resolution
- There is no need to follow the 4: 5 format and the like (see Instagram …)
- YouPic does not claim any rights to your photos
- Good design
CONS of YouPic:
- 4 versions of membership (only basic version is free)
- Awkward leveling system
- Missing photo editing tool
- URL in the bio is not clickable (for God’s sake, why ??)
This photography social network was founded in 2013 by billionaire Ayman Hariri (and launched in 2015), son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. Vero has currently about 3 million users, similar to YouPic. Why am I telling you about this network? Trust me or not, but it’s as promising social media network (not just for photographers) as YouPic!
Vero has several specific highlights. In addition to photos, you can post links (link to your article from your website), videos, movies, music, places or books. When you post, you can also choose who can see the post – the friendship is divided into several categories (close friends, friends, acquaintances, and followers). All posts are ordered chronologically, so there is no annoying algorithm. And you know what? Vero is completely free of any ads!
Vero doesn’t have as much reach as YouPic (The YouPic Inspiration category is just amazing …) but it still has an above-average engagement here plus it’s pretty easy to be featured by any of the big accounts (Podium, EarthNow, GlobalCapture…). Combined with the possibility of presenting your website here, Vero is an increasingly interesting choice!
You can find me on Vero as KnightOnTrip. And remember, VERO is not only for photographers.
PROS of VERO:
- High engagement
- Easy to get featured (similar to YouPic)
- Shots can be uploaded (almost) in full resolution
- There is no need to follow the 5:4 format and the like (see Instagram …)
- You can post whatever you want
- Good design
CONS of VERO:
- Exceptionally you encounter bugs in-app
Hell yeah! Well, I had to. This social network, which currently has over a billion users (and has been bought by Facebook), probably needs no introduction. Although I think Instagram is becoming less attractive in the photographers’ community, it is still an incredibly powerful platform, which cannot be ignored.
The main problem is that if you’re not a celebrity or a marketing wizard, no one will notice you. Although, this doesn’t have to be true if you’re doing some niche. But in the case of classic photography (portraits, landscapes, travel …), it is.
You know, a year ago, Instagram used to be a social network where miracles could be done. But it was only for the dishonest of us. All you had to do was to pay for a robot that made automatically liked posts for you (to get the attention for your account => people would start following you). Or you could join so-called “engagement group” to increase engagement for your posts (because of the Instagram algorithm to prioritize your post in feeds). Fortunately (or unfortunately?) it is not possible anymore.
The engagement on Instagram is still kinda good. One problem is that it is almost impossible to get featured by some big Instagram accounts. Why? Huge competition. So if you do not have an already built-up name (and excellent photos), you have to pay for repost to get noticed. Everyone is on Instagram – and those who jumped on this “fast-moving train” tend to take precedence. Deal with it. Now a similar thing is happening on TikTok – it is not that suitable for photographers, but you could always try experimenting.
You can find me on Instagram as KnightOnTrip.
PROS of Instagram:
- A lot of users
- Simple design
- You can pay for own ads
- Good analytics
CONS of Instagram:
- Hard to get noticed
- Full of others ads
- Should follow the 4: 5 format
- Shots can’t be uploaded in full resolution
- You can’t insert your website in posts
- If you don’t post regularly, the algorithm will kill your profile
Other photography social media sites worth mentioning
- 500px (mainly due to competitions)
- Twitter (easy website presentation)
- Pinterest (easy website promotion)
- Gurushots (can enter real exhibition)
- Facebook (because of travel photography groups)
My final recommendation on the best social network for photographers
You have to admit that if you don’t have any special advantage (really unique content, marketing, money…), on large social networks your posts are quickly buried (no, niche hashtags won’t help). So, do not be afraid to try smaller social networks – you will see that it pays off. And if you intend to make money by taking pictures, don’t be afraid to spend some dollars on advertising.
What photography social networks do you use? Do you have a tip that I didn’t mention? Write me in the comments!