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Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Lesson 5 of 32

Marketing: Social Media Part 1

Gary Hughes

Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

5. Marketing: Social Media Part 1


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1 Class Introduction Duration:06:47
4 Portrait Client Q&A Duration:14:47
7 Marketing: SEO Duration:18:48
8 Marketing: Networking Duration:11:11

Lesson Info

Marketing: Social Media Part 1

It doesn't matter if you're the best photographer in the world if nobody wants to pay you to do it. There are three main ways that I like to market. We have a marketing strategy that has three prongs. First would be social media. Social media is huge and it's gotten bigger. In some ways it's more complicated cause there are a bunch of different formats out there. I'm gonna give you the outline of our social media strategy and some do's and don't's. I'm not gonna teach you how to tag people on Instagram, cause you know, Google can tell you that. But I will tell you how we use it effectively. Again, this is not all there is out there in the world. This is the stuff that works for us. Now I'm gonna talk about search engine optimization, or SEO. From here on out, I'm gonna refer to it as SEO. Does everybody understand what that means? Okay, cool. There are some really clear things that you need to know going in that will help you understand it better. I'm not gonna be able to give you all ...

the exact tools that you're gonna need to actually make that work for you in this class, but I will be able to help you understand more of how it works and how to focus your attention on it and how to make it work for you. And then networking; this is the thing we brushed on a little in the last segment, plus a whole lot more. Traditional networking, word of mouth, people knowing people, people talking to people. This is still an incredibly big way to bring business into your studio. Now, any one of these three things can be effective for you. I think that you have a hard time paying all of your bills and creating a successful business not doing multiple things, multiple streams of revenue. You want multiple avenues for people to be able to find you and multiple ways for you to be able to bring work into your business. So let's start with social media. It is for a lot of photographers, some people it's their favorite thing, to live on Facebook and Instagram all day and sharing and behind the scenes of all of their photo shoots and all that stuff, and for some people it's just a damn inconvenience. It's a huge pain the butt, it's something that you have to really force yourself to do. And so I'm gonna give you a really practical strategy for using it, okay? Do it well or don't do it. Okay, so you got a Facebook and you got a Twitter and you got an Instagram and you got a Snapchat and you got a Tumblr and you got a-- well Tinder doesn't count, right? (laughs) Yeah, all these different ways of doing social media. You don't have to do them all. If you have the resources to commit the amount of time it would take to do all of them well, it would certainly benefit your business, alright? But if you're not going to give a particular social media platform the amount of attention it deserves, it's better to not do it at all than to do it poorly. You ever think about it like an abandoned city, you know? It's like if someone goes to your Snapchat and you haven't put anything on it in four months, it's gonna send a certain message to that person that's checking you out. If you go to somebody's Facebook page and they don't use it, you're just gonna assume that maybe they're not that busy or there's gonna be some kind of disconnect there. So pick the ones that you can reasonably do, the ones that you will do that will work for you, and do those. And for the time being, you may get into it and you may be able to build resources to do all of them, but just don't do it. Just, I mean, I swear, everybody'll say, "Oh, you gotta have an Instagram. "Oh, you gotta have Snapchat. "Oh, you're not on Facebook?" If you're not gonna work it regularly, just don't do it at all. Because doing it badly is worse than not having one. Everybody cool with that concept? Each social media platform should have a different voice, should tell a different story, so to speak. Anyone notice, by the way, that Instagram just decided to try and kill Snapchat by adding stories to it? This is kind of a cool thing, which lends to the idea that every social media platform was designed to do a different thing. So you have to do that in your business. For example, the way we do it is Instagram for us is just all pretty much behind the scenes of what's going on. We have it described right in our profile, a working family business photography studio and the family that runs it. That is the premise of our whole Instagram, behind the scenes of a working photography studio and the family that runs it. So if you wanna see what's going on behind the scenes of photo shoots, me wearing a stupid floppy hat when I'm out in the sun photographing, if you wanna see my lighting setups, if you wanna see me taking selfies with clients, if you wanna see pictures of us when we're traveling, that's our Instagram. If you wanna see finished work, links to articles on our blog, and you wanna see promotions and stuff, that's our Facebook page. And so I never will post the exact same thing on both. Cause what's gonna happen if you have a Twitter, an Instagram, and a Facebook page, and you post the exact-- cause it's really easy to do, especially with Instagram, what do you do? You hook it up to your Facebook and you hook it up to your Twitter, whatever you post on Instagram goes everywhere, goes to all three places. Why is that a mistake? Because if I follow Cliff on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and I get the exact same thing in all four places, what's my incentive for following him in more than one place? Zero. But what if for example you were to go to Instagram and you were to show a behind the scenes photo of a photo shoot that you're working on and you said, "Hop on over to the Facebook page "to see the finished product." Would that give somebody an incentive to follow you in both places? Does that seem like it's a little more reasonable? That's something that you can do. It's easy to sort of work it into your life. And it's easier to connect with people when it's authentic. You need to have an authentic voice for each social media platform. I find that the whole Snapchat story thing isn't really conducive to me right now. I have not figured out a way to work that in, so I just don't do it yet. I will, probably, like everywhere-- I've seen billboards for Snapchat. How meta or weird is that? You see an actual billboard for Snapchat; it's bizarre. I was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a couple of months ago and they had out on the marquee, "We are now on Snapchat." And they had the logo, like the MGM Grand, what's gonna happen to them if they don't use Snapchat? But big companies use it, Coca-Cola, you know, big companies have dedicated people that just go around and talk about this that and the other thing and it gives you a behind the scenes feel, "Follow my story," tell the story with it. You know, Facebook is a little bit different. But it has other strengths, and all of these different forms of social media need to be approached differently for your business. You might do it backwards from me or from Cliff or from Savannah or from Daniel or from anybody else, but if you create a unique voice for each one, your clients are gonna be incentivized to follow you in every single place. That make sense? Cool. Alright, so I wanna give you some of my Facebook pro tips. This is how we use Facebook the most effectively. The first thing is you should definitely have a personal Facebook profile. You can't really do anything on Facebook unless you have an account. So pro tip number one, create an account if you don't already have one. Surrender your Facebook; this is important. I did this years ago when I started really leveraging it. I think-- have you seen people who are using a personal Facebook account as their business? You see a lot of those people, it's like one really long word. It'll be like ClifLeonardmanPhotography as the name of the person but it's not a business page. We used to do that; in fact, Facebook actually called us. This was years ago, like eight years ago, ten, nine years ago. Facebook called us and they said-- they actually left a voicemail, saying, "Hey, it looks like you are using "your personal page as a business page." And they were really pushing business pages at the time. And they were gonna move our friends over and make them all fans of our fanpage and whatever else. But they really-- their terms of service outlines that you're not supposed to use your personal page as a business. However, I don't think that you can use your business page effectively as a small business owner without leveraging your personal page as well. I wouldn't say use it to market, but you can't tag somebody in a photo, which is one of the most effective ways to market online on Facebook, by tagging people, unless you're also friends with them. That hurts you, so how are you gonna post a picture of a client that isn't a friend and you're not gonna get to tag them? So surrender your Facebook means that if you really wanna market effectively, you have to stop posting pretty much everything that makes you angry and things that make you sad and what you think about this, that, and the other thing. Cause here's a newsflash by the way, nobody really cares what you think anyway, so why not say, "Let's take that social media platform "and let's start to leverage it." What you do is with your Facebook, you create a copy, a version of yourself, and that's the profile. This isn't the real you, the one who really wants to post a lot about politics and whatever else. You know, nobody really cares. You create a PG-13, or PG version of yourself that you want your clients to interact with and you want them to like. In some cases, I know photographers with more than one Facebook profile but have their public, this is me, this is the person who's the business owner, and they'll have their private one that's very very locked down and is only personal close friends and family. I haven't gone that way yet, but if you go through my Facebook feed, it's like goofy observations, links to comic book movies, and you know, stuff like that. I don't really post anything controversial, not only because nobody really cares what I think, but also because I don't wanna alienate potential clients. I don't even wanna necessarily post like "Go Gaters!" on there, cause I may have a law firm with a CEO who went to Florida State, and that guy may not-- people are like that about the weirdest stuff, are they not? Like you know, if somebody who's gonna give me a job for $10,000 went to the University of Georgia and because I'm always posting "Go Gaters" crap on there, I don't want him to not hire me because of that. So I kind of surrendered my Facebook to be a vehicle for my business. And I'm actually kind of happier about that. You would be surprised at the amount of less stress and anxiety you have when you're not getting into arguments with people online. Everything is really superficial. I want to show a little bit about me and a little bit about who I am, but I don't necessarily am posting hard opinions about stuff, if that makes sense. So this is the way I do it; I recommend it very strongly. And I actually think you might be a happier person if you follow this advice. You wanna use your Facebook, is a great way. Because most of us have been on Facebook a long time, we have built up a group of friends, a following. Probably most of us have a larger following on our Facebook than we do on any other form of social media. Is that fairly accurate? You know, ones that we interact with a little bit more. Some people are more on Instagram and you might have two or three or four, five thousand followers, but those could also be people that live in the Philippines that aren't a potential client, you know? Your people, your friends on Facebook can largely be in your local network a little bit more. So we use our Facebook because it's a larger audience for us than any other form of our social media, we use it to drive traffic to our website. The website is really sort of the repository. If you think about it in terms of a theme park, do you know what happens at the end of every ride at Disneyworld? It dumps you into a store, right? Is that the smartest thing you've ever heard of in your entire life? Like, hey, they're gonna make you wait for two hours to go on a 30 second ride and then you're gonna buy the toy of that ride. That's crazy, right? But that's what's really cool about this social media platform, is that you can use it to dump people in your store, to drive people to your website. We create really interesting content all the time on our blog for a potential client, which we'll get into creating content. And we use Facebook to drive the traffic there. I want the traffic on my website why? Because more traffic on your website, more interaction, more potential bookings, and not only that, but it can also help you very much with your search engine optimization when you're pushing people to your website. So this is how we use our Facebook, by personal-- I have a business page and I repost a lot of stuff from my business page on my personal page, but what you wanna look at is a mentality of you're not posting about your business all the time on your Facebook page. You wanna think of it as you only have so much ammunition in that gun, alright? If you're constantly like, "Hire me to do this, "I'm a photographer, photography this, bam, bam, bam," you're gonna go click, click, click. People will stop liking, people will stop sharing, people will stop interacting, you know? Does anybody have any friends that post way too much about things? Like my mom posts a lot about dogs, you know? It's like everything my mom posts is about dogs and she's an animal behaviorist and she's amazing, but it's like dogs-- I don't even see dogs on Facebook anymore, cause all I see are dogs and now they're all gone. Your brain will filter it out after a while, alright? So if you see too-- and you know, anybody who posts too much about politics, you're like, "I don't even want--" you know, anybody who posts too much about anything, you marginalize them mentally. So think about if you use your Facebook page, your personal page, to post too much about your business, you're gonna lose people. So there's a great book called, I forget the name of the author, god forgive me, it's called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and a lot of you may have even read that. It's about social media marketing. It's basically like you want to sort of post normal stuff, funny things, make people like you, give them a little insight into your life and your personality, and then every five, six, seven, eight times you post, then you can post something about your work or what you do or pictures that you took, and that's a really good ratio of personal to business stuff that you can post that will keep people engaged. You don't wanna just post work, work, work, work all the time, cause people will stop seeing it. It will all run together, if that makes sense. So in that light, the idea is to get as much interaction on your business page. You wanna do the commerce and the marketing on the actual page, but my ultimate goal is for people to end up on my website. Now as we use Facebook, what's happened is that they have the more money than pretty much any other social media platform, so any time anything good comes out, they either buy it or they make something a better version of it to put the thing out of business that just came out. For example, Instagram, I think Facebook bought Instagram cause it was getting too popular and people were using it. It was like four billion dollars or something they bought it for, it was crazy. I think it was around less than a year. The guys who invented Instagram, they have a yacht inside a yacht now, you know? Their dogs have yachts; that's crazy money, four billion dollars. But one thing that they did recently, anybody heard of Periscope? Anybody use it? Not anymore. Why not? Because of Facebook Live, right? Now I will tell you that there is a hierarchy of reach in social media. And what reach essentially means is that how many people see something. And you can even see it now it tracks on your Facebook page. Like if you post a video it tells you how many people have viewed it, right? The hierarchy of reach is certain things reach people more. For example, if you just post something with text, natively all things being equal that will reach less people than if you post a photo. If you post a video, it has more reach than a photo. If you post a link, you know, there's a hierarchy of reach. When Facebook comes out with a new product like Facebook Live, they are going to prioritize the reach of that thing like crazy to get people to use it. So right now currently, and for the foreseeable future, Facebook Live has an insane reach. I challenge you to do one through your business page and see if it doesn't have more reach than anything you've posted on your business page if you haven't done it before; it's unbelievable. So what we do is we create and are adding to our social media platform. Part of our marketing strategy is to create regular live videos to be able to interact with people. And you're not necessarily trying to get a thousand people to watch and comment and interact, although that will be cool. The idea is for people to see you, to see a little behind the scenes and to get some insight. Like you could be setting up for a photo shoot and you're just talking to hair and makeup artists. "Hey, what are you doing with the hair and makeup right now? "Like what is it that you're looking "to do for this type of shoot?" You know, interesting stuff that people will wanna see and be involved with. And if you're not using Facebook Live I would recommend that you get on it, because actually it's a huge thing. We're gonna be incorporating it into our business on a weekly basis as we ramp up. It's gonna be a thing that we're gonna be creating content all the time. Profile pictures are another one of those things where the reach is huge. We talked about that a little bit in another segment, where if someone changes their profile picture, the reach is huge. You ever change your profile picture and you get more comments than on anything else you've done on Facebook? It's because Facebook prioritizes the reach of changing your profile picture. This is one of those things where you wanna work with your clients as they come through the studio and say, "Hey, I want to have you change "your profile picture and use our picture." You can leverage that as a marketing thing. Give them extra retouching images, give them an extra look in their session, whatever it is, whatever you can give them, in exchange for them making sure they use it. You make a special profile picture with your logo on it and with your website on it, and have them use that for like a week or post it as a temporary picture, and then that reach will be huge for you. And now on a regular basis, people seeing your logo and your name, it can be huge, just by having people use it for their profile picture. You will find that you deliver pictures to people all the time and they don't always make it their profile picture, but when they do you will see almost every single time, what to people ask? "That's a great photo; where'd you get that done?" That's huge for you; that could be a big boon for your business. So the way that we use Facebook is I use my personal page to feed my business page and to leverage it by being able to tag people when I post photos as a business. I use the Facebook page to drive traffic to my blog and my website, which we'll get into content later. We're using Facebook Live videos to give people more behind the scenes stuff about what we're doing. Even to the point now we're gonna be bringing in other professionals in our area to do live interviews. If you work with a lot of attorneys or you work with-- I photograph a lot of actors, bring in somebody from a local acting school and have them say, "What are your top tips for auditions?" or whatever the heck it is. You create interesting content, not like, "Hey guys, book me, I'm awesome! "Here's another video and I'm Gary "and you want a picture, come to me and I'm your guy!" People don't respond to that, but people will trust-- you could turn your Facebook page and your social media platform into a place where your potential audience can gain relevant information that they will find interesting, then you're gonna be more than just a digital business card popping up in somebody's feed all the time. Oh there's another beautiful picture that Joe took, there's another beautiful picture that Joe took. But they don't care; they're not engaged with that. But if the content that you're posting is check out this awesome thing I found about blah blah; oh look, there's a new software out that's gonna make lives easier for attorneys. Or you know, there's any number of things that you could be discussing and using your social media for that your audience, your potential client base, will find interesting, a lot more interesting than posting pictures of people they don't know or care about. Does that make sense? Okay, and don't forget those profile pictures. They been doing this for a long time. Prioritize those profile pictures. Make that part of your workflow. We have a thing with clients where I'll even make sure that I format one specifically sized and sharpened for Facebook and send that to them to make sure that they use it for their profile picture. And even in some cases if you want to, you can make a deal with your clients and you can say, hey, if you do such and such, make this your profile picture, the one that I send you, for a week, we'll give you X, we'll give you this. Incentivize it so they actually do it. It's really easy free marketing for you to be able to use it.

Class Description


Professional portraits go beyond the standard headshot. With the age of social networking upon us, businesses often have the need for environmental and editorial portraits. Not only will you understand individual portraits, but you will also learn to execute large group posing for corporate clients. By adding these to your client sessions, you can add to your business plan AND widen your target client outreach. 



Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.