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The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 25 of 29

How to Utilize Social Media

Chris Burkard

The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

25. How to Utilize Social Media


Lesson Info

How to Utilize Social Media

okay guys let's let's kind of switch gears really into this social media stuff and you know what I'm going to do here really is I'm gonna be working on my social media so um and just talking to you about that because honestly I can't speak to anybody else's is as easy as I can speak to my own now I um uh I you know to come back to mine this kind of career path you know yesterday we talked about like you know I was working for magazines and I was doing this and I was doing editorial ball block so I was telling you guys at the time that my career was really based in these two different sources of income it was like print sales and editorial sales with a little bit of commercial right because I was creating print sales by having my photographs published out there and online and in print and stuff like that in magazines right so I was getting some notoriety I was creating some print sales for my website people were kind of emailing me and love this love that I was creating editorial sales ...

because I was submitting the magazines and I was really focused on doing that putting my work out there then I started doing more commercial work right and slowly but surely over the last five years of my career you know the first play five was dedicated to the editor of the last five years has really been more and more commercial work and so what happened is now my work is you know prince you know it's it's probably commercial editorial prince and and that's it and and really it's been these last couple of years that it shifted even more toe where now it's commercial this is like probably I would say sixty percent commercial print sales is another massive chunk because we've really really invested in this is all based on social media now members were talking about so because of the onset of social media it's called gone to mostly commercial ah lot of print social media influence or work editorial work and personal work okay so these the's five categories okay commercial prince social media editorial person okay right now that's currently what makes up all of man come um personal work really doesn't make it any man come in just for personal use but that's really what I spend my time doing or whenever I pick up a camera that's you know what it's for so the last you know what's happened is because of social media and when I'm talking about social media guys I'm talking about website blawg facebook instagram tumblr twitter doesn't matter what it is these are all forms social media anyway you interact with human beings in a digital space that social media I don't care if it's like texting you know like whatever so that's that's kind of what that is and since the onset of social media I really invested time and energy and good quality content into that platform it's benefited me immensely um print sales I've been able to put out a lot of my best work it's been one of the best ways to promote the images that I have for prince what are some ways we can build our social media following well let's dive into this there's some simple just easy techniques that we can go over first and then there's kind of some more in depth you know maybe philosophical concepts what we could do first thing be consistent okay post nine five p m every day that's kind of what I do maybe a little earlier maybe a little later doesn't really so much matter as long as you're consistent okay um I find that the best times of engagement usually between nine a m and fan and I'm talking about pacific standard time like wherever your time zone is out there in the world whatever your time zone is and not even so much necessary your time zone wherever your demographics time zone is when I say demographics I mean whoever the majority is of people that follow you if the majority of people that followed me we're on we're in japan that I'd be posting at nine a m and five p m their time whenever they go to work and leave work you know what of those times but my main following his base is pretty much you know america and there's a lot of people overseas as well so I usually cater to that also it's when I'm awake so it makes sense and keep in mind you guys like what I'm here to tell you about is I'm not here to if you're this is about photography is a business ok we're not here to talk about posting photos of your kids or your dog or whatever this is if you want to be an artist or photographer you want to grow these channels and how to do that okay so I'm really talking about growing and you're following so posting at consistent times I usually choose nine a m to five p m monday through friday friday afternoons usually the engagement falls off people are out they don't wantto they're going out partying they're going to hang out with friends doing whatever a lot of times in the evening friday is a good time because we're coming back you know they're checking their phones late at night saturday mid morning saturday later in the evening sunday is usually a really good day eight am you know ten pm or something mondays are good it just kind of depends um there are amazing analytics programs that can let you know when your best posting times are okay we're going to go over those in a second but just keep in mind that consistency it's more about consistency than anything else the times are kind of and a lot of ways irrelevant based on the fact that it's more important that you're just doing it on a consistent levels people know that right they're going to see your photos you know day and night are once a day doesn't matter you don't do twice you want today you knew every couple days just that it's consistent so you're not like haven't posted in ten weeks you know here's a photo of my dog um I took all my personal images meaning photos of my family and photos of my kids off my instagram because that's not what it's for I have a personal account that I celebrate that life on and that's for me it's you know private I don't I know that out of eight hundred eighty eight thousand followers probably couple psychopaths that's just the reality of the internet okay I'm sorry to tell you but that's just that happens so I try to be cognizant to the fact that you know what I'm putting out there is my is my professional in person and work and my personal work that I really enjoy and love to promote I think it's about variety you know um it's about you know providing ah body of work that kind of shows all the different aspects of what you love and what you love to shoot but maybe more importantly like maybe the things that you feel your strengths are you know I don't think I'd want to throw in a photo first time I've ever shot this is like a terrible image and you know that you know like maybe wait till it's a little you have it a little more dialed I find that one of the most crucial things is to be your own person okay when I write a caption you know as insignificant as this might seem I I'd like to write something that means something to me I like to write something that feels and uh and is significant to me personally because I want people to know that when they're looking my page it's not just some regurgitated weird uh you know nature page with landscape photos this is this's a human being there were there interacting with and I think it's always good to keep people in check that when they're on the internet you know time to put your pitchfork down and be a riel person interacted people you know and not be like you know it's it's funny out people are quick to jump on things when they when they realized that there's um separation you know but if you interact people and you're realistic and you you know I think if you don't just regard to take quotes all the time and you kind of take the time to write your own um interesting text and comments and stuff people really react to that and I find that it's a really good way to further engagement engage with other people okay um making sure that you're engaging with other people you're commenting back your writing back you know I mean for me any time that I post something that's like about something I'm promoting you know I really like tio you know write comments back you know I'm writing back about like this camera that camera I'm always you know if it's something that's just more poetic and kind of kind of like you know whatever I'll just I don't write as many comments but but I like tio I like tio definitely respond people when I know that's something I'm promoting whether it's a book or whether it's this or that I like to really take the time to try and reach back to folks so making sure you're interacting and also going on people's pages checking out their stuff when people direct message me I almost always answer them almost every time you know vicious thanks to write me a note you know yada yada yada go onto their page like an image whatever check out their stuff um I find that that's a really easy and kind of a no brainer way to just interact with people right um questions on that stuff he has do you post dio stuff yourself have help now find time this doesn't take a lot of time you know what it's like ten minutes a day two maybe post something probably less I would imagine um I feel like you know when there's this much value in these these channels like why russia you know that would be a ashamed toe do something that you want to put your name on and you wantto say is curated by you but then it's it's rushed and you know that there's certain things that aren't acceptable on social media grainy out of focus images that not necessary from you we just were pulled off the web that aren't that high enough resolution not okay um photographs that have that air like poorly color corrected or have some like really really lame filter like not okay they just a sign that the person doesn't taking the time or cares about it right um there's a lot of other things we can think of that air like no nose but I just feel like it's there's kind of like some basics in there that like if you are a professional photographer you're aspiring to be one you should show your image is in the best light that you possibly can yes you have like a pipeline or like a planned out like strategy is just out of women usually have a folder it zoe I'll talk talk like that in a second but what I usually have is a folder on google drive that I'm just like here's a bunch of rat I'll sift through my archive every couple weeks I'll find some really cool images I haven't seen for a while or some images I just shot recently as you can tell from my social media it's usually a mixture of trips I've been on currently or stuff that I've shot in the past that I like to talk about if it's something in the past I'd like to talk about when it was or why it was or whatever I don't smile like this was yesterday you know as people can tell I'm usually all over the map but a lot of times when I'm somewhere like iceland for example like my last like the last ten post prior to this we're all you know iceland iceland iceland iceland I iceland iceland wherever these are so that was like there was like five or six when I was there during a trip talking about it you know all these air iceland boom through here this entire trip boom boom boom so he's like sixteen images seventeen images eighteen nineteen twenty twenty two images twenty three they're all isil because I was there for like ten days so one of the best things you khun dio for social media is you can invite people along for the ride okay social media has broken down the doors of what it means to like you get us you to look inside what someone's life is really like right so in a lot of ways a nightmare for like a pr agent who's dealing with like a you know a professional athlete or something like that because now if someone's there speaking for themselves you know and people can usually tell if it's that person speaking for themselves or someone else right so it's kind of a nightmare for people who are used to having others speak for them because now you have this ability to like see how actually unique and intelligent and create these people really are so when you have the ability to go somewhere and make people feel like they're along for the ride because they already are along for the ride there already watching your page looking your stuff right um you have the ability to take them on that experience with you right so it is it's super important I think teo too basically have the ability to share content and to you know go out and invite people along for what you're doing you know it's it's a really great way I think teo to kind of just communicate and stuff like that so that's one my favorite things I'm going somewhere that I know people are going to be excited and stuff then I'm going I'm going to let them know ham going isil next week I'm gonna I'm gonna basically invite you know invite you along for the ride come come check out my photos while I'm here while in their that's a really it's a really awesome way to do things so do you have thoughts on that yes when you're on the road and um he said that sometimes you transfer the picture to your phone you quickly at it on the phone and eventually upload them on social media you know worried that maybe their picture you could have worked better later on yeah that's for sure I feel like almost any time you color correct a photo on the phone you're gonna have because it's not uploading a raw file to your phone you're not able to work on I think there's probably ways to work around that but for me it's not I usually there are times where I know I could have had a better at it on my computer absolutely you're right but I find that I kind of picked the images like for example a photograph like this where it's just such a it's such an easy at it you know it's like two color tones a great image it's not really going to make a difference and like likes if I had to edit it on my phone thing but a photograph where um you know it's like this there's a lot of color going on there's you know I brought some detail back into the mountains here and stuff like that you know I did some work up there this is a file that would have been better to work on look on the computer so I usually save those ones for the computer or a photo like this like this is something I need to work on the computer because there's so much stuff going on needed some work like that but I try to like just evaluate that as I go there question yeah uh do you put your very best spector stock working on social media like instagram does that hurt your chances for licensing your best work do clients feel like too many eyeballs seeing it make it you no longer unique absolutely sometimes yeah sometimes my agent gets so bummed because I'll be like hey I'm putting this photo up there I don't really care you know and they're like no no take it off you know yeah there's times where I had to remove some stuff you know but to be honest I love putting my best work out there because no amount of work that I'm going to shoot on spec or just for fun or whatever is ever going to be better than me having somebody see that image going back to shoot that for them and I can't name names or brands this and that but there's been a lot of times where I have had that happened multiple times where I've gone somewhere shot photos posted the best imagery I ended up going back to shoot it for that company or this is that because you have online portfolio of what you could show them of the best up and the beauty of social media is that when I say hey you guys this is a good location let's go there they're like oh why do you think that well look at the engagement it's it's it's incredible like this is a place we need to go because the engagement of this location says it for itself you know I don't have to sell them on something when I know that they're seeing the numbers are speaking for it so this is kind of the beauty of social media you guys you become your own brand you become your own creative director you become your own editor you become your own voice because nobody if you're doing it right nobody else is there to tell you what you should poster promote because you're the one that's making those calls and you're the one that's accruing this engagement so who better to speak to it than you who knows your demographic better than you and if you've never met someone that has interact with you on social media then you're missing the ball because for me meeting you guys and interacting engaging and seeing what your interests are in like this is just as important to me because now I can take this information back and say hey so and so well you know these types of people that are interested in my feed so this the types of this type of content I'm I'm comfortable promoting and selling and the types of trips I'm you know willing to to do on social media because I know that they would they would interact with it right so like I said very very beginning this class the first five minutes I said I'm learning as much from you as you would be from me and this is why yes um would you let's just say commercial wasn't your biggest element of your work and editorial would you have the same strategy because quite off the magazine's wantto be the first to release that content yeah I mean if there's if I'm shooting something for a feature for a magazine I definitely can't promote theme about spec for editorial spec for editorial I usually will released while I'm there like a lot of these photographs to like even in the photos from iceland for example I did this trip dyson we shot a film and a ah story artwork very serious film and a and uh catalog for prana this filming this climbing company and brought some of the best climbers in the world there and charlie this red stuff I mean the photos that I posted photos got great engagement but these weren't these these were not the best images from the trip by far they were just good imagery that I liked so I'm still saving some of the best stuff although it might be similar it's not the best content in a lot of ways it creates buzz so there's value to that you're almost better off going somewhere for a brand creating buzz from social media then turning around and having the article actually run right and and in so many ways now it's hard for me you know we're all in different places in our career it's hard for me now where I'm like what's coming more beneficial is it could be more beneficial for me to post every photo online or to get the couple hundred dollars I might make from some you know mediocre outlet you know what I mean like probably more beneficial for me to gain those followers in that interaction and sell these numbers back to a brand to go there right so now things have kind of changed for me but I agree there's always fine line right one thing before I forget to real estate tell that realestate I know everybody's always like do you break the square do you sometimes break a square well I occasionally I do you know if I'm posting a video or occasionally I do if there's a photograph that's super significant to me and I wanted to show or talk about why you know I did that like this one you know I broke the square because I like the colors in it why do I usually posted a square well it's their their platform you know it's a square format I'm just trying to fill the frame with his much color and as much vibrancy as I can so it also looks extremely clean when you look through someone's feed and you see all this stuff if you look through someone's feet and you see a bunch of kind of like cropped images here and there and a bunch of advertisements in text like that then it's not unique you know in a couple weeks or days I'll probably delete any image has text on it because these images never get his good of engagement as a photo without text always always there's no doubt to that you know so if I do a workshop or something and it's gone it's over there's no point for me to continue to promote that after the fact or something like that you know or or vice versa contest whatever fifteen thousand lux wasn't that bad what that's crazy present fifteen to forty like right next to you yeah but my question is uh on personal work do you shoot for square because I know you're big on answer I'm never shooting anything for square I'm shooting it based on how I think the image looks best and if it works in a square great you know but the thing is I'm always shooting so many variations like I've got this file this image right here in so many different formats you know wide and tighter and vertical on this and that so I'm never leaving somewhere without an option for that as well yes more I think questions yeah do you protect your images is that a thing for you to put a watermark on I'm are you sorry about on instagram I don't because you know and and I talked about this before you know I talked about me you know being comfortable and feeling like okay with the fact that I know some people might steal an image from time to time but here's an example when I post them on facebook which you can see higher resolution files larger than instagram right I put a little water mark and this is my logo right here I put that in the corner and yes of course it would be easy enough for someone just to crop this thing you know take it steal it do whatever but the whole point of that is that like I said I'm comfortable with that you know yes I have a team of people that will go in and use google image search you guys from there with that where you can basically take this image you can put it into google image search and you can find all the variations so if I really wanted to find a photograph of a photograph of mine where like maybe someone had has stolen it or maybe someone's whatever it's really simple I could just go into here I could take this file I could just save it to me to stop we see here I can pull it off right here and I could just plop it into here and I could see really simply like has someone you know where else has this photo ran is it is it anywhere else online is someone else stole it no I'm not really seeing anywhere so I'm not super worried about that you know it's it's pretty simple to see where some of your other images have ended up and you know it to be honest people are just you know cropping off my logo and using for their iphone background or their laptop I could care less it's an honor it's awesome I love the fact that I can't tell you how many times people have said that I was introduced to your father by a friend well that's great you know that's the point right is to bring people back to engage with you because the value that I have from this is much more valuable than maybe the couple hundred dollars and I make from trying to charge some random brand for ripping off my phone and using on their website right so there's yeah of course I'm fearful you know and my images are copyrighted but it's not it's not something that I'm concerned about you know in the long run so because I guess for me there's this one kind of thing that this one kind of thought process and you should always consider and that's that the old mentality of photography was you shoot you shoot you shoot and you get to a point in your career where you're like great I'm just going to sit back on all these great shots and let them make money for me and that's really that's awesome plans a great plan but what you've what you guys have probably seen in the past and I don't know if this has been true for you but it was true for me when I was starting out was that when I was applying for internships it wasn't a person out there who would give me the time of day it was like pulling teeth is a nightmare and um when I finally got a hold of somebody who was willing to give me the time the energy I promised myself I say you know when I'm in that position I'm always gonna make time people I'm always going to so I I have offered internships is a way to give back something that I've never needed but I've wanted to do to share this craft right so in social media it's kind of the same thing where I I'm more concerned with creating new images I'm not concerned with somebody copying my style or or worried about you know getting images out there and having them loser value because I plan to constantly be creating new content and that's my goal I want to push myself jeez I mean the more the more challenges you have in life the more chances are you're gonna have to be a better version of you because you are pushing yourself so that for me this is a big a big part of it is being willing tio to get images out there not be afraid to like keep it all in you know this is why you know for a lot of folks this idea of social media you see a lot photographers with big water marks all over it because they're super fearful of this work going out there will they're missing the boat not the ones who are necessary getting hired nowadays for a lot of these bigger awesome projects to because what brands want to see from a social media influencer standpoint is they want to see people that can interact and they work for being an influencer right so I've been lucky enough to do a lot of projects where I've been hired by by brands to kind of be do social media influencer work speak about their products and that stuff I've used up that I I promoted like and a big part of that is because people know that if that person feels relatable attainable and for so long uh photographers and other people in place the stature have prided themselves on not being attainable well that makes sense on kind of trying to cut themselves off and so this is this is a new age we can't do that like I said social media breaks down the barriers of what that means so you can't just hide inside your bubble and do this but not you it's not enough to be successful and to kind of be you know in this tiny little space you have to be able to communicate people and interact or you're never going to be able to take a piece of this pie right so it's pretty important I think questions on that to make sense at all you talked about um like fine working like an internship with a photographer and like getting started out but I feel like a lot of us are in that kind of position um how would you recommend like maybe so you don't make the same mistakes like approaching like more experienced photographers to work under is more like you're looking for like a mentor somebody toto learn from you know to be honest I would I go online and first google I'd write down your list of ten twenty people maybe like ten magazines um and then ten photographers that you would dream teo intern under or work under apprentice under whatever you want and first google and search if they actually have internships if you have any documented thing and if they do then better off the one thing I can't stand people like there's research that they could be doing online that they aren't and they're like asking questions for me or the people oh how do you get this contact well it's out there you know it's not hard to find their places where you can buy a lot of a lot of email address and things like that or you could just look on the masthead of magazines and you confined like oh everybody's email is this dot this at blank well it's probably follow suit right so I find that you know when it comes to photographers and magazines first of all we'll talk more about this when working with editors but just um finding the ones that will you be a dream scenario for you and just crafting a well thought out email of what it is you'd be looking for and obviously tio most internships they're they're based on education so you have to kind of be in a like with a school or something like that as well the one that I did I enrolled in college only so that I could go to an internship but I you know it's one of those things where you just have teo you have to kind of take those risks and that email try it out there's no real right or wrong thing you could say I think two people it's really just like you know I think looking back now I emailed a lot of people who are my dream you know people will work under but I didn't realize that they weren't maybe as they really have the capacity to have someone in turn they weren't really big and they were like out on the road living in their vans shooting photos you know and and I just had this delusion of grandeur that they needed someone to go with them you know the last thing you ever want to say to somebody all carry your bags for you here and there it's like give me a break of course somebody to carry their backs you know like to go to these places like that's not what I need I need somebody who's willing to putting the hours in the office and understand and work on these things I need done so that I could help for the business

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.



I've been staying up all night to watch the live broadcast. As somebody else here mentioned (latsok), it's emphasizes on the non-technical aspects (emotion, engagement, colour and composition) rather than the technical stuff like shutter speeds, iso and f-stop. Although I can use some help in both, the technical aspects are not only camera specific but fairly objective as well. The non-technical aspects however are something much harder to grasp. Getting help in this by no-one less than Chris Burkard is just amazing. I bought this class so I can re-watch certain parts of the broadcast again whenever I need it. But also to show my appreciation for Chris Burkard and Creative Live for providing this great online course!

Matt Redfern

This class was packed full of amazing knowledge. I really enjoyed the topics covered and have found it super helpful for my work. I have had so many takeaways ranging anywhere from how to put myself out there, finding my style that stands out, practical applications, etc. I would highly recommend this class to everyone interested in photography! Big thanks to Chris and CreativeLive for putting this together.


This was a phenomenal class. I highly recommend it to anyone. Chris is not only a sensational photographer, he is a wonderful teacher. He provides such detailed information and freely gives same to his students. He is really really available and eager to answer questions and so easy to understand. I learned so much and I was thrilled. I am very very grateful I found this particular class.