Every photographer wants to share their work, get feedback from the public and critics, and finally seek recognition. But when your favorite social media turns into ad machines that show only promo posts, it’s time to look for alternatives.
The world’s most popular social media, Facebook and Instagram, have ceased to be the best place to showcase your photos. They have become a territory for corporations, advertising, politicians and big bloggers. Moreover, if you carefully read the terms and conditions of these platforms, you will know that they can use your images in any way they like. Instead of bringing people together and making digital art available to a wide audience, the media giants are more concerned with big data algorithms and paid services.
However, social media is an important part of our lives and posting your photo there is still the easiest way to showcase your work to the public and get feedback. All creative people appreciate the reaction of the public to their work. But sometimes building a popular social media account takes too much time and effort. And often success is based not on the value of the work, but on the work of the algorithm by which the most famous social networks show publications to the audience.
Why Facebook and Instagram are no longer good places to post your work
Although Facebook is still quite popular and can showcase your work to a huge number of people, many photographers prefer Instagram because it is more suitable for visual content, and also does not allow downloading photos (although there are, of course, there are tricks here), which helps to protect intellectual property rights.
Among artists and photographers, Instagram has earned a reputation as a place to find potential clients and sell your work. An Instagram account can serve as a portfolio, and the number of followers and likes increases the credibility of the photographer.
At the same time, Facebook and Instagram manage a huge amount of information and decide who sees messages based on internal algorithms. In addition, the popularity of social media has created a new problem: fake news.
Last year, Instagram launched an algorithm to hide fake retouched photos, but along with the fakes, the algorithm also removed a number of works by digital artists and photographers. New Instagram algorithms get information from sites that verify information and do not display photos marked as fake. However, works with various post-processing can also accidentally fall under the rink of the algorithm, which is why they will not be shown in the hashtag search and the Interesting tab.
On the other hand, promotional posts receive special attention. Marketing agency Omnicore reports that Instagram has approximately 2 million advertisers and 25 million business profiles every month. And these numbers will grow. The competition for photographers and likes has become too difficult for regular photographers. Now it’s not enough to take a good picture and use the right hashtags. You need to be active online, follow and comment on the posts of profiles with similar interests, know the basics of search engine optimization, online marketing and PR, and invest in advertising. Thus, maintaining a profile takes much more time than taking a photo.
In response, photographers are increasingly turning to alternative social media that encourage creativity. When choosing new channels to distribute their work, they seek copyright protection and equal opportunity for all users. Photographers want to showcase their work to audiences and spend less time figuring out algorithmic intricacies and marketing strategies. If you want an easy and effective way to showcase your photos, paintings or designs, get feedback and find opportunities to sell your work online, check out the list of alternative media platforms we have prepared for you.
Alternative social media for photographers and artists
Over the past few years, a new type of social networking site has emerged. These platforms do not seek to reach the largest audience, rather they try to bring together the most engaged users. Niche social media is targeted at a specific audience: you can share your work with photographers, artists and other users who are interested in digital art. While this reduces your audience reach, you get more helpful feedback and engage with a more professional community.
VERO’s motto is “No ads. No data mining. No algorithms. VERO aims to be a responsible mobile app that brings networking and content sharing to everyone. You can use VERO to share photos, videos, music, books, links, and places of interest. Notable photographers who use the platform include John Rankin, Greg Williams, Ben Staley, Clay Enos.
VERO allows you to upload full resolution photos and collect them into collections. You can choose your audience by sharing your photos with everyone or a specific group. Like Facebook and Instagram, VERO has built-in chat and tools for referrals, purchases and donations. The platform aims to be a community, not a business, and people value it for its sincerity and authenticity.
While VERO isn’t just for photographers, the platform offers an ad-free service and can be one of the easiest ways to share your photos and build your fan base. The system is very interactive and pro-social, some even think it could be the new Facebook for artists.
All VERO services are available free of charge. The app works on Android and Apple.
The photography platform YouPic is used by many famous photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz, Steve McCary and David Hearn. This site works like an online portfolio and allows you to show and sell your pictures.
Just like any other social network in YouPic, you complete your profile, including your skills, leave comments, share content, and follow others. Like Instagram and Facebook, YouPic uses tags to filter and serve relevant content. It also provides statistics to help you keep track of your best photos.
On YouPic, you add a description to each photo, along with information you want to share with other photographers, such as camera and lens model, shutter speed, ISO, or location. You can upload an unlimited number of photos to YouPic, organize them the way you want, and add stories. To protect photos, you can add copyright information or share them privately.
YouPic is a free service, but there is a paid subscription that opens up various advanced options such as website personalization, getting a custom domain, etc. Plans cost from $5 to $30 per month.
Exposure is a social platform for photographers who want to share their story. It not only provides a place for your photos, but also allows you to share the stories behind them. You can use Exposure as your own photography blog and a place to find inspiration for your next photography project.
Although Exposure only has a web version, the platform is very interactive and allows you to comment, subscribe, like and share. At Exposure, the story behind a photo or an entire project is as important as the photos themselves. On the platform you will find travelers, adventurers, photojournalists, street and portrait photographers.
Exposure provides simple tools to add photos, text, videos, embedded media from other platforms, and geolocations to your posts. You can also choose the design options for your messages — layout, colors and fonts. Exposure does not limit the number or size of images you can upload. At the same time, the platform does not protect your images in any way, and anyone can download them.
You can register and publish three story projects for free. To publish an unlimited number of stories and access more design and branding tools, as well as additional business options, you can subscribe for $9 per month for personal use or $99 for commercial use.
Behance is one of the most popular digital portfolio platforms. The resource covers all creative areas and provides simple tools to showcase your work. The platform was specifically created for photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, architects, filmmakers and artists. It even has a job page where you can find creative jobs and start your career.
Like any other social network, Behance allows you to communicate, leave feedback, and follow the work of your favorite artists. Behans also has views and likes counters so you can gauge the popularity of your work. The platform is owned by Adobe, so Behance places a particular emphasis on digital processing tools.
On Behance you can meet professional artists and photographers, critics and clients. Works published on Behance are available to everyone, and you can easily get feedback from the pros. The platform does not change the uploaded images in any way, the ability to upload in high resolution is available. In this case, anyone can download your photo at will.
Behance is free. You can upload photos from your device or directly from Lightroom, add text to create additional context, and create galleries. You can add technical information, such as camera and lens model, and exposure settings, to each photo. Behance is available as a web version, as well as apps for Android and iOS.
Going beyond Instagram and Facebook
Of course, these are not all social platforms that provide a platform for artists and photographers. Popular resources also include DeviantArt and Tumblr, Patreon for those who have already been able to gather an audience of loyal fans who are willing to pay for work, and Twitter remains popular among many NSFW artists.
In our country, the social network VKontakte, created in the image and likeness of Facebook, is also popular. However, this platform is mainly used by a Russian-speaking audience, so it is not very suitable for a wider promotion of their work.
The success of Facebook and Instagram has transformed them into business tools and created an entire industry around them. Each time it becomes more and more difficult to bypass the algorithms and find a loyal audience, and achieving success is no longer associated with the artistic value of your work. As a result, photographers and artists are turning to alternative social platforms that promote values such as authenticity, equal opportunity, and the importance of the community. Yes, these platforms offer a smaller audience. But you can be sure that viewers are interested in what you have to share. Why waste a lot of time and energy on a platform that doesn’t guarantee it will show the work of your target audience? And what will it show?
Alternative social platforms such as Exposure, VERO and others mentioned above are created to create a creative community, bring experts, critics and famous photographers/artists together. You may get fewer likes and comments, but you will be sure that what you got is really worth it. If you want to be part of an art community, connect with people who truly appreciate art, and build a quality portfolio, you need to find the right platform.
* the article was written based on materials from skylum.com and onfoto.ru