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A Photographer's Guide to Working with Influencers

Posted on October 25, 2020 - By Beau Peters
A Photographer
A Photographer
Instagram has grown immensely over the last few years, and large followings have turned into capital. With the growth of their audiences, users have developed a need for higher quality, more engaging content. Companies are now collaborating with these high-visibility influencers to promote products and expand their reach through the influencer's established and loyal audience.

With this in mind, take the opportunity to work with influencers as a chance to flex your creative muscles and collaborate. For freelance photographers looking to improve their portfolio, this can be one of many lucrative ways to build your clientele. Creating a personal brand, either for yourself or for your client, takes special skills and a lot of work. Working with influencers can be a chance to forge relationships, new skills, and a list of happy clients if you keep a few things in mind.

1. Know the Expectations
Influencers are working within a very unique set of expectations on social media. They have to be polished yet approachable, keep within their brand but stay exciting. Because of this, photographers are going to want to come to the table with a very clear understanding of the influencer's style, how they want to grow, and what they want to focus on with their shoot.

2. Know the Brand
This is an excellent opportunity for you to develop skills in creating imagery that is impactful, interesting, and that feeds into an established personal brand. If done correctly, you can enhance the most important elements of the brand while bringing a new and exciting perspective to it. To do this, photographers will need to be prepared with both an understanding of the influencer's brand and the perspective they can bring to it.

3. Know the Audience
Understanding an influencer's brand goes beyond metrics and goals. The nature of social media is to foster personal connections. The audience has developed a relationship with the content, and knowing the personality of the audience, as well as the influencer, is extremely important.

4. Bring Ideas to the Table
One of the advantages of Instagram is that influencers are helping people build personal brands built on shared interests, values, and pursuits. Bringing new ideas to a photoshoot will help clients keep their content interesting to audiences new and old. It's easy for influencers to get into ruts with their branding and content, so coming to the table with fresh ideas can help build trust and respect in the client-photographer relationship.

5. Be Ready for Anything
While influencers usually have a core focus for their brand, their other passions help them create interesting, varied content. Be ready for some extremely varied locations, content, and requests. The client may be promoting a piece of wearable technology and creates fitness content, but they love to hike and decide to get out of the gym and into nature. You can use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to back up photos on-the-go and off-the-grid. If they are promoting a book, but also create food-based content, photographers could end up with a fun, but messy shoot on their hands. Bringing something interactive and fun to the shoot can help influencers keep their content engaging, even if it's a little out there.

6. Offer Video Content
Instagram also provides a platform for videos and these can be great tools for influencers. Developing the skills to help an influencer shoot and edit short videos for their platform can be extremely lucrative. Influencers are usually building their brands alone, and offering a specialized package can help them to lessen that load.

7. Take The Opportunity to Grow
This is also an opportunity for photographers to expand their portfolio. Being able to include short videos, as well as photos, can help highlight their creative process, editing skills, and show off a diversified skill set. Package your services and create a more enticing service to clients at a lower price point. Use the opportunity of working in a new, growing space to level up your skills, as well as growing your client's brand.

8. Be Prepared to Work with Sponsorships
Users who have established credibility and trustworthiness within their audience by building their brand may collaborate with large companies. Products are sent to influencers to promote on their platform as a way to increase the company's reach. These collaborations are beneficial to both the company and the influencer, but the quality standard that these collaborators are held to can be extremely high.

Focus on striking a balance between the influencer's brand and the requirements of the provided material. Influencers rely heavily on their established aesthetic, and corporations dictate the way that their product is promoted. This may include guidelines for photo or video promotion and specific marketing copy to be included in the caption.

9. Find the Connection in Sponsorships
What does the influencer engage in while they are using the products? What is it about this company that is something that they are willing to endorse? Find their connection, and work that into your shoot. Sponsorships, while exciting, can be very stressful. Remembering that their platform is a personal connection can help photographers build a rapport of respect and creativity with their clients.

10. Have Fun
At the end of the day, photography and Instagram are creative. There are a lot of factors to consider when working with influencers, but photographers should remember that this is a creative collaboration. Try things that don't work, take extra pictures that influencers can use as bloopers, and keep the mood light but professional.

Instagram influencers are hard-working people who have built personal brands from the ground up. Once supported by Instagram boyfriends, some Instagram influencers are now hiring professional photographers to help them create content. Collaborating with Instagram influencers can be an exciting and unique challenge.

For these collaborations to be successful, photographers have to be aware of the unique needs of an influencer. Influencers' values and personal brands are at the core of their platforms. If they work with any sponsors they will already be balancing these two sets of expectations. Helping them find the balance between professional and approachable can help photographers expand their portfolio and their client list, while creating impactful, creative photos.
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