I have a reputation as a photographer. It seems that whenever I take a photo and share it with my friends, it instantly becomes their Facebook profile photo. I don’t mean to brag, it’s just what happens. All of this got me thinking. What is it about a photo that makes it the talk of the town, and can we somehow reverse engineer that? How can we create photos that everyone will want to see?
I think it goes without saying that your friends, or whoever will be seeing the photos, somehow need to be involved. Vacation photos and self-portraits can turn out nice, but let’s be honest, most people won’t care that much about them. Most people want to see themselves, and more importantly, they want to see themselves doing something interesting. If you can put those two together, all of your photos will start showing up everywhere on Facebook.
How to catch your friends doing something awesome
Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them. What are your friends into? What do they keep talking to you about? The next time you’re with them, bring your camera along and capture it. I’ve got friends who are into skiing, birdwatching, music, and you name it. I can say with 100% certainty that they love the pictures where they’re out doing the thing they love most.
When you can capture your friends doing what they love, they won’t be asking you to show them the photos. They’ll be practically begging you. Chalk it up to human nature or whatever you will. People are a little vain. Your friends have probably wanted a picture like this for years, but I’ll guess they were just too sheepish to ask.
What else do people care about?
If your friends don’t care that much about themselves, chances are they care a lot about their kids. The next time you’re near them, snap a few photos of their kids doing what they do. Make sure you follow all my tips for taking great pictures of kids. Get down to their level and try not to be too formal. It’s best when you just let kids be themselves. That’s when the real expressions come out.
It suddenly sounds like you’ve become everyone’s favorite photographer. That’s the thing about taking photos everyone wants to see. It’s kind of like a job. If you focus on taking only the artsy photos you want for your portfolio, you’re kind of missing the point. There’s no doubt that people will love those photos, but they won’t care about them nearly as much. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
But think of it this way. What could be better for your career as a photographer (assuming you want one)? When the good word gets out, and people start sharing your work with their friends, you’ll start getting phone calls from people who want to pay you to take pictures. Doing these sorts of things for your friends is probably the best kind of marketing out there.
So, if you want to take pictures that your friends truly care about, leave all your personal ambitions aside. You may have taken the most gorgeous sunrise photo of the Grand Canyon. It may have taken you a whole week to setup for the shot. Unfortunately for you, it will always pale in comparison to a quick snapshot of your friend’s son playing with some toy trucks. People care about themselves. To get them to care about your photos, you have to care less about yourself.
Are your photos the talk of the town? Do they somehow always make it to your friends’ Facebook profile page? I’d love to know. Send me an email or leave a comment below.
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