How to Use Instagram, 500px & Flickr as a Platform for Your Work

Author: Matthew Paxton   Date Posted:3 October 2016 

Social media is an essential tool to be used by all photographers. People share their routines, adventures and moments on them at all time. With millions of users all over the globe, it makes sense to use these social platforms to boost your business.


After all, that’s where the customers are, it’s free to use, and can reach a tremendous amount of potential new customers.

The best photography apps out there that you could use for your work are Instagram, 500px and Flickr. Each of these social platforms have their own strengths, differences and used effectively to nurture and grow your portfolio.


Some of the pros of Instagram are its huge user base, which gives photographers the largest audience possible. It has no upload limit, geotagging and works with a hashtag system, that can be really useful when promoting an item or concept.

There are some basic steps to follow to ensure your Instagram account works effectively:

Post relevant content

Upload quality photos that are going to be valuable for your followers. When we say relevant and content, we mean photos and videos that represent the kind of photographer you are. This is where you are crafting your brand, and as such need to treat Instagram as your digital portfolio. Go for a professional look, or a quick video featuring something or someone relevant, that’ll catch people’s attention. Avoid selfies, photos of logos, travel photos that are not relevant to your brand.


Keep uploading a consistent amount of photos, maybe 1 or 2 photos a day. However, make sure the photos are quality and you’re not choosing quantity over quality. Don’t give your followers any reason to think you’re spamming them.

Make use of hashtags

Hashtags and geotags can help you explore what your audience out there is like. Its potential is based on where you’re located and who you want to target; or even find out who your closest competitors are. So don’t waste this handy feature!

For hashtags, they can be really useful when promoting concepts or a body of work. The use of good hashtags will help users find your work if they are invested in that subject matter, therefore growing your fanbase. Feel free to use broad hashtags as well as more niche or made-up ones, but please don’t overdo it!

Have an informative bio

To minimise people asking you for questions or contact information about your business, have an informative bio, one that states what you do, where are you located, how can they buy your work (if applicable) and how can they get in touch with you. A link to your website is important to include as well.


Instagram is a great place to network. Possibilities of finding new vendors, models, designers and stylists are endless, so start those building relationships asap!

Free goodies

Running competitions where you give away something for free if people “share” your page, for example, are a great way to promote your brand, as the users who are interested, will share your brand with their friends, which probably are like-minded customers.


500px allows photographers to share photos with potential clients from all over the globe. One of the best thing about 500px is a feature that allows you to have an overview of how well each photo is received and how many people engaged with it.

Why use 500px?

Amazing interface

The interface is sleek, simple and meant for photographers. If your business can be reflected into beautiful, stunning and unique photos, then this platform in for you. It is important to know that 500px does not allow advertisements in any form, however, nobody wants marketing that looks like marketing nowadays. It’s all about making it appealing without being obvious.


500px has a feature called “pulse”, which is a score from 0-100, that allow users to “rate” the photo, a combination of likes, shares and comments. It also has an algorithm that allows every photographer to have their work on the front page, even if it’s not that popular on social media. This is great if you wish your photo to reach as many people as it can!


This section is where you can sell you photos, without the need of creating a website allowing for an easy, streamlined process.


Flickr is not dead, people! Maybe for a while it became a thing of the past, but now it’s back and it can be quite beneficial for your work. As a photographer you should be using every tool at your disposal to grow your fanbase and promote your portfolio, and Flickr is one of the best platforms to do so.


Flickr is almost entirely populated by photography enthusiasts, so it can be easy to ask questions and get good answers. There are several groups dedicated to different aspects of photography, making it easy to form relationships and strengthen your networking. You can also get “critiqued” in these groups, which can be very valuable feedback to help you improve your photography skills.


Yahoo gives an enormous amount of storage space (1TB for free!) and options to upload them with pretty great resolution compared to other social media platforms, which makes your online portfolio a very valuable resource to have.

There’s no denying that social media is revolutionising the photography industry – but we believe this change is for the better. More exposure and more opportunities, the trick is to make it work for you and leverage in a way that promotes your work.

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