All Photos and video ©Maciej Suwalowski
If you aren’t already following Maciej Suwalowski (a.k.a. Magic) on Instagram and Snapchat (and everything else), you need to be. His outgoing personality and bigger than life sense of humor are contagious. I met Maciej earlier this year at Way Up North Rome, where he just so happened to be the official conference Snapchatter. So when Instagram released their version of Snapchat, Stories, I knew it was time to bring Maciej on board to pick his brain about how to incorporate these popular video messaging platforms into a wedding photography business. To start, Magic has a few reasons why your business should be using Instagram and Snapchat!
Finding your Ultimate Bride
Instagram Stories give us the opportunity to show who stands behind all the beautiful images in our very curated feed and website. My personal goal with Stories is to use it to find my Ultimate Bride. What is my Ultimate Bride? She is the bride who becomes my friend after the wedding, and at whose wedding I can feel like a guest while documenting the day from a much deeper perspective. That’s why I try to show my personality as much as I can in my Stories, even the side that others would call silly or feel ashamed to show. This is the best way to attract people that are similar to me.
Sharing a behind-the-scenes of how you work
Giving a behind-the-scenes to your workflow as a photographer is similar to seeing inside a chef’s kitchen. This insider perspective can be great for business, especially when you can share yourself actually working with a camera. It shows that you really care and it shows your connection with the couple. When your future clients see that you work with normal people, just like them, and you create beautiful images out of it, you gain their trust.
Thanks to Stories, I treat each wedding as a possibility to engage with future clients. I show my personality, but I also show inspiration to my followers. Since we photographers all live in a wedding bubble, we are used to many, many situations during the wedding day that brides are completely not aware of. You can use your Story to make suggestions to your future brides on what to do, to improve, or to reject.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of my upcoming brides watching my Stories. What I have learned from this, is that I can give a supportive feeling to my future bride that she “already knows the guy” who is going to point his camera in her face, to interact with her during the best day of her life. I stop being “just a photographer” and I become Magic.
Showing off your creative side
Most of the time I entertain my followers because that’s who I am. One of the most engaging parts of my stories is playing around with Snapchat filters, Emojis, Bitmojis, text and the music. But, behind all the fun, I’m still sharing my content wisely to help me achieve my business goals. Here are some of my more creative snaps:
Here are some tips from Magic for utilizing Snapchat and Instagram Stories in your wedding photography business
Create content for your specific platform
Remember that you have to give to people a reason to follow your Story. This is not another gallery or portfolio of your images. It is not even suitable for that – it’s lower quality and it is vertical. Yes, vertical. Most of the users of this platform watch the stories vertically, holding their phones in one hand.
Keep it consistent
What I strongly try to keep in my story is consistency. This is the word my followers already know because I talk about it very often. The day I started my adventure with Stories I instinctively started a schedule of sharing every day. Now, my followers know to expect at least one snap every day. People like rituals: chocolate with tea, earphones in a subway, chips to a movie, 15 min shower, hat on a head. That is why I create repeatable or similar snaps. My followers know what they can expect.
A dedication to consistency also motivates you to make your Story and to stay active. There was a day that I was sick and I didn’t snap anything. You wouldn’t believe how many direct messages I got from my Snapchat followers that they were waiting a whole day for my snaps. This relationship results in your followers caring about you. They get involved and they really enjoy your effort.
To be followed, you must stand out. Let’s be honest. A wedding photographer’s life is pretty boring most days! We all sit in front of the computer, answering mail, editing images. Sometimes it might be really exciting for us, but most of the time it would be really boring for your followers. The best way to stand out is to show what you think not many people can see. I have a Snapchat friend and she snaps the artistic side of London. Thanks to her, I found something I haven’t seen during my own visit there. There is another Italian guy who snaps images combining them with emojis. It is super fun!
To stand out, think about what suits you the most: talking, singing, showing interesting/beautiful/funny/crazy/artistic images, recording funny situations, sharing your knowledge, or something else that’s uniquely you. Everyone is unique and everyone can be inspiring with their Story.
Make content that engages your followers
Track your numbers. Checking how many people watch all your stories from the beginning to the end can help you figure out the content that will be the most interesting to your followers. If your number goes down with every snap, it means you’re becoming boring. This doesn’t mean you should quit posting your Stories, but that you need to shake things up a bit!
A huge thanks to Magic for sharing his insight. You can follow Magic on Snapchat (shoewax) and on Instagram here.
Be sure to check out the @photobugcommunity account today as Magic will be taking over our story for the day. Prepare to be entertained!