Do you have your sights set on sharing your work to more of the Astrophotography community?
If so, and you want to make the maximum impact and get the biggest reach, focus on crafting quality content that not only showcases your photographic skills, but also provide resources, relevant photographic information and loads of inspiration! I’ve worked up 10 of the most simple (and yet not often applied) rules to creating a great online astrophotography profile.
1. Stick to the industry that you are passionate about
Post good content related to your niche.
You love astronomy, right? You have aspirations to become an influencer or known personality, so don’t post content that your audience will struggle to relate to. You can still post personal moment, you are human after-all and people connect with people, but be mindful of the persona you’re creating.
2. Pick your poison
With so many photo sharing platforms available it’s a tedious task to create specific content that is suitable for usage across all of them. Each one comes with it’s own set of do’s and don’ts. It’s recommended that you pick your social media sharing platforms carefully, rather be active on a select few than being mediocre at most.
Most commonly used astrophotography image platforms
There are a wide variety of photo sharing sites, these are the most popular in the astrophotography community.
Used by high level astrophotographers. More suitable to deep sky photography and possibly the most dedicated repository for astrophotography.
500px is often considered a more professional photographic platform, with great exposure opportunities available.
With a large professional and amateur user base, Flickr offers great exposure opportunities with their daily Explore feature. Many photographic groups exist here, to which you can submit photos and gain exposure within your niche. It’s also the entry mechanism for the Astrophotographer of the Year competition. Check out the PS.com Flickr group and add your photos.
Social media sharing
Some of the most popular social media sites and apps are:
- Google Plus
- Instagram (The world’s leading photo sharing platform. Very common amongst wide-field photographers. Easy to share and gain popularity.)
Get into the real nuts and bolts. Forums provide a great exposure opportunity to the core industry. They have a somewhat limited audience, but very high value.
Some of the more popular forums include:
3. Funnel your audience through to one repository: become a blogger!
If you’re going to go through the hard work of supplying acquisition details or processing techniques, hosting content on a dedicated blog or website of your own is a must. This is how you can leverage off using most of the photo sharing platforms, by supplying a “read more” link to bring the audience through to your site.
Having your own space online gives you the opportunity to create your persona and share content that does not drift away in someone’s timeline. It becomes a repository of your images and info, and – possibly – a revenue source if you set it up right. It ensures longevity in your work.
4. Captivate and motivate with your captions
Words are just as powerful as the visual elements you share. While we recommend that you place more detailed descriptions on your own blog – make sure you share something about the moment or some technical information on social media posts as well.
5. Enter photographic competitions, take opportunities
No, the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is not the only noteworthy competition out there! If you want to be noticed, make yourself noticeable. Don’t expect people to stumble on to your Flickr page or Instagram profile and become famous overnight.
My work started gaining recognition when I submitted images to All About Space magazine. Thereafter a few features followed, along with being shortlisted for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year award in 2014.
Check these out
YES! You should enter the PhotographingSpace.com Image of the Year competition! We have weekly winning images, all of which go into the running for our Image of the Year competition.
Other important competitions:
- TWAN – The World at Night Earth and Sky photo competition
- PNA – Photo Nightscape Awards
- Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Other places to submit
Also – submit your work for an APOD (Astronomy Photo of the Day). Having some accolades behind your name is always advantageous. Check out our “How I got an APOD” series for examples!
Amateur Astrophotography E-magazine also profiles astrophotos and their creators.
6. Share your work without expecting compensation
Consider sharing your work in the public domain. That gives anyone the freedom to use your images along with just a credit to you. Many noteworthy astronomy sites make use of these repositories to get stock images for their publications.
With that said, if you hold your work in high regard, expect to be ripped off from time to time, but don’t let it set you back. Image theft happens, and it will happen to you — and yes, do place a watermark on your images when sharing them on social media!
7. The ABCs of Instagram
Instagram is the most popular social photo sharing site, and with their new Instagram Stories (similar to Snapchat) recently launched, it offers even more profile building opportunities.
Don’t overpost, use the relevant hashtags, and tag noteworthy accounts.
Don’t post totally #random hashtags, #justsaying – how can people #find what they’re looking for #whenyourtagdoesn’tmakesense?
Try these tags instead:
#milkyway #nightsky #nightphotography #space #universe #astro #astrophotography
Find the balance between communicating your message effectively rather than posting something that repeatedly conveys the same message. A higher post frequency is okay, to a degree – as long as each post is crafted with thought! This goes with all social platforms.
Many accounts repost and select daily features. Find them, tag them! They’re not going to come looking for you…
8. Engage with other photographers
You are a photographer, a provider of content to the world. Engage, engage, engage.
When you develop content (I.E. – post a photo) and your audience queries something, make sure you answer in a timeous manner. In addition, engage on some of your favourite photographers’ posts, there is always room to learn more. Never assume you know everything there is to know about astrophotography!
9. Create positivity in the community
There is no place for negatively opinionated posts on social media, not when you’re trying to build a profile or a business. Be impartial and unbiased, approach matters with professionalism.
Be yourself, not a smartass.
10. Promote others as well as yourself
If you find something someone else posted that you think will resonate with your audience, share it with attribution!
Always remember: people connect with people. Focus on creating quality content, doing what you love and sharing that with the world. Before you can expect others to like your work, you need to love it.
Share your enthusiasm, your technical tribulations and your life as a photographer. Let people connect with who you are as well as the work you produce.