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Instagram Reels for Photographers

October 19, 2020

Instagram introduced Reels a few months ago as a new way to create and discover short (under 30 seconds) and entertaining videos and as a certified social media and content marketer, I’m here to tell you if this is a waste of time or if Instagram Reels for photographers could be worth it.

Instagram Reels for Photographers | Marketing for Photographers with Ariel Dilworth


At the time of this post, there isn’t enough info about how Instagram is choosing to present Reels to audiences. However, based on my exploration of Reels within the Search feature, it seems very similar to TikTok in that it prioritizes posts by location, people you follow, and content similar to what you’ve engaged with recently.


Are Instagram Reels for photographers necessary? In my opinion, I think that this is one train you SHOULD jump on board for! Instagram reels for Photographers are a great tool to grow brand awareness.

Have you ever heard people identify themselves (or others) as “Walmart people,” “Target people,” or even “Whole Foods” people? Well, that’s what brand awareness is and does. It represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand. Establishing brand awareness is important for photographers in marketing because it’s stage one in the process of turning someone into a loyal client.

The ultimate goal of brand awareness is to create trust. In today’s world, brand trust truly is everything. Once a client bonds with you and your brand on a level DEEPER than just your sneak peek photos that you post, they are more likely to repeat purchases with little or no forethought.

Brand awareness also creates association. When you have a paper cut, you put on a Band-Aid. When you have a pressing question, you Google it. Well, when photographers need help with marketing, I want them to think of me or when a client needs help picking out outfits or a friend is looking for a photographer, I want to be the first and only one to come to their mind.

So, with that being our goal, what kind of content should a photographer post on reels?

Content Ideas for Instagram Reels

Simply put, I want you to be a person and not just a company. Like all social media, reels are there for education, inspiration and entertaining. Here’s an example of each that I’ve created to reach photographers on Instagram. Note, you will want to create your’s for your ideal client, NOT other photographers.




I’m also going to highlight one of my marketing students, Hayley Moore, because she is NAILING IT with reels for her brides! Click HERE to check out her instagram!

How to Create a Reel

The feature is super easy to use; you can create these 15 or 30 second videos with a myriad of creative tools provided to you by Instagram.

Click the camera at the top left of your screen to create a story.

Then, tap reels at the bottom right. Upload a video you recorded on your phone or use these cool features within the Instagram app itself:

  • Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.
  • AR Effects: Select one of the many effects in our effect gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.
  • Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown, before recording begins for the amount of time you selected.
  • Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next to help create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends into your reel.
  • Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected. This can help you stay on a beat or make slow motion videos.

Reels can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), all at once, or using video uploads from your gallery. Record the first clip by pressing and holding the capture button. You’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the screen as you record. Stop recording to end each clip.

Finally, add effects like text or stickers or drawings before publishing.

publishing your reel

Once your reel is ready, move to the share screen, where you can save a draft of your reel, change the cover image, add a caption and hashtags, and tag your friends. After you share your reel, it will live on a separate Reels tab on your profile, where people can find the reels you’ve shared. If you also share to your Feed, your reel will appear on your main profile grid, though you have the option to remove it.

Helpful Tips

When deciding whether or not to add TikTok or Reels to your marketing strategy, here is my advice. Start with Instagram Reels, unless you are a destination wedding photographer. If you shoot destination weddings it may be valuable to add TikTok. Adding reels won’t be too overwhelming. It’s just adding a new form of content to a platform you are already using. So instead of posting every single day, post a reel one day and a regular post the next.

The reason I don’t necessarily recommend TikTok for all photographers is the same reason I don’t recommend Pinterest for a lot of photographers. In short, most photographers are looking for a client in a particular location and people don’t really go to Pinterest or TikTok when looking for a family photographer, newborn photographer or even a wedding photographer in their area. However, it IS possible that you do get clients on those platforms, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.

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