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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


Are Instagram Reels for photographers necessary? In my opinion, I think that this is one train you SHOULD jump on board for! Here’s why:

Brand Awareness

Instagram reels for Photographers are a great way to do this. 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 connection and (through consistent connection) cultivate trust. And IG Reels are creating a new way for us to do that!

Binge-Worthy Content

This is a new type of content we’ve never really had to create before. Essentially it works like this: someone see’s one of my reels. They think it’s funny, they go to my page to see who I am and what I’m about. What I want is for them to get lost in a sea of good content. Helpful, Funny, Relatable Content. However, you and I both know they aren’t going to sit there and read 800 posts.

That’s where Reels come in. Videos are easier to watch. It’s easy to get lost in a dark hole of funny reels relatable only to photographers! This type of binge-worthy content is definitely going to be a marketing trend for 2021!


Video based content leads to more 2x more clicks and 20-30% more conversions. Meaning, if I post a funny video and then ask them to give me their email in exchange for a guide to overcome self-doubt, they are 20-30% more likely to do it! (source) However… how do Reels compare to that? It’s only a 30 second video so how much can it help?

It turns out a lot! While there have been limited studies done on this so far, the NFL is having 67% more engagements on their reels than their average Instagram Video. We also know that posting to your feed increases your engagement rate (source).

Part of that is because it’s easier to discover. Reels can be discovered in 4 ways.

  1. Explore Tab (visited by more than 200 million people each day)
  2. Hashtag Search (reels are now showing up first)
  3. Reels Feed (reels have their very own dedicated feed that serves accounts people follow as well as other videos they might like).
  4. Audio Search (with music being a part of reels you can now click any piece of music and see all the great content used with that audio!

Content Ideas for Instagram Reels

So maybe your sold on the idea of reels but you have no idea what to post! 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 entertainment. 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. However, I will reiterate, posting to your feed increases engagement!

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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