7 Ways to Get Your Photos Seen

7 Ways to Get Your Photos Seen

I wanted to talk a little about a different kind of exposure for your photography… the kind that results in more people seeing your work. I have had a lot of people ask how to get their photos seen and many believe that simply posting photos to a site like Flickr is all they need to do.

If you are taking the time to create something, I think it is important that you also make the effort to have it seen. It will help you grow as an artist and may lead to new opportunities you didn’t expect.

Here are some tips I recommend for getting your photos out to a wider audience:

1. Find websites that may want to display your work

Realize that the websites don’t have to be photography-related to show your images. Sites like Flickr, Smugmug, DeviantArt, etc are all great places to show your work to other creative types… but non-photography sites may have a bigger pool of potential viewers.

I have seen more and more blogs pop up that post a variety of content, including art… all of those sites are a great place to submit your photos to. If you specialize in a certain type of photography (landscapes, portraits, macro, whatever), do a little searching on the web to try and find websites that might want to use those types of photos. They probably won’t pay for the images, but you’ll get credit for the work and you will probably get a link back to your gallery or website.

2. Use the Creative Commons license

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 2.39.28 PM.png
Creative Commons is a way for you to maintain the copyright of your work while still allowing others to copy and distribute your images. Websites are more likely to display your work if the license allows it and there are a number of search engines available that will only show images licensed under Creative Commons.

Since I started licensing my images under Creative Commons, I saw a huge spike in the number of sites using my photographs… all of which have linked back to my website or my Flickr page.

3. Make your photos useful

Try and think of creative uses for your photos that will increase their value (and potential views) beyond just showing them in a gallery. For example, I posted a handful of images on my website to be used as desktop wallpaper. I know others who take and share photos specifically to be used as textures.

Images can be made useful in a variety of ways. Figure out the one that works best for your work and you can bet that it will bring in a whole new audience to your photography.

4. Create a Blurb book

A friend turned me on to Blurb a while back and I have been a fan ever since. A Blurb book (or any photo book publishing service) is a great way to keep a portfolio of images handy. Keep the book in your house to show off to family and friends or have one with you while meeting potential clients. The book will make you look more professional and it can be more convenient than carrying around a traditional portfolio.

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 2.41.52 PM.png

As an added bonus, a site like Blurb can be a source of new viewers in and of itself. I put together a collection of images as a Blurb book and I have noticed a fair amount of traffic coming to my personal site from the Blurb listing.

5. Talk to your local paper

The first photograph of mine ever published in print happened because I called my local city paper with an idea for a story and some images they could run along with it. The paper liked the idea and I had a photo in print a few weeks later.

News outlets are always interested in hearing story ideas and they are usually happy to look at any photos you have that they might be able to use. If you think a photo of yours is newsworthy, don’t wait for the papers to come to you.

6. Business cards for your website

When photography comes up in conversation, I will usually mention that I have a website where people can view my work and give them a card printed from Moo.com. It doesn’t have to be a traditional “business card”… usually mine are just a photo on one side with my name, website and contact info on the back. Any type of business card will work, as long as it has your site’s URL included. People are much more likely to remember to check out your stuff if they have a card, so remember to carry a few with you when you can.

7. Social networking

It probably goes without saying, but using services like Twitter and Facebook to show your work is an extremely effective way to expose more people to your work. I generally make a post on Twitter during a shoot and then I will put up another message when those finished photos are uploaded. It’s a great way to let people know what you are working on and where they can see it… it is also a nice way to attract new viewers to your photos.

How do you approach this and get your images viewed?

This post is Chris sharing his experience of getting his images viewed – how have you gone about it? What is the image that you’ve had viewed the most and how did you achieve it?

-1.jpgChris Folsom is a hobbyist photographer who spends much of his time photographing abandoned buildings. You can view his site at www.studiotempura.com or see more of his photos at Flickr.

His photos have been published in newspapers and on numerous websites.

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Some Older Comments

  • Louise Dunn May 8, 2012 12:46 am

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-Dunn-Photography/272887412792332?ref=ts hey can yous all take a look at my page please?:)

  • twig September 17, 2011 03:46 am

    Good article but the link is broken on where it says I posted a handful of images on my website

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/7-ways-to-get-your-photos-seen#ixzz1Y8eVocUc

  • Bharath September 17, 2011 02:13 am

    And, this is my facebook page..

  • Bharath September 17, 2011 02:11 am

    Thanks for the useful tips..

    I'm a newbie.. I created a website just a few weeks ago and to my luck, I found this article..

    BTW, This is my page..


    Thanks.. :)

  • Lorbie April 25, 2011 06:32 pm

    thanks for the share..

    so far, I have a blog http://smashpotato.wordpress.com

    an online advertisement www.lorbie.sulit.com.ph

    and a social media, facebook and twitter..

    I also carry a businesscard with me but

    Creative common is all new to me. greatly appreciating the new discovery...


  • Liliana September 9, 2010 03:45 am

    Thanks very much for the article and responses. Very helpful. I just deleted some good-res pix on fb. Will read some more.

  • Kee June 3, 2010 07:46 pm

    This was a Godsend! Thank u for such informative information...please keep it coming, it is much appreciated : )

  • Prateek Ahuja March 16, 2010 08:51 pm

    Nice article. I really need to read mopre about Creative commons now. Thanks!

  • jon quave February 3, 2010 10:03 am

    what i do is give framed prints to people who have a busy office where other people will ask about the photo and the person you give it to will have time to tell them about it and your work.

  • Jennifer Moore January 28, 2010 01:22 am

    Sonny, I'm really sorry that happened. I agree with Sime: Send them an invoice. Include a note about their having used it without your permission.

    Good luck to you! That completely sucks!
    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  • Eric January 28, 2010 12:30 am

    I found something here that might be helpful, it's a notice of copyright infringement for an image hosted on flickr (not flickr's fault someone else used the image from flickr), it might help:


  • Sime January 27, 2010 04:56 pm

    Not really, no, but there's a lot you can do about that - for starters, I'd send the paper an invoice.

  • Sonny January 27, 2010 02:04 pm

    a photo I posted on my facebook page was stolen by a national newspaper, and then the journalist wrote a nasty article based on the content of the photo. Anyone have experience with this type of situation???

  • Ariana Murphy December 29, 2009 06:29 am

    I have a few photos on FB, but I upload only low-res images. Fans can go to my webpage, which is a storefront on Imagekind, to see my galleries.

  • moe peters December 28, 2009 12:49 pm

    I've taken a lot of my pix off facebook and picasa. People would take them, post them to their own profiles and call them their own.
    Not cool.
    I use smugmug now because it allows you to right click protect your pix. Then I just post a link to the pictures.
    I'm not a professional by any means, but I've spent a ton on equipment. So it bugs me when people take my pix and call them their own.

  • Jennifer Moore December 16, 2009 07:40 am

    Wow! Thanks for the tips on Blurb and Focalpop! I will definitely be interested in checking those out! I want to create a hard copy portfolio, and Blurb looks like an economical answer to that. (Much cheaper than purchasing prints and a portfolio to put them in!

    I'm another naysayer on both Creative Commons and on "credit" for my photography. I'm a beginner/amateur, but I'm also a freelance writer, and the issue is parallel across both fields: Giving it away for free, IMO, lowers the payscale and standard for ALL of us. Just my two cents.

    That said, as I start to get gigs, I will be pricing lower for the first few gigs. I've done promo work for my step father and my boyfriend, but my standards were no different for those than they would be for a paying client, and I have permission from both to put those shots into my portfolio.

    I've shown my work in a local cafe, and I have a friend who is showing my work in his home office. The cafe owner told me that my work got a LOT of attention, and I think all of the business cards got taken. Nothing has come of it yet, but my work was seen, and I have an open invite to show there again. I probably will, come spring. I've got some great floral shots. :)

    I don't post my photos to FB either, directly. I like to where they live. That's usually my blog, my Artfire studio, or my RedBubble site. If I wasn't so pleased with my fan page, I'd ditch FB altogether. I don't have much faith in them. That fan page IS handy, though.

    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  • Neelu December 2, 2009 04:07 pm

    Great and useful article. Thank you.

  • Becky November 30, 2009 05:15 am

    If you post your work on twitter, make sure to include hastags (like #photo, #photogs, etc.) in your tweet so that people find you when they're searching for photos on twitter search. This helps you get beyond your own social network.

    You can also post photos to www.focalpop.com if you have any that match the photo requests and possibly sell them to the interested buyers.

    Becky, FocalPop

  • Jan November 30, 2009 05:13 am

    Great article, great advice! thanks!
    I am a student studying art at university, also doing fine art photography,
    I found doing voluntary photography can be good too, ofcourse if you know who you are doing it for, if it's a trusted organisation etc, I am currently doing voluntary photography and have got credited for it, I think it's a really good way to get your work out there, and is a great bonus to add on to your Cv, (in helping you to get a job in photography etc.)

    thanks for all the other tips too...

  • Ariana Murphy November 28, 2009 11:55 am

    I just read through the Creative Commons info, and I'm a little leery about letting anybody grab my photos and use them however they like. Yes, I'm a beginner, but I don't think I'll be able to build a photography business by giving away my product.

  • Ladyexpat November 28, 2009 11:37 am

    Interesting article.

    I love my MOO cards. They are a fantastic conversation piece.

    I have had a Flickr account for years. I add a lot of my travel photos to the Gadling pool,. and have been featured under their Photo of the Day a few times over the years. As a result of posting to the Intelligent Traveler group on Flickr I also had a photo published in a National Geographic blog a while back.

    I am not a big fan of Creative Commons. I would prefer that people ask me before they use my photos. I am always surprised at the number of people who will use a shot on their blogs and not give credit or link back to Flickr.

    If someone has a non-commercial blog, and they ask me to use one of my photos, I generally say YES.
    However, in my opinion, commercial blogs should pay for photos. Lots of people will probably disagree with me on this. That's okay. I am the one who has spent thousands of dollars buying camera equipment, and thousands more traveling. I want be the one deciding who gets to use my photos.

  • John T November 27, 2009 01:18 pm

    I produce alendars for family & friends. Three versions each year.

  • Jonathan Tommy November 27, 2009 12:51 pm

    Thanks so much for the advice! Especially about the Creative Commons!!!

    Best wishes,

  • Mike Franklin November 27, 2009 06:16 am

    I've gone for a Facebook page, my own website - Mike Franklin Photography and the fantastic Moo business cards. I've printed leaflets and distributed them around the local villages but the Blurb book I must look into and local cafes and coffee shops...

  • Laura November 27, 2009 04:51 am

    Keep in mind, when posting your work to facebook, that this (posted below) is in their terms of use, basically making it so that whatever you post will always be able to be used by facebook in any way whatsoever, forever, even if you delete your account. Personally I just post a link to my flickr account, and there I utilize the creative commons license to protect my work.

    "You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof."

  • Julieanne November 25, 2009 05:48 am

    I also suggest local cafes and coffee shops. There's an independent coffee shop up the road from me who displays local artwork and I've asked before if I could display there and they said they'd be more than happy to put some works up. It's a cool and fun way to get noticed.

  • Alex Suffolk Photographer November 24, 2009 07:58 pm


    Yes, yes you should get payment - however, the problem is two fold:

    Newbie togs will accept that a tag line is a worthwhile form of payment (which it isn't - My local supermarket doesn't trade in tag lines!)
    Papers think they are doing you a favour printing your images and also think that tag lines are an ok payment.

    The sad reality is that professional togs are faced with 'can you give us the picture FOC and we'll credit you' everyday. They should be crediting me anyway!

    Usually a flat no is all that's required - however sometimes you can barter with them for something you need from them. The trick is to know when to be flexible and when to stand firm.

    For the people this article is aimed at, being published in print for the first time will be such a thrill that they'll forget all about being not paid for it. I know it was for me the first time I saw one of my images in a magazine.

    Nowadays I'm more concerned about the money :D

  • Valdecir Carvalho November 24, 2009 01:41 pm

    @ 5. Talk to your local paper

    What about get paid for those photos?

    Have a photo printed in a newspaper is a way cool, but you should get "something" back and this something is money! Who pays for you photo gear, who pays for your gear when it need to be replaced?

    Come on...

  • Dev November 24, 2009 10:29 am

    typo on the flickr URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wijew

  • Dev November 24, 2009 10:28 am

    Thanks for the article. I upload my images to a blog and flickr I've attracted a few people to my blog by commenting on other blogs etc and flickr through participating in groups. I've been trying to figure out how to attract more people to my blog but have had limited success. Will try the creative commons option soon.

    Thanks again.


  • Greg Taylor November 24, 2009 09:40 am

    Great article. Since, I am mostly involved with concert photography many of my photos get posted by the bands on their social media sites. Other ways I get my live music photos seen is through my own blog, twitter posts, website and (the one I don't think anyone mentioned) shows / exhibits.

    There are great outlets here in Phoenix, Arizona for people to actually print and show their work. This way is usually the most rewarding.

    Thanks~ GRT2

  • Pat Rice November 24, 2009 08:26 am

    Thanks for the tips. I am another very satisfied Blurb user. Just finished my first book and found their updated software very user-friendly. Here's a sample...http://www.blurb.com/books/930146

    Keep up the good work DPS!

  • TC November 24, 2009 05:42 am

    Never understood the blurb love - I find their photo print quality horrible.

    Moo cards on the other hand, are wonderful.

  • Ed Frazier November 24, 2009 04:58 am

    Good article...I post photos to flickr, my website and FB fanpage...I hadn't considered the creative commons, but I will.

    Most of the exposure I have received is from my Facebook fanpage and Flickr..not much in the way of making money but I have received a few new clients that saw my work elsewhere. The blurb book is an excellent idea..that I will use very soon..possibly for a senior portraits life book!

    Regarding the person that asked about photos being stolen off of FB..once you post photos on line they can be stolen from anywhere (including Flickr and your own webpage) regardless of the precautions (i.e. right clicking not allowed). I'm not so concerened about it as when I save my photos to go online to FB and Flickr I reduce the dpi to 150 or below, stealing them from there will only allow the thief to use them online and/or very small prints.

  • Eric November 24, 2009 04:50 am

    I post photos to facebook. I export from LR2 and Mogrify watermarks them on export.
    My biggest pet peeve on facebook is when you tag someone in a photo and they crop the photo and chop the watemark in half, or remove it all together.

    I also export from LR to picasa web albums and flickr, and I know picasa and I think flickr retains the keywords if they're stored in the metadata with the photo.

  • Clemens Roeother November 24, 2009 04:15 am

    One of the best articles yet! Very exciting and lots of practical and useful ideas. The responses are very informative as well. Thanks.

  • Franco Campese November 24, 2009 04:11 am

    Wow awesome tips. Blurb looks like a fantastic site. So glad I found that site now so I can create a book soon! Thanks!

  • Edward Schultz November 24, 2009 02:14 am

    I have had photos listed with the Creative Commons license and had enormous luck in getting exposure; some good, some bad. The good side is a photo at night of the US Capitol being picked up by NBC for an article and two shots being used by Schmapp; an i-phone app for downloadable tourist maps with sights to see. The bad side is the theft of two shots and used by someone else for a photo contest with them as the photographer. All in all it's really rewarding to see your pics being used and a credit line with your name.
    BTW.......I now list almost all my photos as "all rights reserved".

  • Leslie Wilson November 24, 2009 01:55 am

    Ariana, I'm sure how the tags import depends on your software, but I edit in Lightroom and my tags all transfer to my Flickr when I upload. Hope that helps.

  • Ariana Murphy November 24, 2009 01:23 am

    I have a question about tagging. If I tag my photos before I upload them to Flickr etc., do I have to tag them again on the site itself, or is the tag uploaded with the photo?

  • Ariana Murphy November 24, 2009 01:00 am

    This is a great article, and I'm certainly going to follow up on the Blurb book, the wallpaper idea and the Creative Commons license. I have been deterred from posting photos on Facebook because of the buzz about Facebook claiming rights. Is that true? Do you recommend uploading only low-res images to Facebook? I have a Facebook Fan page, a blog (www.arianasart.blogspot.com), an Imagekind site with store (www.arianasart.com), a Flickr account, a dotphoto account, a Zazzle store, and I still haven't sold anything except to family. I must be doing something wrong, and hopefully this article will help me improve. Thanks again for helpful information!

  • Steve November 24, 2009 12:39 am

    just out of curiosity, do you get paid when you contribute to your local paper?

  • lapillus November 24, 2009 12:02 am

    Good tagging and naming also really help with search engines, as does geolocating. There are several places where I'm sure I'm not the only person who has taken pictures of them and mine are neither the most interesting, the most recent, nor the oldest, but they're among the ones that show up on the first page in search engines simply because I gave the engines enough info to find them.

  • Mark Daams November 23, 2009 07:31 pm

    Some great tips here. I especially like the idea of doing adding desktop pictures to my blog. Thinking about the Creative Commons license too.

  • Jason Collin Photography November 23, 2009 04:59 pm

    You can also approach local hipster cafe owners and the like. I met one who was really into all things Japan. I lived there for six years so the cafe owner was totally cool with letting me display a canvas print of a temple in Japan, along with my name and a price under it.

  • Kim November 23, 2009 03:42 pm

    Great article. I too have used Blurb and love it. I don't post to Flickr or sites of that nature as I sell much of my work on stock photo sites.
    Another great avenue is ImageKind.com. For a small monthly fee you can upload to galleries and even have a storefront. Mine is http://kimmitvision.imagekind.com. There is an excellent artisitic community there and you can even sell some work.
    Thanks for the Creative Commons info. I will be looking into that.

  • Anja November 23, 2009 12:38 pm

    Really good article!
    Though I wonder, when you publish your photos on facebook, aren't you concerned that people will steal them and you will loose credit for them?

  • Tiffany November 23, 2009 12:02 pm

    Those are all great advices. And coming from a blogger's perspective, there are many sites and blogs out there that aren't photo blogs, but could still use nice photos or would feature photographer's works. For example, my site, http://www.simplymodernmom.com, is a site with audiences of mothers, designers, and crafters. However I feature some of my amateur photography work and would love to feature other great photographers who photographs subjects that would interest my readers.

    Or offer to do a guest post giving tips on photography to crafters, parents, or designers - how to better photograph children, how to use natural light, how to do a great portrait, how to use colors, how photograph your crafts to sell, etc.

    Many of these sites also offer advertisements and looking for sponsors. So you can go that route if you are willing to fork out some money.

  • Sally W November 23, 2009 10:03 am

    My specialty is animal photography, so I volunteer for a local animal rescue group and take pictures for them.

  • @Redlincook November 23, 2009 09:09 am

    I love these ideas. Its nice to see a short break down of what someone could do to get started marketing their passion today. Thanks!

  • Don McEwan November 23, 2009 06:42 am

    Yet another great article, thank you. My wife is a cyclist and I attend all of her races and take lots of photos. We also attend many other cycling races that happen in our area in support of friends that are racing even when she isn't. My wife also has a locally popular blog that drives traffic to my photos but the biggest traffic driver to our Flickr photos is timeliness and extensive use of tags. It has taken a few years but now folks can count on us for photos from local/regional bike races right after the event takes place. I think my best day has resulted in over 8000 photo views and numerous emails from cycling clubs, publications and individual racers requesting to use specific photos from an event.
    Another thing that has helped is to show up regardless of the weather and to make sure to take photos of complete strangers because competitive cycling events are generally not well attended and racers like to have photos to share with family, friends and sponsors.

  • MiL November 23, 2009 06:26 am

    Cool! Great article....!

  • Ilan (@ilanbr) November 23, 2009 05:20 am

    1. Start a blog
    2. Enter online photo competitions
    3. Comment and participate in other blogs.
    4. Be a useful member of the photo-blogo-sphere
    5. Fan page on Facebook
    6. Active Twitter account

    :) Oh, and

  • Brian DeMint November 23, 2009 04:51 am

    Terrific article! I would like to put in a good word for Blurb... I used their software to design and publish a book recently and have been extremely satisfied with the results... it has resulted in some good exposure and a very nice finished product I can market at lectures, etc... here's a link... http://www.blurb.com/books/905107


  • Peter Bryenton November 23, 2009 03:26 am

    Thank you for introducing the Creative Commons Licence here. After reading your article I added one to my photo blog.

  • Alan Graf November 23, 2009 01:37 am

    Great advice,

    I can testify for the desktop wallpapers, and social networks. But the blurb book and the creative commons license (on flickr), i will definitely try out and let you know how it worked for me.

    Thx again