Why Photographers Should Love Twitter

Why Photographers Should Love Twitter


This article is for any photographer who is still holding out on the world of Twitter. While most everyone is on Facebook, a lot of people are still hesitant about Twitter for various reasons. In this article, I will go over some reasons why I love Twitter and why you should give it a chance. Let’s go!

Social Media is here to stay. It just is. The conduit through which social media will be used may change along the way, but social media nonetheless will be with us from now on, so we as photographers need/have to embrace it.

I got a comment on one of my older posts here the other day because I was offering to provide a coupon code to anyone who sent me a tweet. The comment read:

Hey (James) Brandon, ive tried twitter and find it the biggest waste of space going so having to follow you to get a discount is more trouble than its worth!

I am not including this quote to call anyone out at all. The truth is, I use to feel the exact same way about Twitter! To get your juices flowing around the idea of Twitter and Social Media in today’s age of technology, I encourage you to watch this video from YouTube on Socialnomics:

Video – http://youtu.be/sIFYPQjYhv8

Twitter Is Good. Not Evil!

Twitter is all about community, but Twitter is not Facebook.  I think a lot of people who have Facebook (but haven’t given Twitter a try) believe they are very similar so there is really no need for a separate Twitter account. Well, they are not very similar at all! When someone signs up for a Facebook account, they are guided through a process where they can begin finding people they know from the schools they went to, and by going through the friends lists of people they know. If I add my buddy as a friend on Facebook, then I have one friend and that person has one more friend than they had before. It’s reciprocal. If I go through and want to be friends with 1,000 people, I will have 1,000 friends. That means I will see the feeds on 1,000 people, and all of those people will mutually see whatever I put on Facebook.

When people come to Twitter I think they are expecting the same thing. Facebook is easy. There is no challenge to it really. You don’t have to work at getting noticed. You simply become friends with the people you know and that’s it, you then have access to post on their wall, send them messages, chat with them when they are online, etc.

When people sign up for a Twitter account, choose a username, and start adding people to their ‘Follow List,’ they immediately notice the big difference and the initial problem with Twitter: They are alone.

If I decide to follow you on twitter, there is no guarantee that you will follow me. That means I will see everything you tweet out, but you won’t see anything I tweet out. I’m basically alone and invisible in the incredibly massive and somewhat intimidating world of Twitter and it’s not fun.

You see, Twitter requires work. It requires a lot of work. You have to invest time in others and find a community of like minded people to start building your following from. People have to make a decision to follow you, and there isn’t much you can do to help them make that decision besides getting your name out there and being interesting to them.

The first 100 followers on Twitter are very difficult to get, especially if you aren’t a very well know photographer outside of your (tangible) community. Once you get to that 100 followers mark, the ball starts rolling slowly. Every time you send out a tweet, you have an immediate audience of 100 people. But it still requires work, and a lot of investing in other people.

Once you get plugged in to a community on twitter of likeminded people, it becomes incredibly fun and rewarding. If you can become part of a powerful community, your tweets start getting exposed to thousands of people through things like retweets and mentions.

Why You Should Love Twitter

Twitter is a marketing machine for your business and for your brand. Through hard work, research and dedication, you can build up an audience of hundreds (eventually thousands) of people to market to at any time you choose. If you get connected with the right people, the numbers begin to multiply dramatically.

Let’s say I have 100 followers. I send out a tweet with a link to my blog post and it’s instantly in front of those 100 people. Sure, not all of them will see it because they are not all on twitter all the time, but 100 is that maximum potential at that time. Lets say my blog post is really timely and catchy, so 2 of my followers decide they want to share the information and they retweet it to their followers. One of those people only has 75 followers, but the other person has 500 followers. Well, because of those two retweets, your blog post is now potentially exposed to 675 people, and you only have 100 followers! Now that you have reached nearly 7x your following, let’s say one more person from that group decides to retweet your link, and that person has a following of 2,000 people. See the potential here? If that happens, and your original tweet is now in front of 2,675 people, you can rest assured that a few of those people (in addition to retweeting your content) will decide to follow you because of the quality of your image or blog post that you tweeted out. If your tweet was exposed to 2,675 people, then you’d probably get at least 2 or 3 new followers out of it. On a good day you might get 10 or more.

I’ve had good days where my post gets retweeted so many times that there are well over hundreds of thousands of people with my link showing up in their twitter timeline. When the ball gets rolling like that, I may receive 50 to 100 followers just in that one day alone. You don’t always have days like that, but when you do it makes it all worth it!

Tips to Help Photographers Build a Following

Now let’s get one thing straight: I am not a huge Twitter big wig. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers and there probably aren’t people out there waiting on pins and needles for what I have to say. At the time of writing this article I have 1,482 followers, and since the average twitter user only has 126 followers, I think I’m comfortable enough at this point to give out some tips to anyone who wants to consider embracing twitter. There is no easy way to build a following, unless you’re a celebrity or very well known person in your industry. There is no magical tip I can give you that will send you hundreds of followers. But I do know this: It’s all about content and networking. If you want people to follow your tweets, you had better be tweeting out stuff that is worthy of peoples attention. Nobody cares that you are ,”In line at Starbuck.” That is worthless information that will actually cause people to ‘unfollow’ you in some cases.

Decide What You Want To Use Twitter For

This is pretty simple. The choices are: Business. Personal. Or both.

I chose both, but it’s important to know why. My business is “James Brandon Photography.” I’m a person and a business. If my business was “Studio ABC Photography,” and my twitter handle was “@StudioABCPhotography,” then it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to send out personal tweets.

I use twitter to network with other photographers. It’s who I market to because of the articles I write for DPS, the daily posts I put up on my blog, and the goals and aspirations I have for the future. When I really started to build a decent following on Twitter, it was because I started to connect with people in the photography community. I do a lot of HDR photography, and there is an incredible community of HDR photographers on twitter that I tweet back and forth with on a daily basis. They are all incredible photographers, and it’s good to be surrounded by such a solid group of people that push me to improve my skills.

Don’t Be Selfish

If you’re only in it for you, people will notice. Twitter isn’t about you, it’s about community and networking. If you only tweet links out to your own work, don’t expect to get those links retweeted by others very often. You need to use your following to spread the work of others. If I see a great image on someones blog that I follow, I will always tweet it out. Not only does this send traffic their way, it let’s them know that I am an advocate for their work, and most of the time they will be willing to tweet out my links as well.

Trey Ratcliff has a great formula for his tweets. Of course it’s not an exact science, be he observes that it’s best to do 33% personal, 33% tweets to your own stuff, 33% tweets of others work, and 1% wild card. If you keep this mindset, you are sure to be considered interesting on twitter, and followers will eventually come.

Target Your Tweets

For those who are completely new to Twitter, there are several ways to ensure your tweets get seen by the right people. Let’s say I just edited a really cool image using Topaz Labs Adjust, a product I use a lot. Sending out a tweet like this won’t do a whole lot of good: “Just finished editing this image from Hawaii using Adjust from Topaz Labs, check it out! http://……”

Sure that tweet will go out to my followers which is great, but there’s a better way of doing it. Instead (since I know Topaz has a twitter account) I will send out a tweet that reads something like this: “Just finished editing this image from Hawaii using Adjust from @TopazLabs, check it out! http://…..”

Do you see what I did there? Instead of just saying Topaz Labs, I used their twitter account instead. This means that my tweet will now show up in the feed of Topaz Labs, and they will almost certainly see it. Since any company loves to hear customers bragging on their software, chances are that they will retweet my tweet out to their followers (that is, if the image is good!).

Another thing you can do is add hash tags to your tweets. This will potentially get your tweet in front of even more people. Hash tags are simply key words that can be used to search for tweets. Some of the more popular hash tags in the world of photography are #togs and #photog. This is basically just a way to categorize your tweet. Some people using a service like TweetDeck have columns in their feeds specifically for these hash tags. Other people simply do randomly timed searches to see what is going on in the world of these hash tags. To further market my tweet, I would simply say this: “Just finished editing this image from Hawaii using Adjust from @TopazLabs, check it out! http://….. #togs #photog”

The tags don’t have to be a part of the sentence or story, they are simply tags to throw your tweet in a pool of like minded tweets. On any given day, one of these tweets could be seen my 10 people or 10,000, you just never know.


Twitter is awesome! Sure, it takes some dedication and hard work, but that’s good for us! In todays age of instant gratification, it’s easy to see why some people don’t like Twitter, but they are missing out on a powerful tool for networking with others and marketing their brand and business.

To set up a Twitter account, simply visit their website and fill out the ‘New to Twitter’ section on the right side. If you want to have a decent chance of people following you back, be sure to create a bio and upload a profile picture. I will never follow somebody who doesn’t have a profile image or bio as this usually means the account is spam or the account is insignificant. There has to be value for people to follow you!

Once you have your account set up, start finding people to follow. There are a few people that I highly suggest of course! And here they are:

Me! – @jamesdbrandon
DPS – @digitalps
Darren Rowse – @problogger
Great list of HDR Photographers – Photogs I Follow

Have fun!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

James Brandon is a landscape photographer and educator residing in Dallas, Texas. Join 20,000+ photographers and get access to his free video tutorial library at his website. James also has an online store full of video courses, ebooks, presets and more. Use the coupon code "DPS25" for an exclusive discount!

Some Older Comments

  • Mauricio March 5, 2012 05:05 pm

    Can someone point me to the correct Video url on this post?
    When trying to view it, it shows a message stating this is a "private video".
    Any alternate links?

  • Lesley Dewar December 4, 2011 02:00 am

    Twitter is a fantastic way to build a good reputation, interact with people you really get to know well and share each others business expertise and interests. Yes, Twitter takes work. Everything worthwhile takes work. If you follow some basic ground rules about interacting on mutual topics, make only one tweet in four or five about business, you will soon build a community of supporters who share your business tweets as well as the personal ones. Twitter is also about fun! The people who find Twitter the least satisfactory are those whose tweetstreams are usually all about me, me, me.

  • patrick dinneen September 20, 2011 09:43 pm

    I've changed my twitter account details so I'm now 'photoblog_ie'.

    I find twitter handy for posting links to any new photos I've posted in my photoblog.
    Even though every now and then I ask people for an opinion on a post of mine and get no replies/feedback. It makes twitter feel like a dark, lonely abyss for me then....

  • Mischief Malcolm September 19, 2011 01:31 am

    Hey thanks for writing this page, there's a lot of good info here. I've been holding off until I got my new website off the ground and your help & tips displayed here have been inspiring.
    I'm looking to network with other photographers, meet and share; my twitter ID: http://twitter.com/mischiefmalcolm.
    Let's see where this takes me...

  • Simon Skipper July 10, 2011 01:53 am

    Great article, makes me interested in starting up, see you there! :)

  • Syed Moazzam Ali May 27, 2011 01:30 am

    I love reading it and good tips for newbies I am doing Photography for 6 months and my twitter id is http://twitter.com/#!/MozmPhotography ... I want to be in a network of Photographer but here in my country there are very less people who use twitter compared to facebook and this is the reason i dont find much of photographer buddies there but slow and steady wins the race

  • Jim Denham May 24, 2011 01:52 am

    Good work James! I think you've nailed the gist of Twitter to a T!

  • Nathan May 20, 2011 05:47 am

    Yeah, the article Cecile and Javier posted mentions this:

    "Both stories point to MobyPicture as the solution for photographers who want to retain their rights. "

    As Marcy noted, TwitPic is a 3rd party app; so is MobyPicture, but its TOS states it will never resell your pictures and that all rights remain with the photographer.

  • Patrick Dinneen May 19, 2011 09:37 pm

    ironically the twitter link just opens twitter, it doens't auto post this article...

  • Marcy May 19, 2011 02:41 am

    Just FYI, twitpic is one of MANY services that let you upload & share photos on twitter. I don't think they're even associated with Twitter, but are a 3rd party providing a service. By no means do you have to use twitpic to be on twitter. You can share via other sites like yfrog or use flickr, or your blog, etc.

    Just wanted to clarify that since people keep equating twitpic w/ twitter.

  • Nigel May 19, 2011 01:39 am

    Facebook can sell your pictures? The way they compress the crap out them (at standard res, anyway) I'd say they're pretty well unpublishable, unless its a real scoop. In which why put it on FB anyway? Haven't tried twitpic so can't comment on that.

  • mark May 18, 2011 03:18 pm

    Apparently Fb wont share your images if you have your privacy setting set correctly, guess you all just have to be careful and make sure you know what your signing up for!! and only load stuff your not bothered about people using or just give links to content.


  • James Brandon May 18, 2011 02:58 pm

    Cecile - I've never been too worried about that sort of stuff. I don't post portfolio images to Twitter using twitpic. All my images originate from my blog or website, so I simply link to them. Very, VERY few people will actually try to steal your images. Life is too short to worry about that small percentage.

    Rodney - Glad to hear, following big name photogs is great!

    Nigel - different strokes for different folks my friend :-)

  • mark May 18, 2011 02:13 pm

    Same rules apply to Face book!! but apparently flicr is safe..... but do your own research im no expert!


  • mark May 18, 2011 01:50 pm

    Thanks to Cecile's post above here's a fantastic reason for a photographer that hopes to make a living from their images NEVER to use Twitter!

    “…you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of…” and “…after you remove or delete your media from the Service provided that any sub-license by Twitpic to use, reproduce or distribute the Content prior to such termination may be perpetual and irrevocable.”

    Share your images with twitter and they own them!! well almost!!

    now you could argue that you can use the service without posting your images and that would maybe be acceptable, but James should point out loud and clear the consequences of posting your work on Twitter.


  • mark May 18, 2011 01:03 pm

    Hey James!!!

    as i was the poster of the comment of the message that, caused this article, id just like to take the time to say sorry for the way the comment was phrased (god i must have been in a bad mood!)

    That being said, i can see both sides of the coin, if you have something to market (i dont) then you should use all means possible to promote it, The amount of time involved in twitter however might not be the most efficient way to spend marketing time for the results it gets.

    James i love your work and one day hope to produce stuff like it, however i have no aspirations to make a living out of it, i make good money as an engineer and time is precious to me. what time i have i spend trying to improve my photography, i dont want to waste it on Twitter as i have nothing to promote. why i understand that you need your followers im not willing to spend hours of my time messing around on it for a small discount on an software package that you have now chosen to promote.

    For my money im better off spending my time on here or flicr which i find much more informative for the time i have to spend looking at it. But who knows, that may change


  • Matt May 16, 2011 06:22 pm

    Twitter is a passing fad. Give it a couple of years, and it'll go away once those who use it grow up ,

    The concept itself makes no sense and provides absolutely no meaningful information, but is fueled by people who delude themselves into thinking the emperor has clothes.

  • Cécile May 15, 2011 08:44 pm

    I do not know if it is relevant, I do not use twitter but was wondering when i found this article you might be interessed in:


  • Rodney Davis May 15, 2011 02:22 am

    I opened a twitter account recently just to see what it was all about. Then i quickly realized that I could become a more skilled amateur photographer if I followed the right people. I'm still learning,but so far I have to say I'm enjoying my twitter experience as much as I enjoyed joining FB.

  • vi May 14, 2011 11:04 pm

    And you can set up your twitter to get feed from your facebook page. It makes much easier to share information.

  • Draku Zeos May 14, 2011 11:04 am

    Just out of curiosity. You say it's a lot of work ... how much new business have you booked in the last 12 to 24 months as a result of using twitter?

  • Connor Walberg May 14, 2011 03:26 am

    Great post on twitter, it's good to read an article explaining how it benefit's photographers. Thank you for sharing!

  • Dawn May 14, 2011 12:09 am

    Thanks for your article James. Only yesterday one of my friends was trying to convince me that I should give Twitter a go to promote my business, then I saw your post a few minutes later.
    You've inspired me to give it a go and have set up my account and a few hours later have a grand total of 5 followers which I'm pretty pleased with. I still have a lot to learn...


  • Nigel May 13, 2011 09:49 pm

    You say 'Don't Be Selfish' but one way to look at Twitter is that it's all about selfishness.

    Whereas facebook is a way to keep in touch with people whose lives you care about (to a greater or lesser degree) Twitter users seem to have less altruistic motives. It seems to appeal to attention seekers who want people to 'follow' them, or for those who want to 'network' (lost count of the number of times i saw that word). Networking is about selling yourself or your product. People network for essentially selfish reasons.

    I recently signed up to twitter to keep informed about certain products, services and places that interest me, but I'm not fussed about tweeting because I'm not interested in 'networking' or attracting 'followers'. I can't be bothered to invest the time and 'hard work' required in getting as many people to follow me as possible, because I'm not self employed and I don't need the ego massage of attracting followers to hear what I've got to say about life, the universe and everything.

    Twiter is mostly a marketing/networking tool, either for people who want to market something or be marketed to. The contents of the average feed look like the contents of my email spam filter.

  • Trep Ford May 13, 2011 05:54 pm

    Have you ever been to Lowe's or Home Depot? Have you ever noticed how many different designs they carry of something as simple as a hammer ... a screw driver ... a wrench? Zillions! Seriously ... how many different kinds of hammer do we need? Well, apparently, a lot.

    My point is this. The internet itself is a social medium, and everything from ancient bulletin boards to forums, email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, twitter and FB ... it's all social media. And the variety of flavors that exist in this media simply point out (a) how many different ways there are to use that media successfully and (b) how many different sets of preferences people have for the WAY they use the connectivity of the web to reach out (or not) to a small, medium, large or huge audience.

    One of the points overlooked by every single article I've read on twitter, FB and the rest is the simple realization that different people want different kinds of experiences from the web, and in a larger sense, from photography and from life. Not everyone wants to market their images to thousands of people. Not everyone wants to know what over 1,000 other people are doing. Nor should they feel as though they must. The internet is still in the very early stages of sorting out the various ways it can be used to create connections between individuals and groups, and the upside of all this growth and experimentation is NOT twitter or FB or any ONE of these forms of media. The huge win is the VARIETY of means of connection that are available to the BILLIONS of people and their HUGE range of preferences that people the Earth today.

    They key to using the web (or any other human tool) in ways that work for you is to explore, and see what works best for you. I know perfectly successful and happy people who never use the web at all ... and equally successfully, happy people that use it so much they forget to eat or glance up long enough to avoid running into walls as they iPhone their way through life. Neither is wrong ... it's a matter of personal choice and preference ... and there's more choice available today than ever before ... so find what works for you ... and enjoy! If that includes twitter ... great. If it doesn't ... great. Just make sure you're doing what works for you.

  • Joe May 13, 2011 05:40 pm

    James you are right on th mark. Most of us who have face book accounts are always saying tweeter is the same thing. I am one of those, and I can relate with that feeling of solitude on tweeter before you get any followers. I liked this article probably the best i've seen written about twitter. I,m now going to brush of the cob webs and brush the dust of my twitter account (assuming it's still active) and apply the tips you gave in this article.

  • Matt Payne May 13, 2011 11:44 am

    I used to agree with a lot of you that Twitter is useless and silly; however, I have been giving it a good go recently and as a result I've actually scored photoshoots and other gigs out of nowhere. I think if done right, Twitter can be a real boon.

  • qristie May 13, 2011 11:44 am

    While I don't use Twitter for photography business gain at all, I would sooner promote my own work there than on Facebook for the simple fact that Twitter didn't outright claim immediate ownership of whatever work I post when I agreed to their TOS. It amazes me how many artists and photogs post their entire portfolio onto a site where it could get sold and used and too bad, so sad.

    And before anyone feeds me the "you don't have to POST stuff on there" line, it's the principle of it. I have a huge problem signing over the rights to any information I'd post on there. Facebook didn't take that photograph so why should they be allowed to profit from it? It bothers me enough to think that I shoot a wedding for someone who probably posts that album on their own page where it can be sold and used without my permission. Plus, if I don't post anything, what exactly is the point of having a page in the first place?

  • Angie May 13, 2011 05:02 am

    Thanks for this article. I'm one of the people who've never really considered using Twitter for all the reasons you mentioned in the article. Thanks for outlining the reasons why it might be worth it to use and for the steps on how to do it!

  • Paul May 13, 2011 04:15 am

    Thanks for this, but I'm working so hard to try and build SEO ranking that I'm not sure I have the time or inclination to commit to this?

  • PHugger May 13, 2011 03:13 am

    B - you are very close to a revelation I have had....

    The Internet is not the real world.
    Twitter followers are not really your friends
    Heckling, egging on, calling out, having fun,and supporting others, is best done in person.
    Communicating with someone who is not near via email or simple phone call works well.
    (email allows you to embed images, links and express your thoughts with more than just 140 characters)
    Social interaction is best accomplished face to face, preferably with family or friends.

  • Steve May 13, 2011 03:05 am

    I don't see much value in Twitter (compared to Facebook) even after reading this article. Most of what is stated in this article works just the same as my Facebook business page. I only have 100 fans. I post a couple pictures or interesting status. My fans may repost, like or tag themselves in it which results in the same multiplication of visibility. I can also tag other companies, like if I am shooting with another photographer.

    I don't know, I just don't see a difference.

  • Jean McMillan May 13, 2011 02:11 am

    I have been using Twitter for business for about 1 1/2 years now. The biggest benefits of Twitter that I see are for information, networking, credibility and "searchability".

    As a provider of current information, Twitter is hard to beat. Simply by searching on basic terms, you can find the most current information on nearly any topic. That includes photography techniques, current legal issues dealing with photography, and post-processing. I have found that the creative inspiration I gain from fellow tweeters is MORE than enough reason to participate.

    Networking is also a great feature of Twitter but this is also one of those areas that "you will only get out of it what you put into it". There are many people from many walks of life who have basically offered to share their experience and expertise with anyone willing to ask for it. It can be a fun and mutually beneficial exchange of information.

    Credibility and searchability go hand in hand as benefits of Twitter. Many people assume that "anybody who is anybody" will have an internet presence and so prospects will EXPECT to see you listed in Twiiter, Facebook, etc. In fact, statistics show that many people "google" all new people that they meet. And, tweets are searchable by Google. So, if you have posted on Twitter and someone searches for your name on Google, your tweets will be listed in the google search. Our company went from 25th to 1st on a Google search after using Twitter for only a week. And the more that people see your name in Google results, the more credibility you will earn (that is, assuming that you post credible, professional information). Besides it is free marketing; how can you pass that up?

    I am not going to say that is the answer to all your marketing needs. However, it can definitely be a very powerful background supporter of your marketing efforts.

  • B May 13, 2011 12:53 am

    Twitter (and Facebook and whatever else) is great if you're looking to build mindshare to establish your personal brand across multi-level web 2.0 social networking blah blah blah.

    Myself, I like making photos. All that energy and time put into social networking... I have better places for it.

  • James Brandon May 13, 2011 12:53 am

    Very interesting points Donald.

    I believe Twitter will be around for a while. I could be wrong but this is what I believe. I also believe Twitter is in it's infant stage. It will evolve more and more, and the uses will as well.

    I know for a fact that some of the big names on Twitter have actually been hired for jobs because of their social media presence. Like Chase Jarvis for example. He has access to tens of thousands of photographers, so companies that market to photographers have hired him for their ad campaigns in part because it will drive sales of their products by having him involved in the process.

    This is obviously a very niche market space right now, and not many photographers are capable of pulling something like this off, but as I said, Twitter is evolving and they times they are a changing :-)

  • Donald E Giannatti May 13, 2011 12:38 am

    I enjoy Twitter.

    I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it.

    I have 4000+ followers, and I follow about 1500.
    Unfortunately, that 1500 is still too many for me to keep track of.
    Tweetdeck just simply flies by... updating a column completely in less than 45 seconds.

    So I made a few columns to follow just stuff I am interested in.

    Now the bottom line. It is fun, and fun only.

    I see no 'client' interaction on Twitter. In fact, NONE of my clients are on twitter.
    A few have personal accounts, but they are NOT looking for photographers on twitter.
    I am not 'selling' on twitter... who would I sell to?
    Recently, we decided to find out how many high end commercial photographers were on Twitter.
    Well, let's say.... not very darn many.

    Photoshelter's recent survey indicates that Twitter is a total bust for commercial photographers, with only a tiny fraction of the clients even using it. And a tinier fraction who would even think of using it for hiring a photographer.

    It is a good way to keep in touch with a select group, and i use that for some projects where there is a need for instant conversation across time zones... thanks Private Twitter.

    And before anyone thinks I am a luddite, I am a big proponent of all kinds of new technology and new media. Have been for years.

    However, this article states, truthfully, that it is very hard work. One of the big name Twitter photogs tweets dozens of tweets a day. He has 20,000 followers. Hasn't done a thing for his photography business, but he is getting speaking engagements on using twitter for photography.

    I won't continue, you get my message here: Do it if you enjoy it. if it is to be a lot of work, then think twice, and FIND the photographers for who it is working... and watch what they do.

    NOTE: I am a commercial photographer/designer. Not a direct consumer shooter. But most of what I have heard at the workshops is that they are not getting much at all.


  • @mightymarce May 13, 2011 12:30 am

    So glad we have experts like PHugger and Burt who have never used it, but can tell us just how useless and awful Twitter is. I guess the rest of us who use Twitter regularly and find it not only useful but also enjoyable, have NO idea what we're talking about! ; )

    (ps- no, I'm not selling anything)

  • James Brandon May 13, 2011 12:19 am

    Great conversations going on here everyone. Twitter is what you make of it. Who you decide to follow largely affects the type or category of tweets you see. If you are following Starbucks or WalMart or your businesses, yes you will receive advertisements for those businesses. If you follow other photographers, they will likely tweet out links (advertisements) to their work.

    Advertisements aren't bad if they are for a product you are interested in. I follow a lot of photographers who tweet out daily links to their photo blogs and I love it. But unlike an RSS feed, I also get to see those peoples personal tweets and have conversations with them at various times. We heckle each other, egg each other on, call each other out, all in good fun of course. But we all support each other.

    Some people will never buy into Twitter, and that is perfectly ok. I will never write an article or form an opinion that everyone agrees with. That is not my goal, and if it was I'd be chasing the wind.

    Somebody mentioned that an unfortunate by product of twitter is the underlying popularity contest of how many followers each person has. I agree. Twitter shouldn't be about how many followers each person has. It shouldn't be impressive to anyone that someone well known in the industry has more followers than Joe Photographer in Smallville America. In fact, it's common sense that someone well known will have more followers. Followers certainly don't equate to talent, but simply an equation of how long the person has been on twitter, how much time they spend on twitter, and how well known they are.

  • John Davenport May 13, 2011 12:11 am

    I haven't had much success with Twitter - I'm sure its mainly due to my lack of dedication for learning the art of marketing on Twitter. Maybe I'll give it another go and see where it takes me.

  • PHugger May 12, 2011 09:44 pm

    I have watched the Twitter phenomenon over the last few year. The people who actively promote it's use and sing it's praises are all trying to market something to me. It's a poor substitute for RSS IMHO. You have people selling something telling everyone how great Twitter is (naturally they need followers). Baaaaaaaaah! I am more choosey about what I subscribe to. If I'm looking for information, I'll search the web. If I find something worthwhile I'll subscribe to it (RSS). Using Twitter to meet interesting people is either like going to a convention of door to door salesmen or a convention of their customers who have almost nothing in common. The first group all have the common goal of selling something (maybe even the same thing) and the second group all have expressed an interest in what is being sold. It's a dedicated sales channel like the Home Shopping Network. I understand that some people love to watch that type of program. It's just not for me. Do they have adds on Twitter now? What happens when the VC runs out? Then you'll have HSN with commercials!

    I'm very sensitive to this sort of thing. I employ a "Pocket Filter" for most political discourse. It goes like this -
    Never believe anything from someone who has their hand in your pocket.
    This sort of applies to Twitter as well.

  • Paula May 12, 2011 09:15 pm

    Just a side note, not that you guys haven't made a name for yourselves, but as a fellow twitographer, it would probably benefit the site to have a twitter app that gives you credit (and marketing, yipee!) with a "via @digitalps" than a "via @AddThis".


  • Dewan Demmer May 12, 2011 06:53 pm

    I have a twitter accoutn and I must admit I struggle with it, I have so much trouble figuring what I should put on twitter. So often much of what I read comes accross as thoughtless dribble, but there is value in twitter I just have to figure out how to harness it.
    Perhaps in itself twitter will not lead to a success story but I do think that in conjunction with a lot of other media forms it can be a handy and useful tool.

  • Justin May 12, 2011 06:02 pm

    Still not seeing why I should love, or even use, Twitter. I am an amateur photographer and take pictures of what I want to take pictures of. I have no intention of starting a business or making money from my work. I am just getting started in photography and might post photos online to get input on them, though still not sure yet. I got into photography more for my enjoyment than the enjoyment of others, granted, if someone else enjoys my photography, that is an added bonus. Based on all this, your post on why I should love twitter seems to be completely off the mark. If I were a professional photographer with a business and was trying to get more business, then I could see advertising my work via twitter. Maybe sometime in the future I'll get a twitter account, but as of now, it seems to be a waste of bandwidth to me.

  • Haikal Aziz May 12, 2011 05:36 pm

    have you heard of tumblr?

    i dont know about twitter, but i think tumblr's great. you can personalise your layout, its easy to post pictures, texts, quotes and the dashboard is really quite awesome, especially if you follow great photographers. plus you can queue your posts so that you dont have to be there to post a new picture!

    here's my tumblr: http://locallad.tumblr.com

    i think you all should join the tumblr community! http://www.tumblr.com


    Thank you for this very informative article providing a viewpoint on how Twitter may eventually become useful for a photographer. Like many other photographers, I acknowledge -- somewhat grudgingly -- that social media is here to stay. I have friends and contacts who swear that Twitter is the most wonderful form of free advertising available to mankind.

    Be that as it may, I do believe that a nasty by-product of social media is the underlying “popularity contest” indicated by the number of followers and subscribers. Here is my point. Whether you have 200 followers, 2,000 followers, or 200,000, if none of those individuals are contacting you to license your images or hire your services, then the number of subscribers one has is rather pointless.

    I completely concur that Twitter is useful for celebrities and well-known entities, but if the budding photographer from the Smallvilles, PetiteViillages, or VillasPequenas of the world is trying to make a name for herself and generate business, Twitter may appear to be a gigantic waste of time in addition to a parasite to one’s energy. I’m not saying there are not success stories, but as Jason St. Petersburg said above, we don’t often hear or know of concrete examples of how Twitter has led to any verifiable success for photographers, professional, amateur or otherwise.

    I’ve been on Twitter for well over a year, and I think I’m just beginning to understand the formula (or scheme!) behind it!

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer May 12, 2011 02:26 pm

    Twitter only works for photographers who are already famous like Scott Bourne and Chase Jarvis. If anyone has earned revenue directly from referrals or anything via a tweet they put up, I would like them to cite that.

    What non-famous photographers can get out of Twitter is exposure to lots of different articles & news flashes, assuming you use an app like TweetDeck to be able to sort and organize tweets.

    If you have a business that is mobile, like an ice cream stand and you tweet your location, that can lead directly to business. For a photographer, I would like to have someone list concrete examples of how a tweet earned him/her money.

  • John Newton May 12, 2011 01:10 pm

    Twitter has its use and place , but I'm not completely sold on it being quite the end-all-be-all especially in light of this article http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2070167/twitpic-signs-controversial-deal-celebrity-photo-agency

    I'll take it slow for the time being.


  • Jarrod Whitehead May 12, 2011 01:08 pm

    I would have never thought to approach twitter this way or even thought that it was a useful and meaningful tool to my business. Now it looks like I am going to be spending some late nights getting twitter set up. I never realized really how many professionals and businesses used twitter until I signed up for an account after reading this post. There is a some really great stuff out there. Thanks so much for opening my eyes on this subject, great article.

  • Peter May 12, 2011 11:13 am

    Fantastic post. I know I'm still not using Twitter to its full potential but I learned something today. Thank you James, you've got another follower here!

  • Burt May 12, 2011 10:27 am

    I agree with your poster. Twitter is one of the worst inventions of all time, and is nothing but a giant sucking sound of time going down the toilet.

    Haven't used it, and never will. Can't understand why anyone would want to waste their time on it if they are over 14...

  • Marcy May 12, 2011 10:20 am

    Javier, you mean like how Facebook also owns your photos once uploaded? ; )

    I'd say twitter is just as useful for amateurs as for pros. RSS feed is *one* way to use twitter. But more than that, it's an easy way to meet new people and connect with them-- both people you share interests with (other fellow photogs, amateur or pro, from whom you can learn or just become friends) and also others who are very different from you, to help expand your world view. The beauty of twitter is it's easy to follow and unfollow, so you can "try out" following all sorts of people with little commitment, and unfollow those you end up not liking. But in the process you'll likely find new people (and blogs) that you may come to value highly.

    To repeat a joke I've seen floated around: Facebook is for the people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you meet those you *wish* you'd known in high school. ; )

  • Alastair May 12, 2011 10:07 am

    I mean it’s just act like a rss feeds.

    So what does Twitter offer me that RSS feeds don't? As someone who doesn't use Twitter but uses RSS feeds religiously, I don't see what Twitter does. Not that it matters as it's not compulsory to use Twitter but I keep feeling like I'm missing out.

    I guess it's more useful for professional photographers rather than amateurs such as myself who aren't blogging and just post photos up to flickr or 500px.

  • Lindsay May 12, 2011 10:06 am

    Thanks for the tips! I'm pretty new there, and appreciate learning more about it.

  • Jonathan May 12, 2011 09:22 am

    I couldn't agree more. The next time I hear someone say how twitter is a waste of time I'm going to send them to this article. I get so much more out of twitter than I do facebook.

  • hito May 12, 2011 08:57 am

    @ PHugger :

    I won't say that twitter is junk mail for those who don't market.

    Actually you can use twitter not only to tweet something but it's a really good tools for watching & knowing when your favorite bloggers just added a new article.

    I mean it's just act like a rss feeds.

    You can use it in so many way in my opinion.
    You can also immediately react with some fans of your favorite TV show or else...

    Well so many many things to do in my opinion and only 140 characteres ^^

  • Javier May 12, 2011 08:40 am

    Then there is this:

  • Erik Kerstenbeck May 12, 2011 07:54 am


    After studying the power of Social Media Marketing, my wife and business partner said that I should start using Twitter. I thought she was nuts but opened an account anyway. Since Sept 2010, I have >2100 Followers. But this is not the point.

    I have met many like minded Photographers, some of whom are quite well connected within the Industry, like Trevor Current, Scott Wyden, Deb Sandidge and Brian Matiash. We correspond on occassion, they critique my work and answer many of my Photography related questions. Sometimes I preview their Podcasts or review articles.

    I have also been invited to be a Guest Blogger on their Photo Blogs!

    All of this would never have happened had I not taken the jump and started using Twitter!

    Regards Erik


  • PHugger May 12, 2011 07:21 am

    This is the best summary of Twitter I've come across -
    "Twitter is a marketing machine for your business and for your brand."

    It's a marketing tool.
    Great for people who have something to market, but more like junk mail for those who don't.