Facebook Pixel YouTube for Photographers: 3 Ways to get Started Using YouTube to Show and Promote your Photography

YouTube for Photographers: 3 Ways to get Started Using YouTube to Show and Promote your Photography

A Guest Post by Marlene Hielema

Video is all the rage. With virtually all digital cameras now able to capture live video, if you’re not shooting video you’re going to start to feel left out.

But video has a very steep learning curve!

Yes it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get going. In this post I’m going to tell you about three ways you can use video to promote your photography, and I’ll start on the shallow end of the learning curve.

Why YouTube and not Vimeo or private hosting?

In a word: Traffic.

The goal of these videos is lead generation and they are used for marketing.

  • Video helps people to know, like, and trust you
  • From the video you can send them to your website where they can learn more about you
  • Then, get them to buy your photos, or to book a photo shoot with you

I’ve talked to photographers who have been scared off of YouTube. I say, “Embrace it and use it for what it’s best at”. Use YouTube for traffic, visibility and lead generation. Use YouTube for your public side, and save Vimeo and private hosting for private client videos.


Benefits of YouTube

  • YouTube is owned by Google and is the #2 search engine (Google is #1).
  • Like other social media, it’s possible to build community on YouTube by getting comments, likes and subscribers.
  • Unlike other social media, YouTube videos are easy to keyword, and as a result easy to search and find.
  • Random access and always available – YouTube videos don’t disappear down the stream like Facebook and Twitter posts.
  • YouTube videos get better with age. More time online, equals more views. 
  • Your YouTube videos will show up alongside other related videos so that people you don’t even know, will see them. 
  • With other social media – people have to follow you or like you to see your content. Not so with YouTube.
  • Google likes videos, so it’s highly likely your videos will rank higher in search results than your website content.
  • And people are turning to video, and especially YouTube, more than ever to learn things and find out about products and services.
  • You don’t need a full fledged video production setup to start taking advantage of YouTube’s benefits.
  • Read the official YouTube stats here


Three types of videos you can make for YouTube

1. Portfolio video: Slideshow of still images – simplest way to get a video online

  • Take a gallery of no more than 20 photos – make it very specific not everything you do – for example family portraits
  • Use Lightroom’s Slideshow feature and export to video – Simplest and fastest way to get your photos to video
  • If you don’t have Lightroom, use PowerPoint or Keynote to make a slideshow of your photos 
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Add keywords and phrases in the description and title of your video when you upload it – Example – Calgary family portrait photographer
  • Make several galleries of each type of photography you do
    • weddings – you can also break these topics down further
    • destination weddings
    • second time around weddings
    • maternity
    • babies
    • kids

    If you want to add music to your video, YouTube has a long list of music titles that you are free to use. Look for the “audio” editing feature when you upload your video.

    2. Profile: About you – builds trust and rapport

    • Involves you getting in front of the camera and that can be hard, but you’ll just need to get over it. 
    • It’s a great way for people to see if you’re a good fit for their photo shoot.
    • Your profile video can also be done with a voiceover and photos, but I think it’s best to get in front of the camera so you can speak directly to people.

    3. Behind the scenes: Show what happens on one of your photo shoots

    • Maybe you’re a nature photographer and you can show how you approach a landscape or a wildlife shoot. You can do this with still photos and a voiceover similar to your portfolio video.
    • Keep the production simple and use your iPhone.
    • This adds value to your photographs as people see the amount of work that goes into a shoot.
    • Stop motion videos are also fun and easy to make and you can do behind-the-scenes videos this way too.
    • Some family and wedding photographers are using stylized stop motion videos as a bonus to a shoot.

    Video editing options

    Shooting video is relatively simple, especially if you start by using your iPhone. The steep part of the learning curve is the editing and exporting for web use.

    • You can use simple video editing software or screen recording software to produce your videos
    • iMovie – Free for Mac users
    • Camtasia for Mac and PC
    • Adobe Premier Elements – for Mac or PC. An affordable choice for beginners.
  • You can edit a movie right within YouTube as well.

    If you’ve never done video before, start with the portfolio video.

    • Review the steps above and remember to:
    • Keep it short 1-2 minutes in length.
    • Add a watermark – your url is best.
    • Add a picture of yourself too – remember this is to build trust. 
  • Embed the video on your website or blog too.

  • Share it on Twitter, Facebook and G+.
  • Repeat the process with another group of images.
  • Remember it’s better to have more videos of shorter length than to have a large group of photos in a 20 minute video.
  • Before long you’ll have a collection of searchable, randomly accessible videos and you’ll be sending people to your website.
  • In future tutorials I’ll show you how to approach each method in greater detail, and some tools you can use to produce your videos.

    Do this next: Watch the video above to see an example of how I used it to drive traffic to this blog post. I’ve got an invitation and a benefit at the end of the video for you too.

    Are you using video to promote your photography yet? Let us know what technique you use in the comments.

    Marlene Hielema teaches photography and photo editing online, in the classroom, at corporate workshops and one-to-one. She’s also a camera raw evangelist and YouTube video blogger. Find out more about what she can help you with at www.imagemaven.com and look for her weekly video blog post on YouTube.


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