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What is Snapchat?

How Does Snapchat Work?

How (and Why) Photographers Are Using Snapchat

14 Ways to Win at Snapchat



Making Your Personality Shine Through: Zo Noble


Snapping the Beauty & Mastering Storytelling: Kirsten Alana


Working with Brands on Snapchat: Dave Krugman


From Snapchat to Instagram Stories: Gareth Pon


Snapping Behind-the-Scenes: Robert Caplin, The Photo Brigade


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What is

napchat: Its not just for kids anymore.

If youve been dismissing Snapchat as a mysterious social app for the millennial and below set, consider
this: Over 50% of new Snapchat users are over the age
of 25, and 60% of 13- to 38-year-old Americans are on
As a photographer, you might bristle at the idea of an
app built on sharing images that disappear within 24
hours. But Snapchat continues to post impressive ad
revenue numbers, which means brands and media outlets (i.e. your potential clients) are devoting dollars to
reach the apps coveted young demographic. Even with
the launch of Instagrams competing Stories feature,
Snapchats 2017 revenue is projected to rise by 150 percent over 2016s numbers, according to eMarketer.
With so many young people consuming images
through Snapchat, its important for photographers
to keep up with visual and marketing trends. Many
photographers have jumped in to use it as a marketing
tool, a new creative outlet and an additional source of
revenue. Plus, its fun.
Even just as a creative practice, I would recommend
people get Snapchat, says New York photographer
Dave Krugman. It's filmmaking, it's script writing, it's
storyboarding, it's cinematography, it's a study in still
photography. In terms of the industry as a whole, it's
huge and thriving. It's kind of like the new reality TV.



How does
Snapchat work?

f youve already installed Snapchat on your

phone, you probably know that its not instantly apparent how to get started. But once
you find your way around, posting snaps is quick and easy.
You can take videos up to 10 seconds long or shoot
pictures and layer on text, drawings and stickers. Or
use Snapchats popular filters and face-swapping feature to make cheeky videos or stills. (Tap on your face
on the camera screen to find the filters.) Its meant to
be used in the moment, but you can also upload previously taken photos from your phones camera roll.
Users can message their photos and videos, or even
plain text, directly to one friend or a group, or post the
content to a Story, which can be seen by all of their
followers. (Find friends Stories by swiping left from
the camera screen.)
Stories can be added throughout the day to create a live,
visual journal. Krugman describes the Stories feature as
sequential storytelling. Its stacking media in a way
that all together it's cohesive but you can consume each
individual piece of content as well, he explains.
Unlike on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the content you create is only available to followers for 24
hours, but that doesnt mean that it is necessarily gone
forever. You can download your snaps and Stories using the apps Memories feature, and anyone who follows you can take screenshots or even use a third party
app to download your snaps.

Finding and Following

Before you start snapping, youll need to find friends

to connect with. One of the biggest differences of
Snapchat compared to other platforms is in how you
find and follow other users. Spoiler: Its not as easy.
Here are some common ways to find users:
SEARCH BY USERNAME: You have to know the exact


your address book contacts who are on Snapchat.
TAKE A PHOTO OF A USERS SNAPCODE: Thats the yellow ghost image that appears on the profile screen.
ADD NEARBY FRIENDS: You both must open the add
nearby option on the Add Friends screen.
Thats about it. There are no hashtags. No searching
by keywords. No ways to search for friends of friends.
By the same token, its not easy for your potential followers to find you either, so if you want to grow your
followership, youll need to work at it. List your username in your bios on other channels, and post occasional updates on other platforms about what youre
doing on Snapchat.



How (and Why)

Are Using

hotographers who are on Snapchat are finding all sorts of creative uses. Whereas Instagram has evolved into a portfolio showcase of
sorts, Snapchat is a place where photographers can be
more real and less polished and connect on a more personal level. Revealing that human side can be an important factor in getting hired these days when competition
for jobs has never been tighter.
You have to differentiate yourself in a whole sea of other people, says Berlin-based photographer Zo Noble.
If you can do that by showing your personality on these
platforms, then do it.
It helps to think of Snapchat as a narrative storytelling
tool. Its up to you to decide which stories will engage
your audience and contribute to your overall marketing
and brand goals. Show how you work or delve into a
passion project. Narrate an on-set challenge and show
how you overcome it. Use it to build excitement for a
project youre a part of or solicit and answer questions
from other photographers.

Selling Clients on Snapchat

Aside from reinforcing your personal brand, theres actually money to be made on Snapchat. Media outlets are
tapping photojournalists to man their Snapchat channels, and brands are looking for creative ways to grow
and engage their followers.

Photo credit: Kirsten Alana

It helps to think of
Snapchat as a narrative
storytelling tool.

At this point people are starting to say, hey can you just
add it to your workflow just like some photographers
had to add editing to their workflow [when digital photography became more common], said Robert Caplin,
founder of The Photo Brigade.



If youre shooting for a client, whether its a national

brand or a local business, offer to Snapchat about it during the shoot as an added service. Whether you post
snaps on your own account or take over your clients,
there are lots of ways to add value through Snapchat.
But be prepared to explain who youre reaching and how
that can be of value to the client.

Tracking Your Efforts

The feedback loop on Snapchat is different than

most of the other social platforms out there. Users
can respond directly to your content via chat (using text, images or videos), and you can see who and
how many people viewed or took screenshots of your
snaps. But just like the snaps themselves, that information is gone in 24 hours, so if you care about
tracking resultswhich you will if youre snapping on
behalf of a clientyou have to capture it before its
gone with a screenshot.
Thats the only weird thing about this platform you
don't feel like you get a lot of feedback, says Noble.
That's also a good thing a sometimes. Knowing what
people want can get you to think too much about it and
then it's just like any other platform.

Wait, what about Instagram Stories?

Photo credit: Gareth Pon

Perhaps the biggest blow to Snapchats growth so far

has been the launch of Instagram Stories in August
2016. Instagram Stories is practically identical to
Snapchat Stories. Photographers who have amassed
big Instagram followings are finding it hard to now
justify putting similar energy into both platforms.

love about Snapchat, she said. They've done a sneaky

thing but it's worked for me. Now Im on Instagram a
lot more.

Before Instagram launched Stories, Noble says she had

grown bored with the perfect still images that filled
her Instagram feed, but the new feature has pulled her
back in. I'm looking at everyone's story and I'm seeing the personality more of the people, which is what I

Will Instagram Stories swipe out Snapchat? Some

think so; others dont. But while they battle it out, its
worth your while to check out Snapchat because it has
clearly revolutionized how young people communicate
and consume media.



14 Ways to
Win at Snapchat

hat are some major wins with snapchat?

We compiled a list of tips from the photographers we interviewed for this guide.

8. OFFER IT AS UPSELL: When bidding for a job, incorporate Snapchat into the plan. Its another level of
service I can offer my clients. Gareth Pon

1. INTRODUCE YOUR STORY: In the first snap of a story,

give us the place, who, what, where and why so people
can decide to continue to follow along and know
what theyre watching. Robert Caplin

9. GET PERMISSION: If youre snapping during a shoot,

make sure the client is OK with it. Zo Noble

2. DONT OVERTHINK IT: Run with what you think is

fun and be genuine. Zo Noble
3. BUT DO IT WITH INTENTION: If you dont have a loose

strategy or goal, your snaps can easily get lost in an

infinite pool of content. Gareth Pon

10. COMMIT TO IT: If you do it every day, a year later

youre going to be a much more compelling storyteller. Dave Krugman
11. TIME IT RIGHT: Snapchat lets you adjust the amount

of seconds a snap is displayed. Give your followers

enough time to see the snap and read it if you have
text. Kirsten Alana

4. MIX IT UP: String a variety of types of snaps together

to keep people engagedvideo, stills, overlayed text
and drawings. And keep the monologue selfie to a
minimum. Robert Caplin

12. FORGET PERFECTION: Snapchats image quality

isnt great but dont let that stop you. Were all on an
equal playing field there. Kirsten Alana

5. DONT OVERUSE THE FILTERS: Theyre never as

the party who is just talking about himself the whole

time. Dave Krugman

funny as you think they are. Zo Noble


your best snaps and stories and post them on other

platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and even your
website. Robert Caplin

13. CREATE VALUE FOR VIEWERS: Dont be the guy at

14. GET INVOLVED: Reply to comments and messages,

interact with other peoples content and be nice.
Kirsten Alana


username and/or Snapcode on your other channels so

people dont have to hunt to follow you.
Dave Krugman



Making Your
Personality Shine
Zo Noble

fter a career in web design, Zo Noble moved from London to Berlin

in 2011, bought a camera and set up a blog with her husband. She realized shed been in the wrong career, so she learned everything she could about
photography and has been shooting full time for over three years specializing
in fashion, beauty and still life, for clients such as Harper's Bazaar Arabia,
L'Oral Paris, Vichy, Sony and Etsy.
When did you start using Snapchat?
I started earlier this year. I didn't really take it too seriously in the very beginning. It took me a while to get the
hang of it. It's such a different platform. I actually had to
Google "How do I use Snapchat." That's how far away
from the kids I felt.
But once I got the hang of it, I realized how much
more fun it is than a lot of the other platforms. It's
more my personality, more fun and a bit more throwaway. You cannot take it too seriously, which is nice
when youre trying to build your brand and get followers; you can think too much about this stuff. Actually
Snapchat is better if you don't think about it. I like
that element. People can just see a little window into
my working life, which maybe they don't see in those
other platforms.

Why do you use it? Is it for social or career reasons?

I'd say it's a bit both. I definitely have a lot of friends on
there who I know personally. I started to notice that I
would get more strangers following me.
I don't look at it as a platform that I'm specifically targeting potential clients on at all. You have to use it
more as a way to show your personality. And if people
are following for the work stuff, that's great. They'll see
snippets of my work as well as just me. I think that's a
nice thing for people to see both sides.
Why is showing your personality a good thing in the
photography industry?
Because anyone with a camera can be a photographer,
you have to try and show people that you're different.



Maybe it's that you're a great person to work with on

set. That you're easygoing or you're fun. That's why I
think Snapchat is a good tool because you really do see
that I'm not a perfect person who takes amazing photos
and that's it. I want people to see my life. What do I
like doing.
A friend of mine was contacting an agency about her
work. They said, we just looked at your Instagram and
we just saw lots of photos that are in your portfolio and
we don't really get a sense of who you are. She didn't
get any further in that process because they couldn't see
the person behind the camera. I think that's the time we
live in now. You have to differentiate yourself in a whole
sea of other people. If you can do that by showing your
personality on these platforms, then do it.
What kinds of things do you post on Snapchat? Do you
have a strategy?
I'd say there's no real strategy. If I have my phone with
me and I remember to do a snap, I'll go for it and not
think too much about it. Every day is different. One day
I could have a shoot in the studio, and I'll be snapping
the whole processthe model getting ready, the makeup artist, lunch, the photos on my laptopso people
can really see how a shoot progresses throughout a day.
Other days I'll be out walking the dog with my little
travel camera just taking snaps around Berlin.
Another day I could be on location shooting at a client's space. If they're OK with me snapping, then I'll be
doing that as well. Obviously with clients, it's tougher
because generally they don't want anyone seeing any of
the photos. Clients are much more protective of their
images than I am. But if it's nothing that secretive, then
it's usually fine. It's always best to get permission before
you do that.

Photo credit: Zo Noble

Photo credit: Zo Noble




So really there is no real strategy. My snaps probably

look very random. One day I might be using filters and
the next I might not. The filters sometimes are funny but
they're never as funny as you think they are in your head.

Do you Snap daily?
It depends on what I've got going on. If it's a shoot day,
then I'll be snapping throughout the day. If it's a day off,
then it's just a couple snaps. I always find myself snapping at least once a day.
How much engagement do you get?
I have absolutely no idea, and maybe that tells you
something about how I use it. I don't pay attention to
followers on any of my platforms. It just becomes too
stressful. You start thinking too much about what you're
putting out there. When my husband and I set up a blog
about Berlin, it became very successful. It was partly because we did not care about what people thought about
anything, and we weren't counting followers. So I'm
trying to take that into my brand and just let it go. If
people like you and they like what you're putting out
there then they'll follow you.
How do you attract followers and let them know
you're on Snapchat?
I'll use other platforms to promote it. If Im doing a big
shoot, I'll post on Twitter and Facebook that people can
see behind the scenes on Snapchat. I also have my Snapchat handle on my Twitter profile.

Photo credit: Zo Noble

Photo credit: Zo Noble

Now that Instagram has their own vision of Snapchat,

I've removed my Snapchat handle there because Im




trying to decide how to use these two different platforms, which are very similar. I'll use Instagram more
for more curated stories. I have more followers on
there; it's more for potential brands and clients to see
so it would be more work-based. Whereas Snapchat is
more me, my life. I can be more throwaway and have
more fun with it.
What are your tips for photographers who want to try
Don't overthink it. Run with whatever you think is fun
and be genuine. Don't try to fake it. Be yourself and if
people like that they'll follow you. Be fun with it and
don't overuse the filters. Like I said, they're never as
funny as you think they are.
What other photographers do you like to follow?
There's a photographer called Felix Kunze. I really
like following him because he comes across rather serious in all the other platforms but on Snapchat he's
a bit of a kook. There's another photographer called
Jesse Martineau. He only shoots landscapes so even
though that has no real interest to me; his Snapchat is
fun because it's a different world than mine.
I have such a random mix whereas on other platforms
you might curate it a lot more. On Instagram, for instance, I would never want to see a feed of a landscape
photographer but on Snapchat, I have no problem seeing the life of a landscape photographer if they are a
funny, friendly, interesting person.

Photo credit: Zo Noble

Don't overthink it. Run with whatever you think is fun

and be genuine. Don't try to fake it. Be yourself and if
people like that they'll follow you.




Snapping the
Beauty & Mastering
Kirsten Alana

irsten Alana likes to describe herself as a digital media entrepreneur who

wears many hats, including photographer, video host, tour guide, consul-

tant, public speaker, content creator, influencer and blogger. She was a portrait
and wedding photographer before turning to travel full time in 2010. Alana has
been part of several of the most awarded social media campaigns in the travel
industry and is regularly featured as a top Instagram account to follow.
Alanas current and past clients include Travel+Leisure,
Four Seasons, Expedia, Explore Minnesota, Preferred
Hotels, Calypso St. Barths, Banana Republic, Visit
Britain, AFAR Magazine and Focus Camera. We
caught up with Alana to find out how she uses Snapchat to tell stories.
As a photographer, what's your goal using Snapchat?
Initially, I started using it simply because my job seems
to depend on my using every network that exists whether it makes sense for me or not. I think the goal morphed
into simply sharing a look into my life thats not as polished or as perfect as what I share on other platforms.

followers we have because Snapchat doesnt tell us.

While Ive read articles that suggest there are methods
of finding out, I find them hard to believe so I honestly
dont know.
How often do you share?
I share when I feel like it and not because I feel I need
to. Thats usually every day when I am traveling on assignment or when my life at home in New York City
involves my being out and about. If I am just working
from home, I dont share much because there isnt as
much to share!

How long have you been using Snapchat and how many
followers do you have?

Your snaps do a great job telling a story of your day or an

experience. When you put together a story, how do you
construct it? What do you include?

Ive had my current username, kirsten.alana, for around

a year and well, none of us know for sure how many

Thank you! I aim to share details that Id want to know

about the people I interact with. Personal details but




nothing thats too personal and certainly never anything inappropriate. I share occasional selfies but not
at the level others do. And I dont overthink it, in terms
of deciding what to share. If I feel like sharing, I will.

Can you describe an example or two that you think
worked especially well?
When I shared live from the Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico I had more private messages and screenshots than normal. I think the combination of being with two other women who were very
charismatic on camera, having a great setting to share
and fun activities to share from that location made for
a perfect storm of ideal Snapchat content.
What dos and don'ts do you have for telling stories on
Dont include too much text, which is a rule I break
myself sometimes. Do have fun and dont take yourself
too seriously. And do give your followers enough time
to both see the snap and read if it you have text. Theres
a fine line between having an individual slide up for
too long or too short a time!
What's the hardest part about telling stories on the
Balancing showing and telling. Sometimes I want to
narrate a lot or use too much text. But often it works
best just to show people with photos and videos what
you want to say. And I think giving up control of wanting it to look better than it does. Were all on an equal
playing field there. Snapchat just doesnt make anything look good without a lot of light!

Photo credit: Kirsten Alana

Photo credit: Kirsten Alana




How is what you do on Snapchat different from what

you do on other social channels?
Its far less polished! And its more about me and my personal likes or dislikes than any other channel is. I think
its added a sense of realness to my marketing overall.
How do you cultivate a following?
Its like any social network I think. I try to post things
people actually want to see. I reply to comments and
messages. I interact with other peoples content and
try to always be nice. Sharing your username and/or
the link to follow you helps, but people wont follow if
there isnt something worth seeing.
How has Instagram Stories changed your approach to
Ill use Instagram Stories more because my audience is
already there and using Stories in a volume that is probably 10x or more what I have on Snapchat. However, it
wont actually change the way I use Snapchat when I do
use it. They are different. Instagram lends itself well to
a slightly more polished and serious form of storytelling while Snapchat is still the fun place to play around
with selfie filters that Instagram just doesnt have. (And
which I actually hope they dont incorporate.)

Photo credit: Kirsten Alana




Working with
Brands on
Dave Krugman

summer camp darkroom photography class hooked Dave Krugman

on making images and telling stories as a kid. After earning psychol-

ogy degree and pursuing photography on the side, he moved to New York
and got a lucky break doing retouching for Annie Liebovitz. Today he builds
and fosters social communities and has worked with brands such as ATT,
Ducati, Sony, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Turkish Airlines, Honda,
Marriot, Free People, LG, as well as travel and tourism boards.
What do you like about Snapchat?
Once I built up my social media channels, it started to
become a tremendous amount of pressure and I'd worry a lot more about what was going to live on there. I
think what's great about Snapchat is that it's so fleeting. When I know that something isn't out there on the
record permanently I'm a little more free to experiment
and tell stories that I don't think need to be part of my
permanent body of work.
What kinds of things do you post on Snapchat?

I pull back the curtain a little and tell my followers on

Instagram, hey, if you're interested in what equipment I'm
using or who I'm hanging out with or where my favorite
restaurants are or what concerts I've seen, head over to my
Snapchat channel and you can see the behind the scenes
process about how I'm making all this stuff. I can be a

little comedic and a little less serious and a little more

prolific without feeling like I'm sharing too much.
How have you grown your followership on Snapchat?
In my bio in Instagram, it has my Snapchat handle. So I
get a persistent stream of people coming in. I'd say about
5 or 10 people a day. I'll save my Snapchat story and post
it on my Instagram channel and say, for the rest of the
story, go check out my Snapchat. I also have a pretty
strong presence on Tumblr. I have a deep network on
Facebook too. So occasionally I'll drop a link to Snapchat.
How have you been working with brands on Snapchat?
With brands, I add the Snapchat activation as a layer.
I say why don't we tell a deeper story here and show
that this brand is savvy and wants to pull people into
the conversation.



For example, with Ducati, we're going to do a three-day

shoot together, but for a little bit extra I can also share
it with an additional 2,000 people on Snapchat and let
them watch the shoot and show them the bikes. In the
same way I'm distributing the content on Instagram, I
can do this mini distribution on Snapchat that's a little bit more in-depth and a little bit more raw. I think
people really like to see that, and I think brands have
a tremendous opportunity to do their storytelling that
way as well.
How do you help a brand attract new followers?
No matter what social media platform I'm using, it's a
very similar thing that I do. I call it interwoven narratives. If I'm trying to move people from my channel to
their channel, I'll start a story on my channel and pick
it up on theirs and make it very clear. Ill say, Hey followers, I'm going to this concert. If you want to see my
perspective on it, add this account now. That's a good
way to convert.
How do you show results to clients?
None of the data is forward facing. It's all private, so I
will do reporting for them. I take a screenshot of how
many opens I got so I can prove to them that 2,000
people saw the content.
If you hired me to do a Snapchat job, I'd do the story,
save the whole story and deliver it to you packaged up
so you can watch it. Then I would take screenshots of
all the data I could see. I'd report opens and screenshots. If anyone replied, I'd screenshot that to show a
little bit of sentiment.

Photo credit: Dave Krugman

What are your dos and don'ts for representing a brand

on Snapchat?
Imagine social media as a big party, and there are all
these people in the room and everyone is having a good
time, but there are also brands in the room, too. For
brands I would say dont be the guy at the party who is
just talking about himself the whole time. My generation doesn't like to be advertised to like that. Allow the
conversation to happen and only inject yourself when
it's natural and appropriate.

As a brand, just by your very nature you have to realize

that people are already looking at you a little sideways.
Respect the space; don't invade it. Just try to be as natural a part of the conversation as you can be.
What are some challenges when working with brands
on Snapchat?
The bigger the corporation or client, the more approval processes, the more liability there is because of




As a brand, just by your very nature you have to realize

that people are already looking at you a little sideways.
Respect the space; don't invade it.

the nature of Snapchat. It's going out pretty much live.

When I'm doing a Snapchat takeover, I've had a client on site and before I even post they're looking at
it on my phone. That's a little disruptive, and it's also
frightening to the brand to give up that process that
they've been building up over decades about approvals
and due diligence. So that's a problem, but they're going to have to evolve.
Has the new Instagram Stories changed how youre
using Snapchat?
I haven't landed on what Im going to do and neither
have a lot of my friends. When I post to my Instagram
story, I'm getting tenfold engagement as I was on Snapchat for the same content. I'm seeing a lot of people still
using Snapchat but also using Instagram stories. But
for people who have huge Snapchat following and not
much on Instagram it's probably the opposite.
Another big blow is that Instagram does have reporting.
Anybody above 50,000 followers now has access to the
analytics. I can see broken down, male or female, what
part of the country they're coming from, whos looking at
my stuff. I can get a good overview of who I'm reaching.
If someone's like, I'd really like people in New York to
see this content, I'm a good guy for that because I have a
huge following in New York, and I can show them that.

Photo credit: Dave Krugman




From Snapchat
to Instagram
Gareth Pon

riginally from South Africa, Gareth Pon is a filmmaker and travel, portraiture and lifestyle photographer. He recently moved to Chicago to take

a job as senior content creator for Havas Worldwide, an advertising and marketing
agency. Pon has been a Snapchat user since it came out in 2011, using it for both
personal and professional reasons. Hes recently moved most of his Snapchat activity to Instagram Stories. We caught up with him to find out why.
How were you using Snapchat before Instagram Stories
came along?
I was originally using it as an extension of my Instagram account. It was a casual yet fun way to showcase
more of the behind-the-scenes content outside of what
I posted on Instagram. When traveling, I would document little things I would see during the day, sort of like
a visual journal. I also used it to communicate directly
with people.

Photo credit: Chris Ozer

I would also offer Snapchat as an extension of a campaign

or another service I offer. If I would get approached by a
hotel brand, I would offer to run around the hotel and
Snapchat things at the hotel. Or if I had an experience,
I'd use that in a way to build up toward the picture that
I'd be posting on Instagram from that experience. For instance, I did Snapchat takeover for Moment lenses while
I was exploring an abandoned theme park.
I would encourage a lot of clients to be on Snapchat
because it's as very unique way you can show the cul-

ture of the brand and it's not as high pressure as Instagram. On Instagram you have to always make sure
you're putting up really good shots. On Snapchat, you
can be pretty chill about it. It's just a good extension of
what is really happening, just giving more substance to
your presence online.
Why have you made the switch to Instagram Stories?
The main perk for me is that it's all on one platform
now. All my followers on Snapchat were from Instagram anyway so I really have stopped using Snapchat
mainly because I don't like posting double the content.
I'm getting a lot more views compared to what I was
getting on Snapchat.
The other side of that is that your story on Instagram is
competing with a lot more people. I'm following about
600 people so I have way too many Stories to watch.




Has your sharing strategy changed now that youve moved to Instagram Stories?
It hasnt changed much compared to how I used Snapchat. I share anything and everything that I find interesting. Its not strictly related to photography. My goal is to have
fun and enjoy sharing a bit more into my life.
How have both channels stories feature enhanced your business?
As Instagram Stories and Snapchat are growing there's a huge potential to get more
customers from that space. With Instagram Stories you have an additional level of
consumption for yourself and clients. If you're getting a few thousand views, you can
already say to your clients, here's an additional cost because I'm going to be doing
Instagram Stories. In regards to Snapchat, I've seen a lot of guys save their Snapchat
stories and allow their clients to publish it on a blog or do a post about it. Because it's
a video, it does add another element.
Would you recommend that photographers use Instagram Stories instead of Snapchat?
Why or why not?
It all really depends where your audience is. Who do you want to talk to and what kind
of content do you need to put out in order for them to hear you? The reality is that its
a lot harder to build multiple social media platforms at the same time. You should be
intentional about why youre on a platform, and when youre on that platform you have
to strategize about the kinds of content youre putting out.
What kind of content do you think works in this format?
You want to give viewers a memory that they can consume and remember later in the
week or maybe a month later. For example, a friend of mine one day decided to do an
Instagram Story of everything he saw that was yellow. That stuck in my mind. Out of
all the ones I watched that day, his was the most entertaining and interesting.

Photo credit: Gareth Pon



It's a time game, we'll see what each

of these companies do going forward.
At the end of the day for me it's about


Photo credit: Gareth Pon

Are you using Snapchat at all anymore?

If I do have something really unique that I want to Snapchat directly to someone, then
I'll use it. It's become more of a direct message system for me, and Instagram Stories
has become more of a way to showcase what I was doing on Snapchat.
Do you miss anything about Snapchat?
Yes, there are little things I'm missing, like the silly little filters. They are very fun to use.
I've seen a lot of people doing a snap, using a filter and saving it and not even putting
it on Snapchat but directly uploading it to Instagram. If Instagram adds filters in a very
unique way, there could be a bigger drop of people leaving Snapchat.
Instagram also needs to activate the ability to save an entire days story as a complete video.
It's a time game, we'll see what each of these companies do going forward. At the end
of the day for me it's about convenience. A lot of people have the same outlook on it.
They don't want things in multiple locations, they just want do everything in one app.



Snapping Behindthe-Scenes:
Robert Caplin,
The Photo Brigade

obert Caplin is the founder of The Photo Brigade, a worldwide community of professional photographers. It started as a Facebook group
in 2011 and now produces a blog, podcast and live events. The Photo Brigades
goal is to use social media to promote the photography industry. It's a microphone for everybody in the industry to promote whatever it is they're doing, and to feature the best photography projects out there, says Caplin. The
Photo Brigade recently started experimenting with Snapchat and Instagram
Stories. We asked Caplin to explain the project.
How did you start using Snapchat for The Photo Brigade?

When Snapchat came along, I didn't know quite what

to do with it, so I started talking with some of my friends
who are really good at it. The idea was to hand out the
keys and let other photographers around the world take
over and show what their life is like doing what they
do. As a photographer, every other day you're doing a
different thing, meeting different people, and you're in
positions that most regular people don't quite grasp, or
even other photographers.
We're using it as one of the many social platforms to
help spread the gospel of great photography and different photographers around the world. I'm taking what I
like and see from different feeds and merging them into
what would make the most sense for what we are and
what we do. I think about it as correspondence from

different events, but concentrating on what it is to be a

photographer in those situations.
Who are some of the takeovers youve done so far?
We sent it to a different photographer, editor or industry person every day at the political conventions. We
had the Washington Post photographer, the New York
Times photographer, the McClatchy Tribune photographer, all these different newspapers all over the world
just taking over.
We've passed it out to photographers at professional or
college football games. We've given it to NASA's photographer who took us to Kazakhstan to photograph
the landing of the Sawyer capsule from the International Space Station with astronauts inside of it.




At the Olympics, I asked a photographer to go to Cannon Camera's facility where they

had a $10 million gear cage of hundreds of bodies and lenses, more than has ever been
onsite for anything before. That became one of the most popular things we've done.
What kinds of guidelines do you give the photographers?
I told the people at the conventions, make sure to show the nuances. Things that maybe
you take for granted. What do you eat on the road? What's it like to get security
checked? What's it like to be waiting for all of those hours? How do you transmit your
photos? Show us behind-the-scenes. Show your friends. Show your gear.
I also tell them to let people know who they are up front and plug their username, so
that we know who you are and why you're taking over and where you're at. Give us the
place, who, what, where, and why so people can decide to continue to follow along and
at least know what they're watching, rather than it being so random.
How has Instagram Stories affected your approach?

What interests me is seeing someone's

life and seeing the things that are unique
and interesting, not just seeing their face
and hearing them talk about themselves.
professionally and then going through a whole post-editing process and then a video.
This is totally different.
As with any social media platform, it's a way to engage with your community. You can
be clever with it. My friend Eric Thayer, who I've had take over, he's a great photographer, but he doesn't like doing video, so he's always just taking pictures. He uses it in
a very different way.

Once Instagram Stories came out, we started using it instead because we have a
bigger presence there and everybody has it and knows how to use it. I have a lot of
photographer friends who think that Snapchat is still just the thing you use to sext
photos to each other.

Some people use it to do selfies and videos, and actually be a broadcaster and talk about
what they're doing and some people don't. There are different ways to use it to get your
personality or point across. It's just a matter of figuring out a new way to use it. All of
my friends and colleagues use it differently.

Obviously, they just copied Snapchat. Creating the stories is very similar. You're going
to think about it the same way, probably, on Snapchat versus Instagram.

Do you have any other dos and don'ts for photographers about how to use Snapchat?

With Snapchat and Instagram Stories, we download them and post them on Facebook
so that people can watch them again. Its content. It's not the best content because it's
vertical, but it's still content that ends up being able to be posted after-the-fact, assuming you download it in time.

I think that the most important thing is make sure your first photo or video of the day
is engaging if you want people to follow along in your story, and you just need to stay
engaging. I'd say keep the monologue selfie videos to a minimum. In general, I think,
those type of things come across as a bit self-indulgent.

What are some of tips you would have for photographers who want to do more with
Snapchat or Instagram Stories?

Try to not make it all about you. Show something really cool and unique and different.
What interests me is seeing someone's life and seeing the things that are unique and
interesting, not just seeing their face and hearing them talk about themselves.

A lot of people, especially people who are new to Snapchat, don't quite realize how easy
it is to put together a story of 5-, 10-second clips. They are used to shooting something

It's all a fluid process of just trying new things with the new social media that's available as it comes out, and see what sticks.





ith Snapchats rising revenues, expanding

demographics and new Instagram imitator,
its time for photographers to pay attention
to Snapchat, no matter their age. If youre not a Millennial, grab your nephew (or this guide!) and ask him
to give you a tour. Once you get the hang of it, youll
likely find endless uses for Snapchat in your work life.
Even better, youll be in a good position to offer another service to your clients. Happy snapping!




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