Find Your Audience via Instagram


Saturday, M. (2013, May 2)

As a photographer, likely one of your goals is to gain an audience for your work. The Internet allows you the opportunity to do that on worldwide scale. The challenge is finding the best way to find that audience. For a long time sites like Flickr, Smugmug and 500px were popular with photographers but now they are looking to Instagram.

It’s easy to see why photographer’s are making the move to Instagram. Instagram is rated the world’s 14th most popular site according to Alexa.


Alexa (2018, June 24)

Here are some things to consider as to whether or not Instagram is a good option for your photographs.

Pros for using Instagram

  • Only social media application that is specifically designed for photos.
  • Instant feedback on your photo!
  • Great place to get inspired and to inspire.
  • Can target your audience through hashtags.
  • More likely to get your photographs discovered / noticed than on sites such Flickr or 500px.
  • Don’t need a large number of followers to have an impact.
  • Fastest growing social media platform.
  • Doesn’t limit the reach of your photo unlike Facebook which will only let 400 people see your post.
  • Don’t need a smart phone or iPad to post photographs, although it makes it easier.
  • Potential of getting clients depending on how you want to use it.

Cons for using Instagram

  • People can “steal” your photographs.
  • Privacy setting is set at the account level and not per photo.
  • You cannot arrange or group photos together. They display in the order that they are posted.
  • You need to post consistently to gain / maintain followers.

Is Instagram the right platform for your photography?

social-facebook-box-blue-icon Is Instagram right for you?

Twitter_icon Find an audience for your photographs via Instagram.


Saturday, M. (2013, May 2) Instagram Logo Retrieved from:

Alexa (2018, June 24) How popular is Retrieved from:

In Search of the Boneyard

I saw some stunning photos of a location called the “boneyard”.


All I had to go on was that it was located on the coast in South Carolina. It took some Googling but eventually I found the location – Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area which is located on Edisto Island in South Carolina.

Here is what you need to know, if you want to visit this location.


7510 Botany Bay Rd
Edisto Island, SC 29438


32.539498, -80.260708

Google Map

Copyright Google Maps


  • There are no signs that will direct you to the planation so using a GPS is helpful because the street signs are small and hard to see in the dark.
  • SC Highway 174 is a single lane winding road that you will be driving in the dark so drive carefully.
  • There are speed bumps on the planation roads which you might not see in the dark.
  • To get to the beach, you need to make a right at the second road where you will see a small sign.


There are no hotels on the island however there are house rentals available but unless you want to rent for a week, this isn’t a feasible option. Edisto Beach state park is close and has campsites as well as 7 cabins otherwise expect to stay in either Charleston or Beaufort which are both an hour away.


The planation is open from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. There is an automated gate so even if you arrive early you will need to wait.

Note: The planation is closed on Tuesday’s for hunting.


There is no cost to access the planation but you need to obtain a day use pass which can be found at the kiosk that is located near the main gate. If you get to the gate early you can walk in and obtain the pass while you wait.

Getting to the Beach:

There is a ½ mile causeway that you need to cross before you reach the beach.

Prior to Hurricane Matthew the most interesting trees were located to the left of the beach access path. I haven’t been back since the hurricane so this might have changed.


  • Given the damage from the hurricane, you might want to scout the beach prior to trying to shoot a sunrise.
  • Given the amount of time it will take to get from the gate, across the causeway and to the beach you will want to ensure that you have all your gear ready to go.
  • Beware of the tide schedule so that you are not attempting to photograph during high tide as there will be no access to the beach.
  • There are no bathrooms or washrooms available in the planation, the closet are located in the town.
  • This is a natural beach which means that by law you are not allowed to remove shells.

More Information:

Sunrise at Botany Bay in South Carolina. from Holly Lumley on Vimeo.

Twitter_icon In search of the boneyard. #DiscoverSC #EdistoIsland

social-facebook-box-blue-iconFinding the boneyard on Edisto Island.


Google Maps (n.d.) Retrieved 14 June, 2018 from,+Edisto+Island,+SC+29438,+USA/@32.5519299,-80.2434002,2810m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x88fc2fad5edef157:0xcd75d8a68a5a25f4!2m2!1d-80.2329335!2d32.5528632


Location, Location, Location!

As a photographer, I’m always trying to find interesting locations to go and shoot. Social media can be a great tool for finding locations that you aren’t aware of either in your own backyard or in another country.

Here are some of the ways that I use social media to find those areas.


If I’m looking for locations in Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Park twitter accounts for specific parks are good at not only sharing photos but also providing specific locations. In the example below, if I was interested in shooting wildflowers, Algonquin Park has not only given me a sample of what I’ll see but also directed me to the trail to take. (@Algonquin_PP, 2018)

Algoquin Provincial Park

The Provincial Parks are also good at re-tweeting people who tagged them in their posts which provides you with further ideas. Unfortunately, not all the Ontario Provincial Park accounts are as active and as detailed as Algonquin. You can try this approach to other Provinces if you are traveling outside of Ontario.

Another approach to try is searching for hashtags using the park name or location. For instance, searching #lakelouise helps me discover Lake Moraine which is close to Lake Louise. (@FairmontCLL, 2018) As an added bonus I’ve got a link that provides me with other areas of interest around this location.

Chateau Lake Louise


I follow a similar approach to Twitter for Instagram in using hashtags to find locations. For instance, if I’m traveling to Utah and I plan on going to Zion National park I would look for hashtags such as; #zion, #zionnps or #zionnationalpark. From within the photos that appear I might find additional hashtags I want to investigate like; #TheSubway. The result a location that I might not have been aware of otherwise to get the photo below.


I was going to Alberta and developed a list of shots that I wanted to try and take. One of these items was wooden grain elevators. A search on Google had me stumble across a travel blog that not only gave me some locations but also helped me find a ghost town in Rowley. (Off the Beaten Path – with Chris & Connie, 2013) The photos on the blog were enough to give me an idea of what I would see and a new destination was added to my trip.

There are just a few of the ways that I use to find different locations to shoot. How do you use social media to find locations to photograph?

social-facebook-box-blue-icon Location, Location, Location! Tips for using social media to discover locations to photograph.

Twitter_icon Location, Location, Location! Tips for using social media to discover locations to photograph.


@Algoquin_PP [Algoquin Provincial Park] (2018, May 19) Some of the best wildflower viewing in the park right now is on Hemlock Bluff Trail. One of our Park Naturalists discovered “blankets of Dutchman’s Breeches” along with plenty of Trout Lilies & Red Trilliums. [Tweet] Retrieved from

@FairmountCLL [Chateau Lake Louise] This has got to be one of the best night shots of Moraine Lake we have ever seen 😍 Our sister lake is a must-see in #lakelouise! Pic: @deljayphotography via IG #banffnationalpark [Tweet] Retrieved from

Doering, C and Biggart, C ( 2013, September) Rowley Albert ghost town [Blog Post] Retrieved from

Would You Steal THIS Photo?

Look at the photo below and tell me would you steal it?


Chances are pretty strong you wouldn’t because let’s face it there are nicer photos out there. Yet, I had this photo stolen and used without my permission, acknowledgement or payment.  I know a lot of amateur photographers who refuse to post on the Internet for fear of getting their photos stolen. This is the dilemma for photographers – to post on the Internet or not. The Internet and social media, such as Instagram, are great ways of getting your work noticed but also a great way of getting your work taken.

You might be wondering at this point, why would someone want that photo? It shows the moment that the Boston Blades won their first game in over a year during a Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) game against the Brampton Thunder.

I had taken the photo and posted it via Twitter tagging the Boston Blades as well as posting it on my Flickr site. The shot got a good reaction from the Boston players because of their excitement of winning. The photo was actually re-tweeted by one of the players who grabbed a couple of more from my Flickr site to make a collage but in the process removed the copyright. While I wasn’t happy about that at least they tagged me.

I found out that the photo had been taken when I saw a tweet promoting an article about the game using the shot. A quick click on the link and my photo was the header for the article. Conveniently it was cropped in such a way that my copyright was removed. Amusingly the article itself was copyrighted! As a content creator, you would think they would know better.

As a photographer, I tried to do the rights things to prevent this from happening. I made sure that I;

  • watermarked the photograph with my copyright,
  • posted a small low quality version of the original image,
  • embedded my contact and copyright information within the photograph.

Unfortunately, I’m not the first nor will I be the last photographer who gets their work taken. A lot of professional photographers engage a service to search the web for photos used without permission and seek compensation.

Ironically, other photographers are some of the worse offenders stealing others work to promote as their own. Stop Stealing Photos is good site to see how wide spread the problem is.

This site  provides some suggestions on how to discover if you work has been taken and how to get it removed.

Let me know in the comments if you would promote your photos using social media.

BTW, in the end I got the photo removed from the site.