Using Photography In Social Media

Most photographers price their work based on the various usage for each image. That’s standard business practice throughout the industry, but education is very different. When shooting for an institution it’s important for an image creator to understand the demands placed upon the people in charge of media. For instance, let’s take a look at the various media platforms institutions have for communicating their core message.


Digital: Here we have a growing number of outlets, all with their own unique sets of pros and cons. There is the main website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, a blog and email to consider.


Print: This encompasses all of our traditional marketing materials. The specific list is almost too long to list here and is different for every institution, but generally you can expect images to be needed for admissions, development, communications, the magazine and internal use.


How then do you manage media for all these outlets? For a start, paying for unlimited usage rights up front is a good practice. Most education photographers already know this and build the cost into their estimates, but it’s important to be sure you understand the usage rights and limitations whenever working with someone new.


Most image creators understand that your time is limited and requesting additional usage rights in the future is not realistic. With an increasingly busy schedule it can be difficult to manage who’s images you are using and where exactly you are using them. This is why having unlimited rights to begin with can save you a considerable amount of time later.


Furthermore, how do you decide what media goes where? This is a tough question and the answer will undoubtably be different for every institution. From my perspective as a photographer, you should have a clear vision of your brand identity before planning your media content.


How will you use each media platform? What will you be talking about on Facebook? What will you talk about on Twitter and how will you use sites like Pinterest?


The answers to these questions will be the direct drivers of how you create media content. A photographer may create a brilliant image that works well in admissions material, but it might not be as effective on Facebook and vice versa. You need to think about how you communicate. You need to answer questions before producing new media. By planning and understanding the various ways in which you communicate and engage with your audience, you can create more efficient and effective photo shoots. Efficiency and effectiveness are key to getting a high ROI.


When planning your media content for the year, how do you plan to use photography differently throughout the various media platforms discussed above? Do you like to take a broad sweeping approach and expect to use the same imagery throughout all the various platforms, or do you prefer to produce content for each specific media use?


Let’s get a conversation going about all the various forms of social media and see if we can come up with some new ideas for producing and using content.

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a professional photographer living in beautiful Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Ryan works with an array of clients across the country including schools, corporations, design firms, ad agencies and editorial publications. He is represented by Wonderful Machine in Philadelphia and also owns the fine art printing company, GlowArtworks. When not creating images he can be found rock climbing, snowboarding, playing music and spending time with his wife Larissa and their son Boone. Check out his work at and drop him a line via Twitter @ryansmithphotog.