Cyrissa Carlson | Photography Marketing on Instagram

Cyrissa Carlson has become one of the most in-demand photographers in her area in a short time since starting her business.  How has she done it?  Her photography marketing strategy has a lot of components but one of the things that really stood out to us is her belief that people are looking for more than just a pretty picture and that the clients who stay with you for the long haul want to feel pampered and like you know them.  You remember their kids’ names.  You’re a part of their wedding day story.

There are many ways to make your clients feel this way.  Many of us go above and beyond with customer service, or send handwritten thank you notes and gifts.  Social media is also a tool that can be used to build relationships and many of us aren’t using it as effectively as we could.

“The beautiful thing about social media is you can let your personality come across and you can bond with clients in a way you couldn’t just a couple of years ago… If you can meet them where they are and enter into their world instead of always making them come to yours, it makes you so much more approachable, so much more human, more than just a business.”

Where are many of our clients these days?  Instagram.


Why is Instagram Important for Photographers?

It’s estimated that for every three minutes people spend on their mobile device, one minute of that time is spent perusing Instagram.  If that fact isn’t compelling enough on its own, there’s also the fact that Instagram allows us to see everything that our clients are posting.  You can get a glimpse into prospective clients’ lives and in return, they see everything that we share too.

Using Hashtags in Marketing

Hashtags are an incredibly powerful marketing strategy to curate content and get your message in front of people who might not otherwise see it.  It’s very important to develop a strong hashtag for your photography brand and have a hashtag strategy. Cyrissa uses #immerseweddings for all of her wedding posts.  When she gets a wedding inquiry she tells the couple to look at that hashtag so that they can easily see a broad portfolio of her work.  This has been a valuable tool for her and best of all, it requires little to no work on her part.

“Instagram allows me to curate content in a way that I can’t on Facebook.”

Cyrissa also uses hashtags and geotags to “move up the food chain”.  Since the photographer is usually not the first vendor that a bride books, Cyrissa uses the hashtags for the first businesses a bride will look for, like venues. In this way, she’s able to get her work in front of potential clients.

“There’s tremendous value to engaging with people who will get booked ahead of me.”

Involve Your Photography Clients

Many of us have experienced the frustration of having clients post screen shots of images that we’ve shared on our blogs, Facebook and Instagram accounts.  While it’s nice to know that they are excited about the images, the photographer is often not given credit and images are frequently cropped so that the photographer’s watermark is gone.

Realizing that there’s a real benefit to having her clients share her images, Cyrissa is proactive and educates her photography clients early on so that they share images the way that she wants them to be shared.  When a sneak peek goes up on Facebook, the client also gets an email asking them to tag themselves in the image.  She follows up with a text that says, “Your picture is getting tons of feedback on MY page, why don’t you share it on YOUR page too!”.

For high school seniors the approach is a little bit different.  Knowing that they probably won’t read her email, she takes time during their session to talk about the images that she will post on Instagram and tells them to take a screen shot and regram it.


Using Custom Mobile Apps

When Cyrissa started using StickyAlbums to create custom mobile apps she made them for all of her past clients and had a contest to encourage sharing.  Within a week, one of the StickyAlbums was opened on 67 different devices!  She’s also figured out a way to get her clients to share their StickyAlbums on Instagram! You can’t include a hyper-link in an Instagram post but you can include one in your bio.  She makes the process super easy by sharing a blog post with video with her clients that walks them though the process.

“When you take the time to hold clients hands it adds to the experience.”

Cyrissa also uses StickyAlbums to partner with local businesses.  She recently made a StickyAlbum for a wedding venue that she wanted to work with more.  The wedding venue was thrilled and the app has been viewed 861 times, is on 360 devices and has brought her several brides.

To hear more about how Cyrissa uses Instagram and email marketing as well as how she books an entire season in 36 hours listen to or watch the podcast.

Audio only version here:


About Cyrissa

Cyrissa Carlson has a Masters in Art Education and owns Immerse Photography. She is known for her social media savvy and, drawing from her ten years of classroom experience, her ability to take a intensive topic and make it accessible to everyone.

She has been a featured guest on the CreativeLive stage in San Francisco, a guest blogger for Senior Style Guide, and has published work in the Journal for the Ohio Association for Gifted Children. Her photographs have been featured in national publications and her photos are currently on numerous local websites and print campaigns.

When she’s not hanging out with her precious family or teaching, she may be found photographing families, dancers, seniors, weddings, or traveling nationally for branding photoshoots.

She also has a weakness for chips and salsa. And ice cream.  There’s always room for more ice cream.

For more information about Cyrissa’s online courses, click HERE.

Follow Cyrissa on Instagram!  Immerse Photography and Sparkle Society.

Follow Cyrissa on Facebook!



Sarah Responsible for weekly blog posts; pro photog; thrives on organized chaos; loves beer, Booty Barre, and nights in with friends.