What's Selling- Insight On Getting Your Photos Sold

We often get asked: "What kind of photos are selling on Snapwire?" While we have various blog posts written on the subject, it is always helpful to take a look at specific photos to understand what buyers are choosing. To check out what has been recently purchased you can take a look at the recently purchased page to see what buyers are looking for and to get future inspiration! 

Congratulations to photographers:  Sebastian Luna B,  Shawn Dechant, and Hance Taplin for their recently purchased photos. Here are their captivating shots: 

Music Festivals

 

Sebastian's photo won the "Music Festival" challenge because of its dramatic composition and dreamy lighting. As the focal point of the picture, the young woman standing in front of the golden setting sun seems to radiate with energy.  The blurred crowds in the background serve as a stark contrast to the individuality of the woman.  The photo makes the viewer feel an emotional connection with the woman's music festival experience. 

St. Patrick's Day

The "St. Patrick's Day" challenge garnered a wide variety of photos of babies, adults, and pets celebrating Irish heritage.  From the submissions, Shawn's  photo was chosen for its timelessness, simple composition, and identifiable content. The precious boy in the photo exudes the holiday spirit without being over the top. 

Latte Art

The "Latte Art" challenge sought photos of inventive latte art designs including the barista, the foam, the details, and the ingredients. With authenticity in mind, Hance's winning photo is latte art portraying a basketball player making a slam dunk.  Against a white background with blurred sneakers, the composition is clean and crisp. 


A giant takeaway from this post, is that photo buyers are looking for authentic visuals with human elements. Each image has its own unique story to tell. Buyers are seeking out photos like these because they evoke feelings such as celebration, individuality, adventure, and success. 

Now let's get back to shooting! Submit your best shots of seniors enjoying life to our new challenge:  Senior/ Mature lifestyle !

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat: What Should You Choose?

Deciding what to post on Snapchat versus Instagram used to be a no brainer. However, all of that changed when Instagram cloned Snapchat's story feature last year. Now the largest photo-heavy social platforms represent two very different worlds and experiences. As a marketer or business owner looking to spearhead engagement and intrigue new users, it is crucial to understand when and how to effectively use stories on both networks. 

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Snapchat Stories, launched in 2013, allows users to share a fleeting story of what they are doing with their day to their friends. Last August, Instagram released a similar featured dubbed "Instagram Stories," to complement their photo-based sharing platform. Now when you open up the app, a row of stories are located above the image feed. The feature is pretty much the same as Snapchat with images featuring witty captions, squiggly's, giant emojis, and the ability to message the user. 

Snapchat is the best platform to use if your targeted audience is a younger demographic. Since 60 percent of its users are under the age of 25 years old, the app is a crucial tool to engage with millennials. Snapchat is also attractive to brands with strong personalities since its younger user base is drawn to content that is out there, unique, and memorable. The young cohort follows brands that portray a human face through behind the scenes office footage and playful content.

What keeps Snapchat unique is it Live Stories features that allows users to contribute Snaps to events in particular locations. Any Snapchat user in that location will be able to view a feed of imagery and videos from that event. Other distinct features include the feature to Snap any photo on your camera roll, ridiculously fun filters and geofilters, and the ability to fast forward, reverse, or slow down Snaps. 

On the other hand, Instagram targets a slightly older demographic with 59% of users being between the ages of 18-29 and 33% being between 30-49. Instagram stories feature content that is more stylized and polished than the casual imagery found on Snapchat. With more mature users, Instagram stories are best used to market specific products in a professional and visually pleasing way. Furthermore, Instagram stories feature a easy to use UI with the option to tag other users in their stories, incorporate hashtags, and better drawing capabilities. 

More than just audience and design, Instagram has over 50 million more users than Snapchat. When they launched stories last year they were able to beat out Snapchat in a matter of weeks due to their extensive user base and available social data from Facebook. According to Ad Age, Nike was able to garner over 800,000 views on an Instagram story, while only receiving 66,000 for the same story on Snapchat. It makes sense that Instagram quickly took over Snapchat.  Influencers, marketers, and business owners have found it easier to stick to a platform where their network is already established.

That being said, neither platform is better than another. While the total reach- the total audience that viewed a photo or video- is better on Instagram, Snapchat has extremely high retention rates -how long users spent watching a photo or video. As a marketer or business owner you will see benefits from using both platforms if you ensure that your content is relevant to the specific platform. If you're selling shoes use an Instagram Story to show off your inventory and use Snapchat to reveal your staff members having a dance off during a shift. By catering your content to the mentality of each platform you will get better results!

Photo by: Mariana Schulze

Photo by: Mariana Schulze

Object Series: Succulents

On tables, bookshelves, shop windows, and trendy lays on Instagram, succulents are everywhere. These cute water storage plants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and require very little care in terms of watering and pruning. While twenty years ago they were only desired by drought-stricken gardeners, they are now hot commidities. 

Photo by: Michael Campa

Photo by: Michael Campa

Succulents are having their moment. The Instagram: "succulove" has over 167,000 succulent obsessed followers, Etsy has an overwhelming selection of succulents varieties, and Urban Outfitters sells stylish hanging planters and terrariums that you can place your succulents in. They are even becoming popular in weddings, with Brides Magazine posting an article on how to incorporate succulents into wedding decor. So what exactly is it about succulents? What makes so many people become obsessed with decorating their house with these tiny plants?

Photo by: Audrey Rotermund 

Photo by: Audrey Rotermund 

Plants have always been objects of fads throughout history, so succulent mania is nothing surprising. The most extreme obsession over plants happened in Holland in the 17th century when people became so enamored with tulips that they were sold as stocks. When the tulip bubble burst many people were left bankrupt.  Then, in Victorian England there was Pteridomania which was the obsession of owning ferns. Upper-class owners of estates were so fearful of fern robbers that they employed guards to make sure that they remained firmly in the ground. Luckily our love of succulents has not reached such levels, although there are some ways that they're being used that are pretty wacky

Photo by: Luis Velazquez

Yes, the succulent craze can be explained by the bandwagon effect which fuels any major trend, but there could be other reasons that succulents have gained such a mass following. First, it has been proven that the presence of plants increases productivity, creativity, and promotes happiness. Houseplants such as succulents can remind urban dwellers Next, many succulents follow the fibonacci sequence which are similar to fractals, never-ending patterns consisting of the repetition of a similar shape. A study by Richard Taylor concludes that  people's brains change to the alpha state ( one of meditation and conscious awareness) when they view fractals patterns.

Lastly, succulents are a representation of how lazy we can be as humans, since they are the closest living thing we can own before succumbing to plastic. Someone really has to try to kill a succulent. Therefore with minimal effort,  succulent owners can feel like they are somehow connected to nature when they are surrounded by their plants. 

As with all trends, pictures of succulents sell well on Snapwire. Whether it is an image of a succulent garden or a succulent next to a coffee mug on a wooden table, you can't go wrong with including them in your photos. Check out what we have in our library here if you need inspiration. Happy shooting :)

Pick of the Litter: XI

If you would like help finding a specific image you have seen above do not hesitate to contact us or the photographer. 

What Is Shadow Banning On Instagram And Is Your Account Being Affected?

If you are an avid user of Instagram - whether as a photographer, marketer, or art director- you have probably noticed a few months ago that your overall engagement and reach has dropped with little explanation. This affliction has been coined "shadow banning" by the online community at large as it seems to be affecting thousands of Instagram business accounts. This blog post is to help you understand what exactly shadow banning  is, how to know if you are a victim, and a plan of action to regain your account! 

Shadow banning is when Instagram reduces or removes the visibility of your account by making your hashtags unable to be seen by users who aren't following you. While you can continue to use your hashtags, their purpose is deeply undermined because new users cannot tap into your brand's message when they search for your used hashtags. Since you think that everything is okay on your end you continue posting but are only met with a decrease in likes, comments, and stagnation in new followers. 

Instagram has responded over the confusion and anger over hashtag search issues saying that they are working on improving the system and that businesses should "recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags."

So how can you know if Instagram has shadow banned your account? The easiest way to find out is to ask a few  friends (who are not following your Instagram page) to see if your posts are appearing on your intended hashtag pages. Try out a few hashtags and if your images do not show up it is safe to assume that you have been shadow banned. You can also check out this link to test out your account. 

If you have determined that your account has been shadow banned don't freak out! There are different ways you can fix this and get your account back to normal. It seems that the reason most accounts are shadow banned are because they are violating Instagram's Terms of Services and are abusing the purpose of the app. If you are shadow banned or scared you might be in the future, follow these steps to make sure your account is safe:


1. Stop using bots, automated growth tools, and buying followers

Instagram can tell when you leave automated comments on profiles of potential users and follow and unfollow many users in one day. While these methods increase followers they keep engagement painfully low. Even if you haven't been punished for using these methods you're hurting the reputation of your brand. 100 dedicated followers is always better than 10,000 users who don't care about your content. 

2. Change up your hashtags up

We all get into the habit of using the same old tried and trusted hashtags for our brand. Get into habit of refreshing your hashtag lists often. There is a list here of hashtags that Instagram has banned due to spanners. Make sure that you aren't using any of the ones on the list. 

3. Avoid all growth hacks

Now is not the time to be breaking Instagram's Terms of Service as it appears that Instagram is in crackdown mode. Some users adding 30 hashtags to a comment and then 30 hashtags to their caption so that they can have 60 hashtags on one post. This isn't super effective but it is a loophole that many users are getting around to up Instagram's hashtag limit. However, if you simply follow Instagram's rules you do not need to worry about the possibility of being shadow banned. 

4.  Take a break for a few days

If you've decided to ditch automated bots,  delete broken hashtags, and forget about growth hacks, you will need to take a break for at least two days in order for your account to reset. Once you reset you will need to manually engage with your audience if you want to see growth. 

5. Follow the trusted "3 likes, 1 Comment Formula"

This is a method that bloggers and marketers have created to drive engagement. Its premise is that you have to engage with others in order for them to engage with you. Start off by finding users through relevant hashtags and location search. When you like and comment their photos you will show that you have genuine interest in their lifestyle. While this takes time it can bring you followers that find value in the content you push out. 


This is a relatively new development so facts are coming in everyday. Make sure to stay up to date to keep your account visible. Remember that social media platforms are based on algorithms and bots that are largely out of your control. What you can control is forging genuine human interaction and connection around your brand. So go out there and talk to your potential followers and your current followers, offer them your attention and time without demanding something from them first. 

What's Selling - Insight On Getting Your Photos Purchased

We often get asked: "What kind of photos are selling on Snapwire?" While we have various blog posts written on the subject, it is always helpful to take a look at specific photos to understand what buyers are choosing. To check out what has been recently purchased you can take a look at the recently purchased page to see what buyers are looking for and to get future inspiration! 

Congratulations to photographers: Seniad Kasupovic and Melissa Hope for their recently purchased photos. Here are their captivating shots: 

 

Drinks

Photo by: Seniad Kasupovic

Photo by: Seniad Kasupovic

Seniad's photo won the "Drinks" challenge because of its wonderful composition and stylization of a bartender holding a gorgeous cocktail drink. The drink is truly mesmerizing due to its  bold colors and the usage of a textured glass. Also, the tattooed forearm of the bartender adds the perfect touch of edginess to the photo. 

Gardening

Photo by: Melissa Hope

Photo by: Melissa Hope

The "Gardening" challenge sought photos of people tending to their gardens, the tools they use to do it, and their beautiful garden designs. With simplicity in mind, Melissa's winning photo perfectly captures a woman harvesting her veggie garden. The rich green colors of the vegetables show the success of the woman's hard work. 


A giant takeaway from this post, is that photo buyers are looking for visuals with stellar composition. Buyers seek out photos like these because they have a clear focus that can be translated into a story. The photo of the drink could be the start to a fun-filled nights with friends and the photo of the freshly picked veggies could portray the start of a bountiful harvest. These are all unique stories that can be told by photo buyers in their campaigns. 

Now let's get back to shooting! Submit your best shots of Spring to our new challenge:  Music Festivals

Object Series: The Mason Jar

Created in 1858 by John Landis Mason, the Mason jar's initial purpose was to preserve foods for long periods of time. Mason's design swiftly beat out his competitors, with its revolutionary airtight seal and the transparency of the glass which made the contents look visually pleasing. With its mass production in the early 20th century, the jars became symbols of the agricultural world. Farmers who lived in areas with quick harvest seasons used Mason jars to keep their jams and pickles in ideal conditions, to showcase their recipes at county fairs, and to give as gifts during holidays. The heyday of the original use of Mason jar's ended with the widespread adoption of refrigerators, migration from the countryside to the city, and drastic improvement in transportation. As optimum food preservation moved from canning to freezing, the jars were no longer used as much. 

Photo by: Clara Park

Photo by: Clara Park

Seventy years later, the Mason jar is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. With people becoming more and more aware of the economic and environmental costs of transporting food around the world, there is a return to farm-to-table ideals such as locally grown produce and canning procedures. Furthermore, the Mason jar has become the king of the DIY world, which has taken the web by storm. If you Google "ways to use mason jars," there is an overwhelming amount of information on all of the ways they can be repurposed into drinking glasses, candles, lamps, soap dispensers, terrariums, planters, and so much more. 

Photo by: Sarah Gale

Photo by: Sarah Gale

Curiously enough, the Mason jar has become a symbol of gentrification. Many trendy bars and restaurants serve fancy cocktails in Mason jars and 7-11 recently launched a line of the Mason jars to hold slurpees. When Mason jars are used in such a way their original context diminishes, that of frugality and practicality, and transforms them into an ironic object, void of meaning. Many people do not know the real meaning of the jars but they feel a sense of shared nostalgia of simpler times that the jars evoke. Chew on that the next time you dish out $14 to drink a beer out of a Mason jar at your local craft brewery!

Whether you love or hate them they are here to stay. The jars have ultimately been able to stand the test of time by being reusable, visually pleasing, and durable. Even though it seems like the jars are being overly commodified, around 70% of sold jars are still being used for canning. Even if the jar eventually loses its "cool factor," it will make its reappearance soon enough- it always does. 

Photo by: Kelly Hieronymus

Photo by: Kelly Hieronymus

Photo by: Rebecca Hodges

Photo by: Rebecca Hodges

Including Mason jars in your photo composition makes for relevant and desirable imagery that are sought after by photo buyers. If you have any images of how you use Mason jars in your day to day life or images that evoke a rustic way of life, submit your photos to our new photo challenge Rustic Living

 

We Just Got Accepted to One of the Top Accelerators in the US !

Snapwire is excited to announce that we have been accepted into the notable Alchemist Accelerator! This is a great opportunity for Snapwire, as the Alchemist is one of the top accelerators in the country according to Tech Crunch

 

Start-up accelerators help entrepreneurs get on their feet and grow successful companies. The Alchemist Accelerator is a venture-backed initiative focused on accelerating startups whose revenue comes from enterprises (not consumers). Seeding around 40 start-ups each year, they have backed companies such as Wise.io, Dropbox, UPSHOT, Neoreach, and CryptoMove. Investors in the Alchemist Accelerator program include Citrix, Cisco, Founders Fund, Redpoint, Salesforce, Voyager Capital and Lowe’s. 

Snapwire is 1 of 17 companies that was accepted into the highly selective six month program. The program provides $36,000 of investment, an association of high potential founders, sought after mentors, customer development, and a structured path to fundraising. The numbers from graduated companies show that the program can be very beneficial. Alchemist accelerators have seen over 80% of the companies they work with go on to close an institutional round within 12 months of graduating from the program. 

One of the most exciting parts of the program is Demo Day, an event in which a founder from each company pitches a room of venture capitalists. The objective is to impress an investor and receive a round of growth funding. 

We're honored to be in the program and think it will be extremely valuable to us as we gear up to scale and grow. We wanted to thank everyone in our community who believes in our vision. We can't wait to see what the future holds!