LinkedIn: A Photographer’s Guide, Part 1

It’s “Guest Post Wednesday” and we’re fortunate to have an excellent essay by Jorge Parra, a commercial and fine art photographer based in Miami, FL, whose work can be seen at In it he shares his thoughts about how photographers can best leverage LinkedIn.

One of the biggest mistakes made by photographers with regards to LinkedIn is joining photographer’s groups, since you will be preaching to the choir, and no marketing effort will have any value at all.

The main reason to showcase yourself in LinkedIn is to reach the people who may eventually become your clients, and usually, those do not spend any period of time in photographer’s groups or simply, never join them in the first place.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and make educated guesses about where would they roam in Linkedin, then join those groups.

My database so far is well over 500 people in LinkedIn, and well over 400 are potential clients: creative directors of advertising agencies, owners of marketing boutiques, editors at nationwide and local magazines, and key people in the luxury markets, in the USA as well as Europe, Japan, South America, etc.

The reason you find so many comments about not getting work from LinkedIn comes from the fact that people are not linking their (best-looking) profile to the right people, in the right groups.

Once you have someone in your network, you have access to his or her email and other contact info, data which LinkedIn allows you to download to your computer to prepare a contact list. By definition, these contacts are opt-in, meaning they are all willing to exchange info with you, so you would not be spamming a single soul with your newsletters, promos or news updates.

Because you have this personal info, you’re able to send private, personalized emails, to very focused lists of people, those you REALLY want to work with, and make your best effort to reinforce your relationship with those highly specific people. Just last Saturday I got a request to link with one of the editors of Vogue America. I don’t know yet where will this lead, but no doubt, I will cherish and nurture this relationship with this very relevant contact!

So in essence, this is the least you can do with LinkedIn. There is still much more than this, but this in itself is a great thing, much more useful and powerful than the “personal messaging” on Facebook or any other social network media. I’m not saying FB is not another tool to explore, just that the ROI in time and effort vs. effectiveness, by far favors LinkedIn.

To this end, I consider Linkedin a Professional Networking Media, not a Social Networking Media. This distinction is critical.

Read part two of this article.



about 12 years ago

Thanks for sharing this info. My sister is a photographer and I am constantly on the lookout for helping her find ways to market online. Haven't looked into LinkedIn. I'll let her know she should look into it. Thanks!

Joseph Pobereskin

about 13 years ago

Jorge, With multiple web sites (assignment/main, stock & some freebies) and a blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc, etc... web presence is almost too much to manage, I try not to take it (and myself) all that seriously. See you soon, l hope. Hi Blake. JP

Jorge Parra

about 13 years ago

Hey Joe! Making a logical mix of networks solves these issues you mention above, just redirect all your friends over to your Personal FaceBook page, and keep the business contacts in Linkedin. That said, you can still go a step further in , by creating a -separate- Business Page in FaceBook, ( which you can of course link with your Linkedin account), so you get the best of both worlds, but without mixing your barbecue pictures and family videos you want to share with your buddies, with the recent portfolio shots you want to share with your potential customers and old clients, before posting them in your website. It all depends on how deep you want to go with this, which is what I like from Linkedin: plain and simple Professional Networking, no silly status, no mistery contacts or unknown friends, all clear and straight to the one point: everyone means business. HTH Jorge

Jorge Parra

about 13 years ago

Nick, the email account everyone posts is a choice every user does, so once a connection has been established, what I do is start a dialog, not pumping marketing stuff at once to anyone, as the first instance, but again, Linkedin is meant to be a Professional Network, so each and every contact that is built, implies or assumes there will be exchange of professional/commercial info. If someone just wants to post comments about how nice was dinner last night, then there is FaceBook and other Social Networks,where you can "friend" people you just don't know, in order to have a huge list of those. I have not used the paid option in Linkedin, so I can not comment on it. I just think that , overriding the personalized attempt to connect makes the process more like cold calls, shooting in the dark kind of approach, but I may be wrong about it. There are many ways to build your network in Linkedin from scratch, and I will talk about it in the 2nd part of this post due next week. Thanks! Jorge

Joseph Pobereskin

about 13 years ago

I have a friend who once turned down my request to be included in his LinkedIn network saying, "it's only for my clients." My first reaction was that he was being snooty but on reflection I realized he was smarter about it than I am... just like Jorge is. I no longer seek out photographer-friends as LinkedIn contacts and have debated deleting all the photographers from my network, we'll see (l might not have anyfriends then).

Nick B

about 13 years ago

Great info. You say "Once you have someone in your network, you have access to his or her email and other contact info, data which LinkedIn allows you to download to your computer to prepare a contact list." Could elaborate your process here? I find most agency contacts use their personal email addresses on LinkedIn due to the high rate of movement. SureIy you would never want to email an art director / photo editor etc through their personal email address? Do you use the free version of LinkedIn or the paid upgrade? Thanks Jorge, Blake!

LA Headshots

about 13 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

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