Almost seems a bit overkill, doesn’t it? Yes, incredible Instagram content is vital for companies looking to build a solid base of brand fans, but these are just smartphone photos, aren’t they? Couldn’t anybody with a camera phone and a bit of creativity snap an interesting photo around the office every now and again?

Unfortunately, Instagram marketing isn’t all that simple. These days, with over 400 million monthly active users having taken to the innovative platform, businesses have noticed and are now all vying for the attention of the same base of users. Sure, niches are industry-specific and different, but the competition is still present and very much widespread.

With all of this in mind, how exactly do you go about gaining an advantage over your fiercest rivals on Instagram? That’s right—improve the quality of your content. Having come full circle, do you see why it might not be such a bad idea to work with a professional photographer to maximize the value of your Instagram account? If not, no worries—you’ll soon see.

Consider a Professional Photographer

When it comes to making money online, the first place entrepreneurs look is their business’ website. Makes sense—more than likely, your website is the portal through which all potential customers must pass to become long-lasting, loyal clients.

Because of this, you treat your website with great care, making certain that design, on-page SEO, content and opt-in strategies are well-kept and up-to-date to enhance a visitor’s experience and convert as much site traffic as possible.

That said, due to Instagram’s incredible reach, the social channel should be given the same kind of attention as your website. Think about it: with Instagram currently seeing engagement levels around 4.2 percent—compared to 0.1 percent on Facebook and Twitter—you’ll soon be sorry if the channel isn’t receiving the immediate attention it deserves.

This is why the hiring of a professional photographer makes sense for brands who recognize the money-making potential that Instagram offers them. Simply put, there’s money to be had, but with low-quality images and regular, run-of-the-mill posts, you’ll be doing more blending in than anything else.

Where to Find the Best Instagram Photographers

Believe it or not, there are actually photographers out there who make a living marketing themselves as “Instagram Photographers.” Armed with a top-notch smartphone camera and a host of photographic bells and whistles, these creatives understand perfectly well the subtle ins and outs required to make Instagram marketing magic happen.

Says Kickstagram, a California-based Instagram marketing company, of the need for a professional, “When you hire a professional photographer to assist you with your Instagram efforts, you not only create a steady flow of posts, you also ensure that your content will be of the quality that will engage your followers, generating favorites, comments and shares to gain your brand further exposure.”

Sounds good enough, but where can this kind of talent be found? Though by no means a comprehensive list, the below outlets are excellent resources for brands in search of affordable photography for their Instagram accounts:

  • CraigslistCraigslist is best for finding talented photographers in your area. As a brand, ideally, your looking for someone with whom you can regularly have a face-to-face conversation. Additionally, for you to get the most out of this kind of working relationship, you’ll want your photographer to hang around the office to capture as many brand-specific images as possible. Other options include Thumbtack and Angie’s List.
  • Upwork – Really, any freelance website should do the trick, but if you’re hoping to find the right kind of talent the first time around (admittedly, there are quite a few not-so-stellar freelancers out there), go with Upwork. Sites like Freelancer are great, but to find the best, you need to go the best—Upwork takes the cake, there.
  • Instagram – You probably already knew this, but Instagram is a great place to discover awesome photography. Using the network’s “Explore” feature, your company’s next photographer might be little more than a click away. Also, unbeknownst to many, Instagram’s official account is filled with the work of great photographers. Take to it to try and make a meaningful connection, as well.

Once you’ve found a photographer you feel will get the job done, instead of pulling the trigger immediately and making a hire, inquire further about said photographer’s professional experience. In creative fields, portfolios and past work samples are of the utmost importance. Examine both closely to ensure you’ve found the right candidate.

Parting Thoughts

Is it necessary for any and all companies with an Instagram account to bring a photographer onboard for part-time or full-time work? Realistically, probably not. However, if you plan to make Instagram your go-to social channel for lead generation, you’d be wise to consider upping the quality of your posts by way of a professional photographer.

But now for what matters most—what do you think? Is it necessary for a company to hire a professional photographer to help produce engaging Instagram content? Would you consider doing something similar with your business, or would such a move fail to produce any kind of measurable ROI? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and feelings!