I’m hoping that you got beyond that title and still decided to read this post. I’m also hoping that you didn’t open it, ready to attack me but if you did and you are still reading, I encourage you to keep going. I promise that by the end of this you won’t want to wring my neck and hopefully I’ve provided some valuable tips to help you get your photos shared more often.
Lately there has been a lot of buzz in our brand rep groups about reps feeling like they aren’t good enough. They feel like they aren’t getting chosen to be on teams as much as they used to and they are feeling unappreciated by the shops they do work with. They feel like they provide great pictures, repost for shops and make their purchases as required. And though they are doing everything they’ve been asked to do, their pictures are still not being shared on the shops feeds. It makes them angry and it makes them lash out on social media. And while most don’t name the shops publicly, they are more than happy to privately message it to you if you ask. This makes me sad for all parties involved, but mostly for that hard working shop owner who was probably never even asked why this person’s pictures aren’t being shared. As a shop owner, I can tell you that there are many reasons why your pictures aren’t being shared and they are probably not for the reasons you think. Here are the top five reasons that I, as a shop owner, don’t share a picture.
- The Item You Photographed is Not a Priority: Shops promote different items at different times. Depending on when you purchased that item and the time it took to photograph it, the shop owner may not be promoting that particular item anymore. It may be sold out, an older season’s item or just doesn’t need as much promotion as the other items in their shop. Your picture could be amazing, it just might be bad timing.
- The Look in the Photo Doesn’t Go With Their Branding: Before you photograph a shop’s item, do you take a moment to check out their feed? Do you check to see if they have a preference as to location, background or styling? If you’re not, you are missing an important step. If you find that the majority of the pictures they share are in front of a white wall, or in an industrial location, or in the woods or outdoors, then try to plan your photoshoot accordingly. Do they prefer monochrome vs. bright colors? Do they prefer street style over cutesy style? Spend that extra minute to find out before you shoot. The shop will appreciate it and they are more likely to share!
- Your Pictures are Blurry: Shop owners pay attention to how crisp your photos are. If you are chasing a baby around and the picture is blurry, chances are, they aren’t going to repost it. It may mean you are taking 100 pictures to get 3 good ones, but you should always make sure that they aren’t blurry! Believe it or not, I take 200 pictures of each outfit and delete at least 20 blurry images and another 150 or so where the product isn’t shown in it’s best light. Sometimes my camera is just not as fast as my 4 year old but it’s my responsibility to make sure that I’m getting great, crisp photos of those items for the shops we represent. If the item isn’t in focus, it’s not going to work for advertising purposes.
- You Aren’t Using the Full Instagram Box: Everyone wants their feed to look a certain way. I think you should be able to do whatever you want on your own feed, but when a shop goes to share, if they are using full Instagram squares and you aren’t, the picture becomes less shareable. The shop owner can message you and ask for the image to be emailed, but sometimes our days get so hectic that we can forget. I personally go through my tagged pictures and take screenshots of them all and stick them in a folder in my phone, so they are ready to share. I can’t do those with the resized images and so they tend to get overlooked, not because I don’t love them, but because it takes the convenience away by having to do that extra step.
- You Are Over Editing: We’ve all done it at one point or another. If your child’s skin has been so “smoothed” that he/she looks more like a porcelain doll than a child, you may be over editing. If the colors of the items in your pictures don’t look natural (or even your child’s skin color), you may be over editing. If you are brightening and editing your child’s eyes so much that they look like marbles instead of eyes, you may be over editing. The thing about capturing items for small shops that is most important is that the items accurately show the item. If the pictures you are providing are going to cause customers to question what it is they bought because it looks different in your pictures, the shop will probably not share them. As a shop owner, I’m much less likely to share a picture if the child looks unnatural or there is a filter used which completely changes the color of my item. I want to show beautiful pictures of real kids wearing my items and I would imagine that most shops feel the same way. Keep that in mind when you’re editing!
While these are just some of the reasons a shop may not be sharing your pictures, I encourage you to reach out to the shop to ask what you can do better. Most of them will be more than happy to help! Accept constructive criticism. Don’t take things personally and know that no matter where you are in your photography and brand repping journey, we can all improve in some way. These shop owners want you to succeed as much as you do and can give you the best feedback of all, since you are working with them.
Lastly, please remember that brand repping isn’t about the shop reposting YOUR images, but the services you are providing the shop in exchange for free or discounted items. While it’s always great to see your photos on the shop’s feeds, it’s a bonus and not the requirement of any shop. Focus on the positives and what you get out of the brand repping experience. I promise you that the good will always outweigh the bad and if it doesn’t, maybe it’s time to take a little break and re-evaluate your “why”. Take each experience as a learning experience and learn from others by visiting your favorite brand rep pages and studying their techniques. Take chances, set limits and push yourself to surpass them. I promise you that you can do it and the final results can be beyond your wildest dreams.
Don’t forget to follow Falynn’s daily small shop fashions and brand repping journey on Instagram @thesmallfashionista and on our new Facebook page! I’m always happy to help, so feel free to reach out to me!
Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.