The Queen Photographers

True Life: My Photo Went Viral

We’re going to let you in on a little secret.  When a photographer’s photo goes viral, you’d think it would mean tons of new followers and admirers and those followers converting to dollar signs. But it’s not all the fame and recognition you might expect.




Nope. All that hard work you’ve put into perfecting that session from the lighting to the posing, even to watermarking the photo after you’ve shared it on social media may not suffice once you post it and send it off into cyber-eternity. Just ask Denise Benson of Denise Benson Photography:

“It was a solid shot.  Sometimes you just know when you hit it out of the park during a session.  All of the elements came together perfectly that day.  And I know just by looking at the back of my camera, before even getting the photos uploaded onto my computer, that we made something special.  I never knew it would turn out to be as popular as it did, but I knew we had something special on our hands.”



Social media, right after word of mouth, is king when it comes to how photographers can inexpensively market themselves and gain exposure, especially now that audience targeting is available.  You, as a creative, may know when you’ve brought all the elements together to create the perfect shot, but it’s hard to tell if your audience will always make that same connection as well.

“I shared this photo on all of my social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+,” Denise says.  “It gained a lot of attention on both Instagram and Facebook.”

This was the original photo that Denise shared.


 And this is what it looked like after over 1,400 likes and 1,300 shares.




It’s not uncommon for a photo to be downloaded, copied, saved to a camera roll, given an Instagram filter, plastered with text from some other app, screenshot, and reposted back to the Internet.  But if we can be honest, it drives us photographers crazy, y’all…especially when the share button is so easy to access and use. But we get it…once it’s put on the Internet, there’s pretty much no control of what happens after that…we really do get it, but a little effort goes a long way.

Pros & Cons to Having Your Photo Go Viral, according to Denise

A definite pro to having a photo go viral is that it shows your work to the world.  It hopefully will attract new clients to you and in some ways it validates your work.  The cons would have to be having the quality of the image be decreased, your logo covered up or removed altogether which I’m seeing now is easier than I would’ve expected and others possibly taking credit for your work.  My client even contacted me saying an online personality had even lied about the photo (and her) and how the photo came to be, which was a definite drawback.  Thankfully she was able to have Facebook remove the photo, along with his allegations, from the person’s page.

What To Do if You Want to Share a Photo You Like

  1. Share directly from the original source. On Facebook, as long as the original post is publicly displayed, this is the easiest. Same goes for Twitter. On Instagram, consider using a repost app, like Repost For Instagram.
  2. Don’t crop/remove watermarks. You’re already intentionally discrediting the original creator. Better to ask to use the photo than illegally alter it.
  3. Research the original source. If you’ve found that it’s lost it’s quality or no tags are present, do the artist a favor and tag him/her and share the original one instead.
  4. Ask permission. Sometimes, just asking to use a photo for personal use will be all it takes.  Whether you’d like to create a meme/inspirational post, use for your website, or even print, reach out to the creator and ask for permission to use. If they say no, 1 up them and create your own content, only better 😉
  5. Give credit where it’s due. Your 300 likes didn’t happen on your own; let’s be real. Give some credit to your photographer. They’ve worked hard to make you look like a print model! 2016-01-11 10-48-26

Another QPSC member’s viral photo by Purple Goose Photography


Post a Comment