How did THAT Get 500 “Likes?”

Situation: You create an image. You love the image. You post the image on Facebook. You say in the post how much you love the image. 125 of your friends hit the “like” button. You keep getting notifications. Your heart swells. You ride the Rainbow o’Happiness all day long.

The next day, you show client images. Client does not like. At all.

You feel lost…confused…discouraged.

You drown your sorrows in 4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food.

And you wonder how this happened.

Situation: You are scrolling through your Facebook news feed and you see an image that stops you dead in your tracks. It catches your eye not because it’s gorgeous, but because it isn’t. This thing is terrible. Not just a little terrible, either. As Dorothy Parker would say, “It’s fancy terrible. It’s terrible with raisins in it.” This is NOT a good image.

And it has 225 likes.

And you find yourself screaming, “Nooooooo!” at the computer screen. And you look at the perfectly exposed, composed and edited image you are working on and think if what you just saw is considered “good photography,” you should just pack it in and join the circus.

And you wonder how this happened.

Well, take my hand, and let me explain…

Many times, friends like your images because they like you; they want to make you feel good. That’s what friends do. This is not a Bad Thing. It’s done with the very best of intentions. But, the truth is, Facebook “likes” are not always an indicator of how well an image will do in a real world client scenario. How many times have you looked at an image and thought to yourself: “I could never sell that.” But it has a gazillion likes. It happens. And while there are certainly times where a beautiful image results in a beautiful sale and a beautiful reception on Facebook, there are just as many times when a gorgeous image gets 10 likes and results in a $2500 sale and an image of the back of a baby’s head gets 300 likes and nets the creator $150.

And, when an underexposed blurry photo the color of dog pee garners 100 likes from friends, it doesn’t do the creator any favors. Because he/she will assume from those “likes” that those underexposed, blurry photos the color of dog pee will sell like hotcakes.

And odds are good, they won’t.

Now, Facebook “likes” are not just misleading, they can also be bought. Literally. There are sites out there that will not only sell you “likes” to a Facebook page, but “likes” to individual posts on a page.You want to pretend 500 people like your image? That will be $12.95.

Yeah, nothing disingenuous about that.

It’s a crazy social media world out there, kids. So, keep this in mind the next time you post to Facebook. Because although Facebook “likes” make you feel good, a great portrait sale will make you feel better.


8 Comments on How did THAT Get 500 “Likes?”

  1. This just reminds me of a saying my Dad always says “Watch your own bobber.” If you aren’t a fish8ng enthusiast this means mind your own business. Who cares if a crappie photo gets 200 likes. This article just encourages competition. If your images are gorgeous and have the perfect exposure and the client is happy that is all that matters. If their client is happy that’s all that matters. I love some of your posts and some just irk me. You spend a lot of time worrying about what others are doing in their business. Worry less about others and more about your art and your clients.

    • I read the article as discouraging competition, and to not feel discouraged if a crappy image gets more likes than yours. It explains that those likes don’t mean much in the end, and quality photography and making clients happy is what matters. You can buy likes, but you can’t buy satisfied customers.

    • Hi April! I spend a lot of time doing a lot of things; worrying about what others are doing in their business isn’t one of them. What I DO spend free time on is writing articles (like this one) to help encourage photographers who might be a wee bit frustrated, ’cause I love the industry and the hard working men and women in it. I’m totally okay if you find that irksome now and then. And I sure thank you for reading! xoxo
      (Oh, and I do spend time drinking cocktails. I forgot to put that.)

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