Viewbug ambassador James Rushforth gives some tips on how to increase your social exposure and following on Viewbug.

I should first state that I do not work for Viewbug and these are my experiences based on using the website over the past few years. Working as a professional photographer and author I find time a commodity in short supply! In this respect I find Viewbug an excellent resource compared to many of the other social media platforms aimed at photographers, in that it requires a relatively small time investment to reap substantial rewards. Good images and artists will be quickly filtered to the top by attaining success in both the official competitions and peer to peer challenges, thus removing the need to spend a long time developing a significant following. That said, a little proactivity never does any harm and I’ve found the following steps greatly help to increase your social exposure on Viewbug.     

1) Keep striving to improve your photography

As obvious as this may sound, the better your images, the more successful they will be. Try browsing the Hall of Fame for inspiration and motivation. Take note of the composition, ideas, creativity and execution of some of the best images on the internet; you’ll be surprised just how much this develops your eye as a photographer while simultaneously sparking new ideas for your own work.       

2) Enter as many competitions as possible

Statistically the more competitions you enter the more likely you are to achieve a favourable outcome. The Viewbug competitions cover an eclectic range of genres and consequently your own gallery must be equally diverse if you wish to enter them all. Try your hand at landscapes, wildlife, portrait, street, architecture and action photography. Experiment with wide angle, macro and telephoto compositions, colour, black and white, through the day and night. Try to develop photos with minimal processing and then explore more heavy-handed retouching techniques. Understanding the multi-faceted nature of photography will greatly help to increase your own personal skills as even if you don’t like a particular photographer’s style, it will help you to argue your corner more effectively while understanding theirs!       

3) Interact with the ViewBug community

Following, liking, awarding, commenting and critiquing the work of others will not only help to develop your understanding of what exactly constitutes a ‘good photo’ but will also encourage photographers to reciprocate the feedback on your own work. This additionally allows the accumulation of ‘reward points’ - more on this later.   

4) Create a striking profile

Due to the huge user base of Viewbug, it’s essential to create a profile that not only looks good and, more importantly,  stands out from the crowd. Pay particular attention to your profile photo and the slideshow banner as these will be displayed in a user search. When I’m looking for a new batch of inspirational photographers to follow, I generally thumb through the users, stopping to further research profiles that catch my eye with an especially striking or unique pair of images.       

5) Create and join peer to peer challenges

The user created photo challenges provide another opportunity to showcase your work, further increasing the likelihood that your images will be viewed and interacted with. Creating challenges (particularly if they’re interestingly themed) can lead to further exposure as artists join and participate in your contests.   

6) Behind the Lens

If you do have success in a competition, or if a Viewbug member of staff features your work, you will be offered the opportunity to fill out a mini ‘Behind the Lens’ interview questionnaire asking for additional information on just how the shot was achieved. This is well worth taking the time to complete as suitably interesting images are featured once again and appear in a separate BTL image category. Furthermore, visiting photographers get a unique insight into that particular piece of work and the thought process behind the image.    

7) Tag your photos

Be sure to tag your images with a full set of relevant key words. This helps people find your work using the search feature. The current most searched for key words are:

#nature #travel  #landscape

It’s also worth taking the time to briefly describe the scene and provide the name of the location in which it was shot in the image description field. This is really useful information for visiting photographers who like your work and may be inspired to seek out a particular location themselves.    

8) Keep taking photos

Many of the competitions only allow the entry of more recent photo uploads. Keeping your gallery current and refreshed with new content will allow you to enter all of the latest competitions while additionally giving you a greater choice of images to fit the desired theme.   

9) Collect reward points and climb the ranks

Each time you like, award, follow or comment on an image, do well in a competition or join a peer to peer challenge you gain reward points that contribute to your Viewbug rank. The higher your Viewbug subscription level the more points are rewarded, with pros earning the most. As you progress through the ranks you gain a variety of advantageous rewards such as additional image entries into competitions. Additionally, you appear higher up in user searches as photographers filter the results by rank. This creates a self-fulfilling cycle as you gain more exposure and in turn begin to climb the ranks faster.

To view your reward points and to learn more about the points system see:  

10) Contribute blog articles

Photographers who demonstrate suitably impressive work may be asked to present a Viewbug blog post detailing their particular area of expertise. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only help other people improve but also to impart your knowledge to a particularly widespread and far-reaching readership.

I hope you find these tips useful in improving your profile on Viewbug and getting the most out of the platform’s many features. I wish you the very best of luck and enjoyment in the pursuit of your photographic endeavors and look forward to seeing your work on Viewbug!