This post by guest blogger Evgeny Tchebotarev appears as part of our series Small Business 500

tips for small businessIn the past few years photography’s popularity has exploded. Does this mean getting noticed today is harder than ever? Not necessarily. With a little initial effort, you can automate and maximize your online presence, allowing you to spend more time shooting. Here are five essential ways to jumpstart your online photography presence:

1. Sign up 

Sign up for accounts on 500px, Flickr, SmugMug, Google+, Instagram and Facebook. You don’t have to sign up for all of them, but having a presence on several online photo-sharing sites is important to put the word — or rather, photos — out there for the world to see. Choose the ones you feel comfortable with, and stick with them, engage your audience by answering questions and comments, and by uploading your new works as well as following people whose work you admire.

2. Automate with ifttt

With sites like ifttt you can automate your publishing. Sign up for an account, and get going. You’ll be surprised how much you can automate. You can set up the service so that if you post a photo to instagram, it also gets published on Flickr. Or, when you post on Tumblr, it gets automatically saved in your Dropbox. There are hundreds of rules you can create, and in just a few minutes you can automate your work, so you don’t have to spend time handling several accounts manually.

3. Engage your audience

Especially if you are just starting in photography, you’ve probably learned some new skills recently. The best way to engage your audience is to share your knowledge — write a blog post (so that it automatically goes to Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) about what you’ve learned — rules of thirds, golden ratio, some Lightroom tricks. Even if it’s a tiny bit of information and takes you 5 minutes to write — chances are, some of your readers won’t know it. Knowledge is the most valuable content you can provide your online audience.

4. Go offline

As strange as it sounds, to gain more presence online, you should also be present ‘offline’. Visit Meetup and check for ‘Photography’ meet-ups around you. Getting to know people in your city that are passionate about the same things you are will significantly enhance your online experience. You’ll finally know the people behind the avatars and nicknames.

5. Ask questions and experiment

You can learn a lot by asking questions. Useful places to start are creativeLive, Quora, Flickr Groups, and 500px Blog. You can read and watch tutorials, engage in sessions, and try out the new tips in the wild. Experimenting with what you have learned will bring you new knowledge — which is an enticing story to share with your audience.

photography-small-businessesEvgeny is the co-founder of 500px, a photo-sharing site dedicated to the best photography in the world. With unique algorithms, photographers get great exposure, and viewers are inspired by endless streams of amazing photos. Evgeny is an avid photographer, and loves shooting landscapes and fashion. To check his portfolio, visit Evgeny's profile.

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