Tumblr: Share Photos, Learn Lots, Make Friends
Imagine a community of talented photographers who constantly inspire and encourage each other.
Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Good news: it’s real!
More good news: it’s on Tumblr and it has an open spot with your name on it!
The growing world of photogs on Tumblr is eagerly waiting for you to come by and contribute some of your amazingness. So we’ve listed 5 ways to help you get started and make the most of your Tumblr-ful experience.
First Things First
If you’re new to Tumblr then you may be asking one or all of the following questions. Good thing we have answers! (If you’re already an avid Tumblr fan, skip on down for our in-depth tips)!
So what is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a microblogging platform. This means that people don’t usually use Tumblr for lengthy blog articles, but rather for shorter posts featuring photos, videos, quotes, etc. It’s also a great place to interact with other bloggers through the site’s simple messaging, commenting, and reblogging features.
What can I do on Tumblr?
Start a blog! Make it about whatever you want! Either stick to posting one genre of photography, or mix it up.
Post portraits of friends, your best black and white shots, candid street photos … anything else your heart desires.
Choose from a myriad of Tumblr themes (customizable layouts for your blog) and personalize your site until it feels just right. Then start interacting, gain a following, and just have fun!
Interact? Gain a following? How do I do that?
Read on, friend. We’ve got some helpful tips for you, starting with…
1. Use Your Hashtags
Whether they’re just being used for fun (#yolo) or for helping people search through specific topics (#photography), hashtags are utilized by nearly every social media network.
Tumblr is no exception. Using tags is important because it helps other members find your photos even if they’re not already following your blog.
It’s important to keep in mind that Tumblr tags work a little differently. First, Tumblr hashtags should have spaces in between the words. This means your hashtag for loving cookies should look like #I Love Cookies. Second, Tumblr has two types of tags. Featured tags and normal tags. Let’s break it down.
The most popular hashtags being used by Tumblr bloggers become “featured tags.” These are tags like #animals and #film. (Check out a full list of featured tags here).
These featured tags are so popular that Tumblr has even assigned “tag editors” to pick out the best posts using these tags! If your post has been featured by a tag editor, you’ll see a little blue tag at the bottom of your post (right above your hashtags). Your post will then show up on the “featured page” of that tag where more people will see it!
The most popular featured tags being used by photographers on Tumblr are: #black and white #landscape #portrait #artists on tumblr #art
Whew. That was a lot of information. Now let’s move on to normal tags.
A normal tag is anything that isn’t a featured tag!
The most popular normal tags are: #lensblr #photographers on tumblr #original photography #original photographers
Search through the tags to find and follow photographers you like. You can either use the “search” feature at the top right corner of your dashboard screen, or use the address tumblr.com/tagged/[insert+tag+here], or click on an existing tag on any post.
Now get to taggin’!
2. Submit Your Work
One of the truly great things about the photography community on Tumblr is that there are a lot of people who are eager to help you get your work seen.
You don’t even have to wait for that coveted blue tag in order to reach a larger audience. Lots of curated blogs (such as Lensblr, Lux Lit, and Original Photographers) not only reblog photos, but they also have an option for you to submit the photo of your choosing for all of their followers to “ooh and ahh” over!
Not sure if your favorite curated blog accepts submissions? Just look for a “Submit” link at the top of the screen or on the sidebar. Sometimes there will be guidelines, so make sure to read them carefully and ask the admin if you have any questions.
And hey, don’t think of submitting your work as being pushy. Some blogs like Tumblr Open Arts run almost entirely on submissions, so you’re definitely encouraged to say “My stuff is good! Look at it!”
3. Queue Your Posts
You may love posting your photos late at night as you unwind after a long day. That’s great for your fellow night owls who have the pleasure of seeing your work, but what about all of those morning birds who only check Tumblr during breakfast?
Every so often it’s a good idea to skip your nightly posting routine and instead queue your photos to be published the next morning or afternoon.
Once you have your post ready and rarin’ to go, click the arrow next to the “post” option. A menu will appear and give you the option to “add to queue”. Once the photo has been added to your queue, you will be able to access it by clicking “queue” on the right side of your dashboard. Easy!
Bonus tip! In your settings you can determine the frequency at which your queued posts will be published. This is especially helpful if you’re going on vacation and can’t access your Tumblr for a while. You’ll be able to post photos for days on end without ever having to sign in.
Double bonus tip! If you want a photo to appear at a specific day and time, click “schedule” instead of “add to queue.” The photo will still be added to your queue, it’ll just be added in at the time of your choosing. Awesome!
4. Become a Member
You may be thinking, “Wait! I joined Tumblr. Aren’t I already member?”
Well, that is correct! But you can also become a member of certain blogs within Tumblr. Lensblr and The Photographer’s Directory are two such blogs, and becoming a member is a great way to tell the entire photo community that you have arrived.
Lensblr has a “Become a Member” link at the top of their homepage, and The Photographer’s Directory has a link that says “Submit Your Tumblr” on the right side of the screen. Each blog has different rules and guidelines for applying, so check those out and make sure everything’s up to snuff. What they care most about is that your blog primarily consists of your own original photography (and that it’s updated somewhat regularly).
Once you’ve been approved for membership, blogs like Lensblr and The Photographer’s Directory will publish a “New Member” post just for you! It will have the bio you wrote for yourself, as well as a photo of your choosing. Pick something eye-catching because this post will be seen by all of the blog’s followers!
Also, your bio and photo will show up on the “Members” page of these bogs so people can find you that way, too. Pretty snazzy, right?
So leave a nice comment on someone’s photo. Ask them how they got their shot. Write them a message and wish them a happy weekend. Every so often you can even write a short text post just saying thanks to your followers for all of their support.
If you have any questions that you’d like to ask the community at large, write a text post (use the tag #photographers on tumblr!) and make sure to end whatever you’re saying with a question mark. Ending a text post with a question mark makes a checkbox appear at the bottom of the post that says, “let people answer this.” By checking the box, you allow anyone to comment regardless of whether they’re following you. Oh and the answers will be directly attached to your post, so others can read them as well!
This is a great way to get a community discussion going, but sometimes you may like to keep things a little more personal. In that case, there are two ways to privately message someone on Tumblr instead:
Most photogs on Tumblr have their “ask” option activated (you can turn off this option in your settings if you don’t want people to message you). This means there will be a link on their Tumblr that simply says “ask” and you can click on it, write them a note, and send it! Keep something in mind though: the “ask” option allows the receiver of your note to answer you either privately or publicly–it’s their choice. So if you want them to keep the message between the two of you, make sure that’s stated clearly in the message!
Check the upper right corner of a random photog’s Tumblr and you’re bound to see a teeny little envelope. This is the “fan mail” option through which you can write someone a personal message. These messages can only be answered privately and there’s no word limit (unlike with the “ask” option) so this may be the way to go if you have a lot to say.
Taking it further
- Reblog! It feels great to give back! So apply to become a team member for a curated blog like Lux Lit or The Photographer’s Society. That way you can search for and share fellow photographers’ work.
- Post often to keep people interested in your blog, but don’t flood your follower’s dashboards with twenty posts in a row. Use the queue!
- Link to your blog. Have Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest? Provide a link to your Tumblr on your other social media profiles.
- Follow Photojojo! Tumblr’s so awesome, we couldn’t resist being a part of it! Every day we post photo inspiration and techniques, fun new gear, apps, and more.