Featuring photographer, Zoë Noble.
After a career in web design, Zoë Noble moved from London to Berlin in 2011, bought a camera and set up a blog with her husband. She realized she’d been in the wrong career, so she learned everything she could about photography and has been shooting full time for over three years specializing in fashion, beauty and still life, for clients such as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, L’Oréal Paris, Vichy, Sony and Etsy.
When did you start using Snapchat?
I started earlier this year. I didn’t really take it too seriously in the very beginning. It took me a while to get the hang of it. It’s such a different platform. I actually had to Google “How do I use Snapchat.” That’s how far away from the kids I felt.
But once I got the hang of it, I realized how much more fun it is than a lot of the other platforms. It’s more my personality, more fun and a bit more throwaway. You cannot take it too seriously, which is nice when you’re trying to build your brand and get followers; you can think too much about this stuff. Actually Snapchat is better if you don’t think about it. I like that element. People can just see a little window into my working life, which maybe they don’t see in those other platforms.
Why do you use it? Is it for social or career reasons?
I’d say it’s a bit both. I definitely have a lot of friends on there who I know personally. I started to notice that I would get more strangers following me.
I don’t look at it as a platform that I’m specifically targeting potential clients on at all. You have to use it more as a way to show your personality. And if people are following for the work stuff, that’s great. They’ll see snippets of my work as well as just me. I think that’s a nice thing for people to see both sides.
Why is showing your personality a good thing in the photography industry?
Because anyone with a camera can be a photographer, you have to try and show people that you’re different. Maybe it’s that you’re a great person to work with on set. That you’re easygoing or you’re fun. That’s why I think Snapchat is a good tool because you really do see that I’m not a perfect person who takes amazing photos and that’s it. I want people to see my life. What do I like doing.
A friend of mine was contacting an agency about her work. They said, we just looked at your Instagram and we just saw lots of photos that are in your portfolio and we don’t really get a sense of who you are. She didn’t get any further in that process because they couldn’t see the person behind the camera. I think that’s the time we live in now. You have to differentiate yourself in a whole sea of other people. If you can do that by showing your personality on these platforms, then do it.
What kinds of things do you post on Snapchat? Do you have a strategy?
I’d say there’s no real strategy. If I have my phone with me and I remember to do a snap, I’ll go for it and not think too much about it. Every day is different. One day I could have a shoot in the studio, and I’ll be snapping the whole process—the model getting ready, the makeup artist, lunch, the photos on my laptop—so people can really see how a shoot progresses throughout a day. Other days I’ll be out walking the dog with my little travel camera just taking snaps around Berlin.
Another day I could be on location shooting at a client’s space. If they’re OK with me snapping, then I’ll be doing that as well. Obviously with clients, it’s tougher because generally they don’t want anyone seeing any of the photos. Clients are much more protective of their images than I am. But if it’s nothing that secretive, then it’s usually fine. It’s always best to get permission before you do that.
So really there is no real strategy. My snaps probably look very random. One day I might be using filters and the next I might not. The filters sometimes are funny but they’re never as funny as you think they are in your head.
Do you Snap daily?
It depends on what I’ve got going on. If it’s a shoot day, then I’ll be snapping throughout the day. If it’s a day off, then it’s just a couple snaps. I always find myself snapping at least once a day.
How much engagement do you get?
I have absolutely no idea, and maybe that tells you something about how I use it. I don’t pay attention to followers on any of my platforms. It just becomes too stressful. You start thinking too much about what you’re putting out there. When my husband and I set up a blog about Berlin, it became very successful. It was partly because we did not care about what people thought about anything, and we weren’t counting followers. So I’m trying to take that into my brand and just let it go. If people like you and they like what you’re putting out there then they’ll follow you.
How do you attract followers and let them know you’re on Snapchat?
I’ll use other platforms to promote it. If I’m doing a big shoot, I’ll post on Twitter and Facebook that people can see behind the scenes on Snapchat. I also have my Snapchat handle on my Twitter profile.
Now that Instagram has their own vision of Snapchat, I’ve removed my Snapchat handle there because I’m trying to decide how to use these two different platforms, which are very similar. I’ll use Instagram more for more curated stories. I have more followers on there; it’s more for potential brands and clients to see so it would be more work-based. Whereas Snapchat is more me, my life. I can be more throwaway and have more fun with it.
What are your tips for photographers who want to try Snapchat?
Don’t overthink it. Run with whatever you think is fun and be genuine. Don’t try to fake it. Be yourself and if people like that they’ll follow you. Be fun with it and don’t overuse the filters. Like I said, they’re never as funny as you think they are.
What other photographers do you like to follow?
There’s a photographer called Felix Kunze. I really like following him because he comes across rather serious in all the other platforms but on Snapchat he’s a bit of a kook. There’s another photographer called Jesse Martineau. He only shoots landscapes so even though that has no real interest to me; his Snapchat is fun because it’s a different world than mine.
I have such a random mix whereas on other platforms you might curate it a lot more. On Instagram, for instance, I would never want to see a feed of a landscape photographer but on Snapchat, I have no problem seeing the life of a landscape photographer if they are a funny, friendly, interesting person.
All photos © Zoë Noble
For more tips to lock down a rep and seal the deal, check out The Photographer’s Guide to Snapchat.