Post Author: Wiktor Deregowski

Reading time: 8 minutes

Instagram Ads for Photographers

It’s no surprise: now, in 2022, Instagram is crucial for every professional photographer. If you want to be booked for the whole year (or even two) in advance, you have to be present on Instagram. Especially since April 9, 2012 when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold their platform to Facebook, Inc. This purchase connected two of the most recognized names in Social Media (yes, even then) into one and only helped further propel Instagram’s rapid growth. But not only this; the buyout also put two different ad systems into one. Thus, A/B testing now should not only be focused on particular ads, but also testing different channels and verifying the results. In this article, we’ll continue our e-marketing journey as a professional photographer and dig deeper into the proper strategies for Instagram Ads campaigns.

Facebook is not enough

In the previous article, we covered starting a Facebook campaign for Wedding Photographers (CLICK). We still think that it should be your first choice when it comes to running first ads, because its ad system (Ads Manager) is actually based on Facebook. However, when you’ll learn the basics of FB Ads you can surely extend your marketing activities on Instagram. Here is a simple graph showing why you should start that…

Instagram bought by Facebook


Of course, the number of users is only one reason. Alas, as a professional photographer, you should think of a different logic: Instagram is all about the visual experience! People use this platform on their Mobiles where the whole screen is covered with the image (and only after scrolling down the post you can see two lines of text). So, you have the perfect possibility to amaze the right audience with the best possible photo!

Let's Start Instagram Ads

First of all, we have to connect your Instagram account with your Facebook Fanpage – otherwise, you won’t be able to promote Instagram posts that already exist (for those who already have done it, you can skip this paragraph). Enter your Business Page settings and select Instagram on your left.

Connect Instagram with your Facebook Fanpage


Now, please fill your login and password and just continue with the whole process.

Go to the Ads Manager, select your Ad Account, and click the green button “Create”

Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook Ads Manager

Now, we can see multiple different objectives. In a case of Instagram Ads, we strongly suggest to use two of them:

• Traffic
• Engagement

Especially the first one is valuable for your Instagram page because it will differ from other organic posts on the platform. This post will actually have a CTA button that can transfer users to the appropriate landing page. Also, as mentioned, this will make your post appear unique and more visible among other posts.

Instagram Post without CTAInstagram post without CTA

Instagram Post with CTAInstagram post with CTA

Extra tip!

You can actually use this option when doing some special campaigns (such as occasional mini-sessions) and add text on the image telling people to click on the button below. In this way your Click-Through-Rate will be higher, and the cost of the ad – LOWER! :)

At this stage, you can name your Campaign. We strongly suggest adding the phrase “Instagram”, so that it will be easier to analyse with other campaigns. 

Proper targeting on Instagram

Ladies and Gentlemen: let’s use (probably) the biggest Big Data possible! Thankfully, Instagram has exactly the same targeting system as Facebook, so we can be almost 100% sure that our target group is extremely accurate. In fact, we can actually select the “People who live in this location”, their age, and what’s most important – their relationship status. Below, please find our proposition for targeting engaged couples.

Instagram Targeting for Photographers

Facebook Ads Manager


- Let’s add the following: Engaged (Relationship Status), Newly engaged 1 year (Demographics), Newly-engaged 6 months (Demographics), Newly engaged 3 months (Demographics),

Now, in the case of our example, we’ve narrowed it down to the potential reach of 36,000 people (you can see it in the bar on your right). You should expand it or lower it according to your budget.

How to Choose Detailed Targeting

Facebook Ads Manager

In order to master targeting on “Potential Couples” read our section Bring valuable traffic to your website in the article: Facebook Ads for Wedding Photographers – How to master it?

How to set an Ad on Instagram?

We reached the section when the system asks us about ad Placements. Here you have to be really careful about what you actually select because Ads Manager randomly selects “Automatic Placements” and even states that it’s “Recommended” (huh!).
So, what you have to do is to click “Edit Placements” and deselect everything but “Instagram Feed”. Please notice that this section might look different on your profile because Facebook starts introducing new layouts to other users.


Facebook Ads Manager

When selecting a proper Placement we also suggest limiting your Ad only to people who use their Mobile phones. Why?

Mainly because people who use Instagram on their desktop are people who use it for work (i.e. marketing agencies, social media ninjas, etc), and that’s why the CTR for desktop users is much lower than for Mobile. What is more, Instagram is an App and couples often view Instagram together on a mobile phone. But as always – you can test it on your own and see what’s better :)

Target mobile only

Facebook Ads Manager

Regarding the Budget & Schedule section be sure to select “Landing Page Views” (not Clicks), but only in case when you have Facebook Pixel installed on your website (don’t worry – we’ll cover Pixel’s possibilities in the upcoming article!). This option will optimize your Ad according to the real views of your website (Pixel will send feedback information to the Ad System that the user who clicked on the Ad actually spent some valuable time on your website).

This information can be crucial for Facebook when selecting the proper target group – the system can actually choose traffic that will actually interact with your landing page, while choosing Clicks will just focus Facebook on bringing you higher CTR rate (which in theory might be cheaper, but less valuable).

Now, we can create our Budget and Schedule – here we suggest using a 3-7 day period for one Ad Set. Less than 3 days might not be enough for Facebook to find the right audience and establish good Cost per LPV. In case of Budget, Facebook Marketing Experts always advise to spend more :) However, using 30-80 USD might be enough to see whether an Ad performs well and can be scalable. Now, we can click “Continue”!

Boosting Post on Instagram

We strongly advise to boost a post which already exists rather than creating a new one in the form of a “Dark Post”. The most important reason for doing so is the fact that the number of “Likes” for already existing posts increases both – Organically and via Ads, while selecting “Create Ad” will not give you the opportunity to improve your listing (and it’s really cool to have your Likes accumulated in the profile, and not to waste it as a Dark Post!). Plus, when a user after clicking the Ad, will go to his Feed, and later will visit your profile again, he or she will see the particular post that he or she actually clicked. This is a very popular scenario, but the problem with this is that users won’t see your ad unless it’s a regular post that is promoted.

Thus, before we click anything more within the Ads Manager, let’s go to your Instagram App and add the post that you want to promote. It is also advisable to tag as many objects as possible. Remember that this photo will be promoted so in the description add info to click the button (don’t worry the button WILL show up later ;) )


So, let's select "Use Existing Post", and choose the proper Instagram account. 

Boost Existing Posts - InstagramFacebook Business Manager


When you click “Select Post” select “Instagram” and here you’ll see all the possible posts for promoting (some Instagram posts cannot be promoted, for example, if they contain too many slides). So, select the one that you want to promote and click “Continue”.

Now, you can finally add a button to your post, by entering the website’s URL in the red space. This link will be “covered” as a button, so you can use UTM tagging within the link.

Now, let’s select the appropriate “Call To Action” button (you can choose among 15 options, so you can balance the tone of your message), and turn on the “Facebook Pixel.
Instagram Ads for Photographers

Facebook Business Manager


All is set - we can click "Confirm"!

#winning? Not yet!

Ok, so you have successfully started your Instagram campaign. However, one Ad is not enough. A/B testing is the key to success, so we advise you to go to your Ads section in your Ads Manager and create another Ad after 1 day (in the same way, but within the same Ad Set) and see the results. If the Cost-Per-Click will be higher for the “B” Ad then simply turn it off.

I really hope that the proposed method will help you to get more clients from Instagram, and remember: always test your visuals as well as your copywriting. Even proper campaigns and targeting won’t gain you any positive feedback (techincallly wise) unless it’s done with a really nice idea and … something that you have a lot of: WONDERFUL PHOTOS! 🙂 

Do you want to learn more about Digital Marketing for Photographers? Download our FREE Complete Guide - click on the button below!



Let us know in the comment section what is your experience with Instagram, and if you happen to have any questions – we’re here to help you!

Please bear in mind that Business Manager may look different on your profile, because it changes dynamically.

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