Julian R. Photography
Photographer and Director
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Anatomy of a Viral Picture and how it can help Client's ROI

In today’s world being famous on Social Media can imply swimming in a pool of cash. As incredible as this could sound, having a keen sense of how the Social Media world works can translate to business success and an increase in sales.

As Photographer I have a very interesting position, because I have to create very artistic images that at the same time drive sales for my clients. It is not an easy task and surely it doesn’t have a straightforward recipe to follow.

In this post, I want to give you a few tips and a very specific case as example on how to make your images have incredible traction on Instagram which will translate into benefits for your clients.


The case is my latest image on Instagram.

I created this image for my client Red Carter Swimwear. The brief is clear, create images that sell a lifestyle of Caribbean feel; we want the potential buyers to feel jealous of this girl who is probably in a remote island having tons of fun in the most beautiful bikini, “living the life” you would say. All those ideas are what we try to convey.


Let’s relate that to the viral situation.

Virality is a little more systematic nowadays, it’s not necessarily related to an incredible feat that no-one has done before (although it helps), but rather several elements that, when used together, they generate buzz.

  • Timing. The timing is crucial to generate a conversation about my image. If I share my latest work on a Friday at 9pm, probably not many people will see it; my audience is probably out having fun, or doing something that’s not related with what I do. However, if you are a night club, by all means this would be a fantastic time to try and attract your target audience. CURIOUS FACT:  When I posted this image, I was already a little late for my audience’s schedule. I thought it wouldn’t have that much traction because at mid morning my clients are working and just starting to think about lunch. Lunch will be a better time for them to see my post. In this case it actually worked, so randomness plays in our favor sometimes.

  • Engagement. Getting a million likes sure it’s a phenomenal thing, but to be honest, clicking the heart button is much easier than thinking about a comment and posting it. Having comments in your post, means that your audience really see an extra value to what you are doing and they are going the extra mile to let you know. Engagement is an element that the algorithm will evaluate to give your post a boost.

  • Hashtags. Not any hashtags but meaningful hashtags. Yes, instacool, fun, sun and beach work; however, go beyond and think where your target audience is, what kind of clients do you want to attract and how are they searching to find you. Swimwear Photographer is one that I used, but also Wilhelmina Artists because they represent me, Miami because that’s where Swim Show is taking place. This last one is crucial, because at this time of the year, there will be lots of people/brands attending the Swim Show and being at the top of the hashtag trend could translate into many potential clients seeing your work, or potential buyers seeing your merchandise.

  • Piggyback on National/Local events. Along with timing of the day or day of the week, this is an aspect I thought about when planning my posts for the week. This year, Swim Show is from July 14th through the 17th. Many brands will attend, many people will create images for those brands and many people will be seeing all of that and buying their merchandise. If you are careful, you can use that to boost your work. In my case I have clients who come during this time of the year and hire me to shoot their Advertising Campaign or Cookbook for their new collection. Also, by posting during this week, I will post images from previous jobs so that those clients who haven’t worked with me can see what I’ve done for other people and realize they should work with me.

  • Finally a little bit of luck. As I mentioned before, there is no straightforward formula that you can use to make each post go viral. There are many things that have to align in order for it to happen and luck helps a little bit. I know I’m posting curated content, quality content, content that is relevant to my potential clients and existing clients; but in the end, after using every single trick will not assure me virality.


How can this lucky moment help my business and my existing clients?

Some of the benefits that such a situation will bring is the expansion of my name and my work; this is a dream for any content creator because that means I will earn followers, my work will be shown to a lot of new people, some of which are potential clients and most will be a new audience.

My name will establish even more as a leader in my niche and will get stronger when I present myself to a potential client.

My actual client will get indirect benefits because I did the job for them, I am sharing it to my own audience which is comprised of people who are not necessarily buyers of the brand. They will see who my client is and they will check their profile, this can translate into new purchases to them, so the increases the ROI of hiring me to do their jobs.

To Potential Clients it will impress them to learn that hiring me means:

  •  They are dealing with a Traditional Professional who knows what he’s doing and how needs to be done. Someone who understands their business needs and how to solve those needs through imagery.

  • An artist who is represented by one of the Top Agencies in the USA. That will give them peace of mind in regards to the quality they will be getting and that each dollar will be an investment to the brand rather than an expense.

  • The possibility to reach a greater audience since I will publish some of the work in my feed. In my own end I have a large following and a diverse audience who are indirectly, potential clients to the brand.

  • The fact that my images have some kind of vitality, that means the possibility of reaching an unknown number of potential clients.


The fact that I’m posting my client’s work in my own feed and having my following see it and interact with it, is something that clients are looking for nowadays. 



* At the time of this article’s publication, the image had 1,795 likes and 21 comments. and it keeps growing.

It is number 1 in the #swimshow, which has 12.1k posts

It is number 1 in the #wilhelminaartists, which has 1,450 posts

It is number 4 in the #redcarter, which has 3,457 posts

It is in the top 20 in the #photoproduction, which has 40k posts