There’s an enduring idea in the post- record label music world that all you need for a successful career is a
thousand real fans of your music, and that
those thousand people will take it to the
world and give you a sustainable audience.
That’s exactly how we see our photography
business, and because of that, everything we
do is built around understanding who our
“super-fans” are and what they love.
Twitter is built on conversations around
links rather than conversations around
images, so it’s not our thing. We tend to
post on Instagram and Facebook daily, on
weekdays only, and we’ll post at a time that
overlaps our audiences in New Zealand,
Australia, southern Europe, New York City and
L.A., which is usually first thing in the morning
or late at night—generally, 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
are our windows.
We’ve found that fans don’t use social
media metrics in the same way that
photographers do; they’re solely interested
in what they’re seeing at face value, how it fits
into the wider story that they’ve become a fan
of and the chance to interact with you, rather
than measuring your posts against someone
else’s. We post stuff that we love, and over the
years we’ve gathered a fan base that loves the
Letting the crowd direct your images
quickly becomes a populist kind of
portfolio, and before you know it, the
potency of your ideas has been dumbed
down to what gets engagement from a
bunch of people lying in bed at night
flicking through Kardashian images.
Posting what we love keeps our feet on the
ground and ensures that we’re living a life not
dictated by social media. It also means we’re
never “panic-posting” or feeling like we’ve
got to keep up with other people. Confidence
is everything when you’re creating and
making, and we have a feeling of connection
to our little tribe of fans that’s really strong.
It comes through in their emails, their DMs
across Instagram and Facebook, and their
responses to our Stories.
If we shouted in the language that social
media likes, we’d definitely have more of a
crowd. But it’d be the kind of crowd you’d
get at a Trump rally; they don’t really serve a
purpose beyond engagement numbers. Our
strategy of putting fans first means we have
a solid line of inquiries all year from couples
around the world who are genuine fans of
ours, meaning that they’re dedicated to us
and we’re dedicated to them.
We work hard to keep posting the same
work, to keep it looking the same, to not
be plugging and promoting, to have a kind
“voice” in all of our interactions, and to
remember that real people and their lives are
what lies at the end of the social media trail.
What we do on social is just one small part of
the fan-building conversation we have with
people, from being genuinely nice people
in-person when we’re shooting, to meeting
people randomly on the street and giving
them the time of day, to answering huge
emails full of questions about a million things
from complete strangers, to Skyping with
random people who want help, to replying
to messages across all of our platforms
regardless of how kind or critical they are.
We keep our eyes on the prize, which is how
lucky we are to do this and how just a handful
of real fans who connected with our work back
in the early days have taken our stuff to a much
wider audience and made it possible for us
to do this wonderful thing we do. We’re not
rockstars; we’re wedding photographers, and
we’re advocates for people in love. We keep
that right at the front of every conversation both
online and offline.
Si Moore is half of the married photo duo Bayly
& Moore, who were named Rf 30 Rising Stars
in 2014. Si is also a musician, who met his wife
after she photographed his band back in 2008.
A case for looking past the numbers
to build a genuine following that
leads to actual connections.
BY SI MOORE
PHOTOS THIS PAGE © BAYLY & MOORE