One Great Idea – Social Networking With Abby Harenberg

Social networking isn’t just a fad; its now becoming an integral part of everything you do. As I’m out on various social sites every day, I’m always on the look out for someone who is doing something interesting with social. A short while ago, Andrew sent me a link to a photographer he had found on Flickr. He had chatted a bit with her on Facebook, and was impressed with the way she was running her Flickr account. So the conversations started and…

Meet Abby Harenberg.

Abby is a full time professional photographer located in Chicago. Head to her website and you’ll see she’s a wedding, special events, lifestyle and portrait photographer. With her galleries, you can see a good selection of her work. But when you head over to her social accounts, that’s where you begin getting a better feel for some of the things she can do.

One of the things that caught Andrew’s eye was her 365 days of self portraits project for 2010. Every day this year, Abby has taken a self portrait some time during the day. Head over there and you’ll see some amazing angles and ideas. A portrait with her camera. A portrait of her popping bubbles. A portrait like Forrest Gump.

If you’ve never tried a 365 day project before, I would highly recommend it. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you tend to spend weeks working out of your home office. You have to learn to stretch beyond what you are doing for the day, and look at ways to create something out of the ordinary. I’ve seen a variety of ways to do 365 projects – self-portraits, portraits of people, landscapes – so you can really take it from any angle. I enjoyed going through Abby’s work as it taught me a lot about her style and her skill as a photographer. She has a creative eye, and I know those same ideas show up in her clients work as well. And I know that’s what her clients see when they visit her Flickr account as well.

Now that you’ve seen some of Abby’s work, I also asked her a variety of questions about social, and the future of photography.

LORI: We first found you through your social sites. How are your social sites helping grow your photography business?
ABBY: My social sites help me to easily stay connected with people. Everyone can find out who I am and what I do.

LORI: I love your Flicker stream on self portraits. What made you decide to take on the project?
ABBY: 2 of my friends invited me to do the project. I didn’t think I could do it. But I was so surprised at how much fun it is! It is great to know that many of my friends support me with their kind comments and by following the project everyday. Many thanks to each and all of them!!

LORI: Has it brought in any business?
ABBY: Yes and what’s so amazing is that even my kids friends are checking it out!  I am surprised when I find out from local people who tell me which images are their favorites. It feels great! 🙂

LORI: What are your favorite social sites?
ABBY:
1. Twitter
2. Flickr
3. Facebook
in that order at the current moment! These are amazing sites which can help tremendously to your marketing specially when you use them the right way.

LORI: How often do you use them?
ABBY: I use them everyday whenever possible

LORI: Any tips on how to use them better?
ABBY: Be yourself, be positive, be creative and fun! Listen more, talk less. Create a strong network, find the people that have the same interests & likes as you do. Interact with people.

LORI: What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?
ABBY: I see myself in Italy!! 😀 Seriously!! 😉 My goals are very simple. I want to stay busy with Wedding and Lifestyle photography
During the next 5 years my goal is to increase my clients and keep them coming back.

LORI: Italy, sounds good to me too. Andrew and I have made living and traveling around Europe a part of our “bucket list”, so maybe we’ll see you there some day.

LORI: Where do you see the photography industry 5 years from now?
ABBY: I can’t even imagine, the photography industry changes so much from one year to the other with all the new technology. We have to keep up with it to stay competitive.

LORI: Anything else you would like to share?
ABBY: If someone else can do it, you can do it too! Learn from your favorite people.

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