Ambassador Dariane Sanche shares how she built a 100K following on 500px
500px Ambassador Dariane Sanche is a fashion and portrait photographer currently based in Montreal, Canada. She’s been uploading awe-inspiring portraiture to the 500px community since 2014, and recently reached 100,000 followers on the platform. Dariane shares her tips for growing a following on 500px, whether her experienced has changed with a large following, and more on what she hopes fellow creatives take away from her work.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself as a photographer—how did you get started?
A: I grew up in Mont Tremblant, a region of Quebec, Canada. I was inspired by high fashion, haute couture, nature, and textures from a young age. At 9 years old, I started playing with Photoshop while at my dad’s office, where he was a graphic designer. My passion for photography later led me to Montreal.
I got into photography at 17, when I did a photoshoot for a school project. That’s when I realized that I could combine my knowledge of Photoshop with photography.
I’m self-taught, and consider myself as a multidisciplinary artist, with plenty of imagination. I love to hand-craft headpieces for my models and create dresses and costumes.
In this photo series, all of the costumes were handmade by me and the model, Isabelle Forget.
Q: How did you get started on 500px?
A: I actually made my debut on 500px because of my boyfriend. Back in 2014, he told me that I needed to get on 500px to share my work with other passionate photographers, and at the same time, to allow my work to be seen internationally. So on May 7, 2014, I told him to go ahead and create an account for me. To this day, he helps me manage my 500px account.
Q: Was there a specific moment when your photos really started to gain momentum on the platform?
A: Well, just this morning, I went to upload a new picture on 500px and noticed the number of subscribers on my account. I received so many notifications that I couldn’t even go back to the source! One of my pictures was selected for Editors’ Choice, and since then, that photo has been viewed by approximately 500,000 people around the world.
Q: How did it feel when you reached 100,000 followers?
A: I knew that I was close to reaching this goal, which I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time. I was so happy to finally reach 100,000 followers on 500px!
For me, it’s very satisfying to know that more than 100,000 people around the world subscribe to my work because they like my style of photography and wish to see me evolve. I like to read my followers’ comments on my work, and I’m always taking the time to answer them. It helps me to improve my work.
Q: What did you do specifically to grow your audience on 500px?
A: First of all, I only post my best photos, and obviously, I select the category that best fits with the picture I’m posting.
Over time, I also learned to improve the descriptions of my photos with better tags. That way, I get better SEO on the site. Otherwise, I like to participate in the web platform, either in Quests, or simply by commenting on work by other photographers that I admire.
I also try to post on 500px a couple of times a week before breakfast in the morning, at around 9 a.m. EST.
I love to participate in blog opportunities on 500px when they arise. I can share my opinion or ask other members what they think of images that I plan to publish on 500px in Groups, as well. Talking with others and sharing opinions and tips is a great way to grow your audience.
Q: What advice do you have for photographers looking to grow their following on 500px?
A: Keep working on your good work and be innovative in your art.
My first piece of advice for photographers who want to grow their following is to look at your Statson 500px and find the best day and time to post your pictures. You’ll be able to see when you receive the most engagement with your photos. Try to post at different times and you’re sure to see a difference.
Also, good tagging is key. Good keywords will help you be discovered by other photographers who like your work. For example, I do a lot of portraits. So I try to describe the people in the photo in the best possible way.
For example: is there one person on the picture? Is the model a woman or man? Does my model have blonde hair? Freckles? Blue eyes? Is the picture in black and white? Where was the photo taken? How old is the model? What kind of emotion is evident in the photo? How is it framed? Is there an action happening in the picture?
Q: What’s it like to have a small following vs. a large following on 500px? Does it change your experience at all?
A: I would say that my experience was the same with a small or large following. Sure, you receive more likes and comments when you have a large following. But I like to read the comments of my followers and to answer them, which happens either way.
In general, I would say that having a large following can open up more opportunities for work and collaboration, which can be really cool, as a freelance photographer.
Q: What would you say to anyone feeling discouraged when trying to grow their following?
A: I would say never give up, hard work pays off! Growing a following requires a substantial time investment, because you have to be diligent and share pictures regularly.
Try to work differently and challenge yourself. Next time, try to use a new tag to describe your photo, or try posting in a new category. Maybe you’ll reach a new audience and they’ll be more likely to follow you.
Another good method to improve your photography and following is to ask people to comment on your work. Go to 500px Groups and start a conversation about one of your photos (e.g. discuss its framing, editing, light, etc.). This is a great way to receive free feedback on your work, and with every piece of feedback you receive, try to improve your work.
Q: What do you hope people take away from your photos on 500px?
A: I hope people will be inspired by my work, and feel the emotion and story that I want to come across in my photos. I like to focus on the eyes of my models to give each photo a soul.
I’d also be happy if people take away all the little details that I introduce in each photoshoot to create a mood. Sometimes, I’ve handcrafted an entire dress, jacket, or headpiece for a photoshoot. It’s all the little details that create a harmonious photo as a whole.