Anatomy of a Viral Success: Seth Casteel, Underwater Dog Photography

By Lori Culwell

I know, it totally seems like I harsh on people for not having their sh$t together, so I thought I would take some time to focus on someone who got everything very, very right and is reaping the benefits of that preparation in his career.

DogsYou probably still don’t know the name “Seth Casteel,” but chances are you’re
familiar with his work.   One year ago, his underwater dog photography series went viral, and because he was prepared, this sudden rush of fame and attention took his career to the next level.

Here is the Facebook album where I (at least) first encountered Casteel’s photography.

Note the caption that appears next to every single photo:

We’re loving this underwater dog series from photographer Seth Casteel.
See more from Seth here: http://www.littlefriendsphoto.com/ 

If you like Seth Casteel’s underwater dog photography,
please show some love and follow his official Facebook page “Little
Friends Photo” here:  https://www.facebook.com/LittleFriendsPhoto

Now, maybe this is the original poster being thorough, but if Seth Casteel hadn’t had an easily-findable website and social media presence, those links wouldn’t have been included, and who knows?  Maybe he wouldn’t have gained thousands of new clients, a print calendar, photo licensing up the wazoo, and a book, all in the past year.  This, friends, is how you do “The Business of Art.”

Let’s take a look at what happened in the “overnight success” story of Seth Casteel.    Here’s what he’s doing right:

Website:  well-organized, clear, easy to get in touch with him.   http://www.littlefriendsphoto.com/index2.php#!/home.

Here’s one thing I love about Seth Casteel:  his website looks great.  It is fully functional, up and running, and he was 100% prepared for the onslaught of attention and new work.   Good looking, brand-appropriate site, clear e-commerce section, Contact Us button is easy to find.  Another thing I love about this site is that the VERY FIRST IMAGE you see reminds you of why you came there—you saw the underwater dog photography on Facebook (or somewhere else), thought it was amazing and innovative, and wanted to see what else this person had going on (or if he could take photos of your dog).

Facebook Fan Page:  Once again, well-organized, up to date, the username is right, and he’s properly using a Facebook Fan Page (not a profile).  https://www.facebook.com/LittleFriendsPhoto

Twitter:   He shoots, he scores again!   This Twitter profile is up to date, it has links back to his main site and Facebook page right there in the profile, and he is regularly answering all of his tweets.  Another example of a creative type being ready for success when it came along.  http://twitter.com/ltlfriendsphoto

Instagram:  There he is again.  Check the link in the center of the profile, right back to his main website.

Wired magazine story:  http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/03/diving-dogs-are-good-catch-for-photographer/

And, so, to sum up:  Seth Casteel has been doing awesome dog photography for many years, and also happens to have been awesomely organized and business-like about his digital presence.  Please take an example from him, and use it to motivate yourself to get organized in anticipation of YOUR big success!

Also, I totally have this book, and it is every bit as cool as it looks.  Get it!

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