Updated: May 16, 2019
How do I Get My Photography Business Out There?
Did you know that in my area, there are at least 5,000 photographers?
I am sure there are more than that, but that’s how many people are in a photography group I am in for all of Hampton Roads, Virginia. How do you stick out among the thousands of business owners that are doing the exact same thing as you?
How do you get clients and get bookings- even if you don’t have much experience?
Hold on to your hats folks, buckle up, because we are going to cover all of that right now! . .
Yes, I could tell you that you can spend thousands of dollars on Google Ad Words or Facebook boosting, but what would be the fun in that. Believe me I’ve tried and to no avail and an empty wallet later- my phone still wasn’t ringing.
1. PERSONAL CONNECTIONS IS KEY
You have to start making one-on-one connections with people that you want to work with. Start bringing your camera EVERYWHERE- the park, the yoga class, the baseball field. Make business cards from Vista print, make a shirt from Zazzle and wear it wherever you go.
Start volunteering for events at your community center, neighborhood organization or church- setting up a free headshot booth or easter photo stand. Go to marketing or meet up events with local business owners, moms or students and pass your cards out. Set up a booth at a local fair, school, craft day, art festival or whatever it takes to get involved in community events.
Like sports? Volunteer at local high school events (call ahead first) and ask to take photos. Not seeing any events in the area that cater to your style? Create a cool event – like vintage motorcycle events and invite other photographers to pay to come to it.
Make a video about post about it and show all your followers what kind of work you do!
2. TEAM UP WITH OTHER ARTISTS AND GET EXPOSURE
Don’t have much portfolio- join a wedding styled shoot to get exposure. Host your own and gather a bunch of photo friends over to help you plan it! Every time you get an inquiry or booking- save their email and make a mailing list and send helpful well-written tips and tricks about things you are learning, like “What to wear to family sessions” and send it through something beautiful without a website- like mailchimp
3. The Best Way to advertise your photo business is through VIDEO! Yes, you heard me right.
Go on your phone and make a video about something of value- like “Why you need to print your photos. 2-3 minute video is BEST with subtitles if possible! 80% of all videos are watched, not listened too!
Remember that someone is more likely to trust and invest in a product with a video component (like 100 times more likely) than a photo. So if you need to talk to a friend to film you working and post your behind the scenes on social media- then do that!
When you do get a session- make a nice slideshow about the session on free quik on your phone and post that later in the week. Remember the whole video component? Yeah, it applies here too!
.4. SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE EASIEST, CHEAPEST AND BEST WAY TO ADVERTISE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
Post every day and be consistent on social media even if it's for five minutes a day- even if you don’t have any new work to show. Write about something inspiration, tell a personal story, share a tip or talk to your potential clients about why you love your job. Remember that they need to see you 7 times consistently to know that you are out there! Start asking questions or start polls to gain interaction with your followers!
5. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Don’t know anyone- host a neighborhood BBQ at your place and pass out cards and do free headshots. Ask your local church or girl scout troop to do a session. Reach our to local non profits that need photos in exchange for a review or a tag.
6. FIND YOUR NICHE
Want only weddings? Use good hashtags and possibly even consider investing in GOOD bridal show. Pay for specific wedding ads during the peak of engagement season (November through February and really target your market).
Maybe you aren’t into weddings, but you want to do fashion or editorial, connect with a good studio and learn the ropes and start following all the models that they are already involved there and start doing some TFP shoots (trade shoots).
7. HONE YOUR CRAFT
Aren’t skilled enough and don’t have the equipment or models? Start honing your craft on creative life- where they have tons of FREE and CHEAP pro quality classes taught by the world’s best pros. They have free content streaming literally 24/7 and believe me, this is where I learned the most for my art! What about when you get a job, but you don’t have the knowledge or equipment? Rent!!! Or borrow from friends until your can save up for your own stuff!
8. LET THEM ADVERTISE FOR YOU.
Start doing “model calls” for free or reduced sessions for major holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, Easter, End of School, Start of school, Beach Season, Christmas or anyother holiday that people LOVE photos for! Make sure that your families all sign waivers and model releases so that they can be all over your social media! ..Then ask them to review you on all your social media platforms in exchange for your reduced cost or “free session”.
Word-of-mouth is the NUMBER way that people learn to trust you, invest in your and want to book you. In fact, in my years as social media manger and marketer for over 14 different organizations, it’s probably over 75% of all sells come from word-of-mouth verses google ads or advertisement in general. ..
9. KEEP IT SIMPLE
So after reading all of these great suggestions, you are probably thinking- OMG! I do not have time to do all of these things- there are no way that I can come up with creative content, get my name out there, film myself and still have a life.Don’t get overwhelmed. It will all take time. Make a calendar for yourself. One a week- make something of value- write a helpful post, do a 2 min video or do a creative shoot with friends or potential clients.
Post about what you made or did all week in different ways- buy creating a social media post about what you learned or did. Not a designer- use over or canva for free and stick with the same color scheme and layout to keep it simple and recognizable. Try to post every day or every other day on at least facebook and Instagram- sharing to your personal page as well as your business. (Business pages get hidden, while personal pages get seen more). Start following and friending people that know your friends in the area- the more contacts the better. The posts don’t need to be long- 30 seconds to a minute read MAX- remember- people are looking at their phones between stopping at stop lights and going to the bathroom- so don’t worry about being wordy.
When you do a session- send a thank you note or do a special “thank you” post tagging your client with their images for them to share (even if they are watermarked) you want them to talk about you more than you talk about you! Believe me, a little bit over time will be what you need. I promise that if are making an effort, honing your craft, getting involved in the community and sharing your gift with the world and making it a better place, you WILL get known and you WILL get jobs.
She lives, breathes and does media and marketing pretty much 24-7 for over 14 local business through social media management, website design, photo, video or media coverage or graphic design.
She is a homeschool mom of three, cat lover, sushi eater and poke fan!
She started her business in 2011 with nothing but a $400 camera from Amazon, now she is has been published in over 60 different blogs and websites for her media work and rank top Wedding Photographer in Virginia Beach.