So you have set up your photography business. Yay! Good for you, you’ve taken a big step forward, but now what? You have a business name, a good start on your portfolio, so why aren’t the clients knocking down your door?
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but they’re not going to-not yet anyways. Finding photography clients takes some time and a bit of work. It can be a slow process to get a consistent stream of people who want to book with you. It is not something that happens overnight, so don’t get down on yourself if you don’t see fast results. It takes work to market and build your photography business.
But I’m here to help! Here are 21 things you can start doing today to set yourself up to get lots and lots of photography clients in the long run. (Most of these I have done at some point myself! Some work better in different markets)
1.Write a blog post
I can’t stress this enough. It’s the number one thing on this list for a reason. I know it’s intimidating and I know you might not know what to say, but in the long term it will help you tremendously get better rankings with Google AND create a trust with your ideal client. Start today with this. Be consistent and then thank me this time next year;) (Don’t have a blog or website yet? Check out Wix for great photography templates to get you started!)
2. Shoot for FREE
Yes, I said it. Do some work in your community for free. Volunteer your services at local events in your community. It will build your brand and get your name out there and showcase your company as part of the community
3. Ask if you can hang some of your work up at your local YMCA or gym.
4. Start an email list
Not sure how? Check out ConvertKit, which is a super easy email service which helps you get set up collecting emails from people who visit your site.? It is a small investment, but well worth it in the long run.
5. Build a website
Not a free one. Find a web host and a template and create a site that will start earning you SEO points with Google. This will help you BIG time if you plan on your business sticking around for awhile.. (Not sure how to set up a site- read here to find out how)
6. Donate your time at your child’s school (or a local school) to photograph a school function.
Pass your card out at the function, talk with people there and have people download their photos through your site or a password protected online gallery like Shootproof.
7. Donate your time to a local sports league taking photos of a game.
8. Tell people you are a photographer.
OK, this might seem a little weird. BUT, how many of you feel a little silly (if you are just starting out) when you tell people your career is a photographer. I get it, it’s weird when you don’t really have clients and you’re making pennies a month. But the more people you tell when you are out and about in your daily routine, the more people will start to make a connection with you as the local photographer. They might not need your services now, but they might come in contact with someone they know that does and refer them to YOU!
9. Ask your doctor’s or pediatrician’s office if you can hang work in their office
OR better yet, offer a free shoot to the doctor if they will allow you to hang your photos of their family and cards in their office.
10. Create an Instagram account for your business. Make sure to hashtag with terms that people in your area would search for.
11. Get out from behind your computer.
It takes time to build up a strong web presence that is large enough for people to find you that way. So if you are just starting out, don’t spent all of your time posting to Facebook or Instagram because you will hear crickets. Today, actually right now, go somewhere or call up someone real that you can talk to about promoting your business (not sure who? Take a look again through this list for ideas)
12. Add your business logo and/or website link to your email signature (business and personal).
Think of all the emails you send out in a week. Maybe to your child’s teacher, work colleagues, relatives, etc.? Having your link in your signature is a subtle way of branding yourself and getting your name out there.
13. Make business cards. And pass them out whenever you can
14.Create a referral program
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. But just think, if for each person who has a session with you, told one more person to schedule with you that’s double your clients! But wait, what if they told 2 or three people and then those people booked and told 2 or three of their friends. See what happening here. Give great service and produce beautiful photos, but also give them an additional reason to mention your name. (Maybe a free print credit or session fee with each referral)
15. Believe you will get lots of clients
Now I know some of you might be rolling your eyes a little bit at this one, but let me tell you right now- if you have the attitude that NO ONE is going to book with you, that you can’t possibly get any clients, if you think who will pay my prices or I can never get that many bookings—then that is EXACTLY what will happen. On the other hand if you can envision booking sessions and taking on paying clients. IF you believe that it will happen, trust me it will.
16. Start a Pinterest account for your business and pin your photos
Make sure when you do this you are naming the photos after what people in your town would be searching for (ex: YOUR TOWN family photographer)
17. Partner with a realtor in your area.
Think about this. Realtors meet lots of people everyday. People who are looking for new homes and will need to decorate their homes (with family pictures!) Offer the realtors a special gift from you to give to their clients who purchase homes. Maybe a free session fee or price session-get creative!)
18. See if there is a local coffee shop that would allow you to hang work in their shop.
19. Make a T-shirt with your logo on it.
When you are out taking pictures at park or public place- even if you are just practicing on your kids, wear the shirt. It may get people asking questions or at the very least promote your brand and get your logo seen.
20. Check to see if there are any art shows in your area. Register for them and show off what you’ve got!
21. Write another blog post.
Wonder why this is on the list twice? In a world of internet marketing, blogging will get you seen which means more potential clients. Just do it. You’ll thank me later;) Need to start one? Take a peek here.
(Not sure what to write? This will help you out Read How To Blog A Photography Session)
Now it’s up to you! Try a few of the things on the list and see what happens. The important thing to remember is that marketing is a process and it does take work and time, so just keep at it and you’ll get there!
Do you have something that worked for you to gain more photography clients?? Let us know in a comment below!
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