When you hit ‘Search’ in Google, you get immersed in a virtual environment that resembles a market place. You’re attracted to the fancier stores on the first page and lose your interest as you scroll. What becomes important next are things like website designs, appealing blogs, and catchy titles. So how do photographers promote themselves in the competitive scope of the mysterious web?
When you’re starting a photography business, you are entering this virtual space where your social media presence, website, and blog all become central to acquiring customers. With an abundance of advice online, we gathered information from some of the most trusted sources to help you in your ambitious marketing endeavours and great tips on promoting your photography business online.
The best tips on marketing for photographers
1. Find your niche and stand out from the crowd
Every photographer works in their area of specialty. If you’ve been working in the field for some time, you know that there must be elements in your work or patterns that are reflective of your expertise. However, if you’re just starting out, you might not have thought about this or simply don’t know where to start.
To find a niche you’d like to specialize in, you should explore the most popular photography genres, and read some of the useful articles and quotes for inspiration. You can also answer for yourself some basic questions in order to edge closer to defining your personal style and specialty.
- What do you like photographing the most?
- Which works of the great photographers appeal to you?
- What are the stages that bring you joy?
- Is it the moment of pressing the button and capturing a perfect picture? Or maybe, it’s enhancing your work during the post-processing?
By answering these questions you’ll be able to isolate something unique to offer your clients and make this evident from first glance. This can be done through your main website, or social media, depending on where most of your clients land to discover your business.
Gather thoughts and ideas about what makes you different or stand out from your competitors, and try to channel that spirit through your social media accounts and creative portfolio.
2. Start building a mailing list to get photography clients
Email marketing is a tough one to tackle because it requires a lot of time, expertise, and even special software. What you can do as you’re starting your business is to keep your clients up to date with your latest work. Have a subscription option on your blog to send out your latest work to those interested. There are plugins that can help you with this as well.
Without diving head first the technicalities of email marketing, include subscription buttons on your website and other channels so that people interested in receiving updates will have the opportunity to do so.
With email marketing, the thing you should devote more time to is a copy. Personalization is one of the major trends today, and you can be sure that people are paying a lot of attention to words. Even if your communication style and tone of voice are quite formal, try to make people feel that you are relatable and friendly. Most importantly, stay eloquent, sharp, and brief.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you can appeal to people by sending your latest authentic works. With so many polished and over-edited content around, your existing or potential clients may indeed appreciate that you’re capturing the most valuable moments in an authentic way. They are then more likely to remember you, or forward the email to someone as a recommendation.
3. Build a portfolio that represents you
Your website is the unofficial business card, the face of your business and the first page of your portfolio at the same time. A lot of your success rests on it. Potential clients will sift through websites and make their pick based on what they see.
If you don’t have the skills to build a website from scratch, here’s a tip: find alternative ways to showcase your work. For instance, you can upload your works to portfolio websites, or even stock photography platforms.
Extra tip: Expand your portfolio to microstocks
This approach provides you a lot of photography marketing benefits and does not require a lot of effort. Having uploaded your works to the Depositphotos library, for instance, your images will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of potential clients on a daily basis.
In addition, you can showcase some works from your other jobs (if you have permission and model release forms). What this will do, is give you another marketing channel and help you earn passive income. You’ll also get a chance to earn money in a super easy way, literally by uploading your works, keywording, and enjoying your life while designers, marketers, and business owners are purchasing your images.
4. Put your efforts into SEO
Search engine optimization is important when it comes to traffic. If your portfolio, website or blog are not optimized, how will your clients find you? It is worth your time to look into effective SEO techniques. Some photographers even hire people to take care of their SEO. There are useful tools available such as the Yoast plugin in WordPress which will help you tremendously.
To explore all the technicalities, read our guide on SEO for photographers.
5. Know your ideal client
Knowing your ideal client is important because everything you implement in your photography marketing strategy is targeted at them. Your personal photography style is surely not universal, and you have an ideal client in mind already. Hold that thought.
You can find your target audience by devoting some time to research. Study the geography, demographics, psychographics, and their behavior to later divide your target audience into smaller groups and make the most out of your marketing efforts. Once you know who you’d like to work with, targeting these people with your marketing efforts will not only be more effective, but also save you time.
The information you will find out about your potential clients will be the foundation of your business plan, marketing and advertising strategies.
6. Create impeccable content
One of the things you have to do is keep your blog and social media accounts alive and updated. This lets search engines know that your accounts are active and you will rank higher with fresh content.
Find places where you can get published and share your expertise. Guest blogging is a popular option with professional photographers and it’s yet another opportunity to get exposure. Blog as often as you can and keep your website up and running. This will do wonders for SEO, traffic, and your reputation.
Find photography communities where you can participate in discussions. This can be particular websites in your niche, Reddit and other forums. Spend a little time each day giving advice to other photographers or sharing your ideas for photography on platforms such as Quora. All this is great practice to get your name out there.
7. Dominate social media
In order to dominate social media, one must be omnipresent. This means you need to have all your accounts active and in sync on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. You shouldn’t also forget about Pinterest, the one platform that’s greatly underestimated. Having registered with a business account, this social media will open you up a lot of photography marketing opportunities. It will also make it easier for you to find your perfect clients as initially Pinterest users are fans of photography and design.
Managing all these can be time-consuming but it can be the pivoting point in acquiring new clients. Spread the word on all your social media platforms and you will reach a wider clientele in a shorter span of time. These channels will help you get noticed and perhaps even be key in how many people hear about you and your business. Social media platforms are also great for networking with other professionals, an occasion for learning opportunities.
8. Develop a photography marketing plan
Having a solid marketing plan will help you save time and make it easier to promote your photography business in general. Your main objective is to acquire a solid stream of clients. Earlier, we looked at three important elements to your marketing plan: who is your audience, what is your selling point (niche) and your website.
Other important areas that should be included in your plan are email marketing, social media, SEO optimization, and blog. You need to cover a majority of these points and fit it into your daily routine.
This is a lot of work for one person but you already know that as a photographer, 10% of your work is actual photography and husting makes up the other 90%. You are an entrepreneur after all!
9. Network like your success depends on it
Although we have devoted a lot of attention to your online presence, word of mouth is still a powerful tool and remains valid in the digital age. Attend events, network, and get your name out there. As one famous quote states, “Work hard until you don’t have to introduce yourself”. For now, get creative with your offline marketing and always have your business cards on you.
10. Do one thing everyday to promote your work
If there is one thing you should commit to, it’s doing at least one small step to better yourself and promote your work (online or offline). You might even find inspiration in other fields, such as photography advertising, to inspire new projects and learn to think outside the box. See our article on creative lessons from successful ads and get even more photography marketing ideas on a broader scale. This kind of curiosity should become a habit and you will quickly be able to reap the benefits of your hard work.
As you put into motion things on your ‘to-do’ list and your marketing plan, you will begin to notice patterns. You will see what works and what doesn’t and which area of photography marketing you should invest your time into.
There is a lot of work that goes into promoting your photography business but this is a learning process that never ends. You can always try new things, experiment, and aim to be better. As a photographer, commit to learning and integrating marketing because it will go a long way to helping you with the success of your business.
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