Finding new photography clients can be a daunting task. These days, it seems like everyone on Instagram claims themselves as photographers. The competition is tougher and fiercer than ever. But fear not, this article will show you how to make new connections and find new clients! Based on our brainstorming, experiences, trials, and research, these are some great starting points to find your next client.
Based on the latest ADWEEK research, 43% of all social media users have purchased a product after sharing, liking, or seeing it – and that includes hiring a creative professional. People are not going to hire you because you can take pretty pictures. They are going to book you for your style and the character of your work. You can start by getting active on various social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Strengthen your online presence by keeping an updated portfolio, engage with your followers, and use hash tags.
Word of mouth marketing is essential. One way to engage in this form of marketing is to reward people for telling their families and friends about your business. You can offer either a photo shoot discount or a free print. Make a poster and announcement of this promo and post it on your website, blog, or social media accounts. It's one of the best ways to get started and promote yourself.
Another technique is to use your current customers to find future customers. When your customers are happy with the work you do for them, they will gladly tell everyone about it. They will even pass around your business cards and links to your website if you make it easy for them to do so. So come to your shoots prepared with business cards and resources. And don’t be afraid to ask your clients to spread the word.
Since people tend to trust the opinions of their friends and family, they are more likely to use the services of someone that their friends and family really like. In fact, most people will ask for advice when they're in need of a service. So when someone is looking for the type of photography you offer, they will very likely ask their personal and professional networks for recommendations. Make sure your name is at the top of this list.
Paid advertising is an investment. But sometimes this is one of the fastest ways to bring in new clients.
There are numerous traditional advertising methods that still work. The most effective are those that showcase your work as part of the ad. You might put one or more of your images on a post card for instance, and mail it to local families or businesses. If you have children, you may be able to purchase advertising in the school newsletter, or pay for sign placement at school events. You might also consider running advertisements in the local newspaper.
On the internet, you can pay for placement almost anywhere. You might choose to promote yourself on social media websites such as Facebook and Instagram, or place advertisements on Google and Bing. You could also sponsor private websites, groups and online discussion boards.
The internet has become so commonplace that no photographer should be without a website of some kind. Even if you have a simple one or two page advertisement style website, that is better than nothing. Ideally, you should have a portfolio that showcases the types and styles of photography you offer.
Some photographers love to blog with their latest images, as a way to keep the website content fresh. This can have beneficial impacts with the search engine listings as well, but that is a time-intensive way to promote yourself. If you have the time or you enjoy the process then by all means, do so. If you don't have the time however, or you do not enjoy blogging, then just be sure to add new images to your portfolio every one to three months.
In the commercial world, brands always need a shot of their product. To get your feet wet in this area, you can try shooting things around you for practice. Whether it’s your collectibles, food, clothes, or books, don’t limit your creativity. Then use social media as a tool to market your photos. Tag associated brand accounts so they notice your works. That’s a great way to build a quick connection with a major contact. If you like some specific brands and think that your works might be their cup of tea, say hello to them and offer a beneficial collaboration for both parties.
If you want to shoot for big business, staying as a non-represented freelancer won’t do much to expand your professional contacts. Global brands and large companies often work with advertising agencies, whose role it is to scout photographers.
You can start by presenting your folios to a few advertising agencies, connect with them on social media, or ask for a possible representation. Sometimes, there is information on how to collaborate on their websites. Be proactive and reach out! You want to make sure that if there’s a suitable project coming up, you’re at the top of their list.
Local, national, and international competitions represent an unexpected way to gain exposure and to improve your reputation for future clients. Big camera brands like Canon, Nikon, Leica, or Olympus often announce competitions every few months. Subscribe to their newsletter to stay informed. With prizes up to $2500, you may be the next lucky winner, giving your work tons of free press and adding to your credibility as a photographer.
If you find yourself struggling to find new clients, we hope you find this article useful. The first few years are often the most difficult, but we promise it’s worth it, especially if you have a love and passion for your work. Good luck and don't forget to have fun!
About the Author:Best known as a photographer duo, Indonesian-Australian Sally Ann & Emily May are sisters who work in the fields of fashion, advertising, and beauty. With notable clients such as Adidas, Tim Tam, and NYLON Magazine, they are known for their quirky, dreamy, and feminine aesthetic. They are currently based in Sydney, Australia. View their Instagram @sally_emilyand website www.sallyemily.com