Learning how to get photography clients may feel overwhelming at first. Over the past decade, photography services have exploded, and there is no better time than now to try new marketing strategies to help you target potential clients as well as existing clients.
With more demand, more experienced photographers have entered the small business world of photography. But fear not, these top 10 secret strategies will put you ahead of the game when it comes to new customers and photography marketing. So let’s dive in!
Disclosure: We earn commissions if you shop through the links below.
1. Identify Your Dream Client
This is your starting point if you want to get more photography clients. Your ideal clients are out there in the world waiting to give you money! But if you don’t know who you are targeting, then how can you begin to grab their attention? Most photographers forget this valuable first step and instead try to sell to anyone who glances in their direction. But if you build connections and learn who your target clients are, you will not only find more clients but more paying clients who want to pay more because you are the solution they have been dreaming of.
Ask yourself these questions when identifying your ideal client:
– Where does my ideal client shop?
– What are some pain points for them when shopping for a photographer?
– How can I be the solution to those pain points?
– Where do my potential clients look for photographers?
– What is my potential client’s income level?
Be very specific when identifying your dream client. Give them a name and a home even! Sue from San Francisco is a stay-at-home mom with a disposable income of 100k a year and is obsessed with Pinterest. Once you identify this family member, always keep them in mind when writing on your website, creating ads, and creating your social media.
2. Network Network Network
Step away from your computer and get outside! Going out and talking about your photography business is one of the best ways to get more photography clients. Take a stack of business cards with you and distribute them to local businesses you could network with. For example, if you are a wedding photographer. Deliver your business cards to local florists, wedding planners, local events, caterers, wedding venues, and other photographers you want to work with.
Also, pay close attention to Facebook groups where your dream clients may hang out, such as mom groups or wedding planning groups.
These marketing efforts will attract clients and help your new business connections with other business owners who will cross-promote you. Another great networking tool to build relationships is to offer a free session for a local company you need to work with, such as the best wedding planners in town. Once they fall in love with your personality and work, they will recommend you to their current clients as your business grows.
3. Give Incentive for Referrals
Creating amazing photographs is not enough in today’s competitive photography market. This is where you should spend time thinking of incentives for existing and potential clients. Offering discounts to a returning customer is a great idea, or even more, you can give them free prints for every new customer they refer to you.
If you want to gain new clients, you need to give them a reason to trust you. This is why referrals are so important; if their friends and family members trust you, they will automatically trust you too. Give your photography clients a reason to remember and love your work by offering them any special promotions that work within your budget.
4. Use Freelancing Websites to Gain New Clients
If you want to get more photography clients, you should join freelancing websites. There are many online gigs available on sites like Freelancer.com, Upwork.com, and Fiverr.com, Airbnb.com. Everything from photo editing jobs to taking photos. Many photographers use freelancing websites to offer mini sessions as well.
If you want your marketing to go further to attract photography clients, it’s important to add yourself to larger websites with a broader audience than your own blogging may produce. Websites like airbnb.com offer virtual and in-person experiences as well. These are great for offering shoots for locals and tourists of teaching photography online.
5. Guest Blog Posting
If you want your photography business to grow faster, consider going further than just your own personal blog. New clients are more likely to find you on bigger reputable sites like Business Insider and Elle Magazine. These famous websites are always looking for more content and will often take articles from guest writers. Every site has a page for guests posts where you can pitch ideas and articles to their editors.
There’s no shortage of topics to pick from. Consider topics like “How to pick the right lens” or “How to take better travel photos”. Your own photography website is far less likely to be found. When using this type of online marketing, every website will allow you an author bio that will link to your online portfolio and bring you a larger client base.
6. Narrow Down your Niche
Photography clients can become overwhelmed when given too many options to choose from. If you want more clients, you have to narrow down your niche. It’s not smart to be the food, wedding, and baby photoshoot expert. Instead, prove your expertise in one genre of photography so that your target audience can recognize you as an industry leader in whatever genre you choose. New clients are more likely to pay full price if they think they are getting the best of the best.
You may be wondering how to narrow down your niche. There are a few key things you should do when deciding which type of photography you want to specialize in.
Here are our top picks to help you get started:
– Define your passions. Do you prefer to be in nature? Do you love children? Food?
– Do you work well under stressful situations? If you like a challenge and fast pace work, maybe wedding photography is for you. If you prefer a slower pace and more detailed oriented photography, then consider food or product photography.
– Research local photographers in the niches you are interested in and ask if they can mentor you. Many times the top photographers need an assistant. You can work for free or for a discounted rate to see if you like the genre of photography you are choosing.
– Work for free for friends and family when practicing the niche. If there is no added stress of being paid, you can freely try different genres and see which ones you enjoy the most.
7. Create Targeted Ads
If you want your photography business to bring in more clients, you must create targeted ads on your social media accounts. Ads work differently on every social media platform. However, we recommend you start with Facebook ads. They are still very affordable for the number of potential customers they reach.
They are easy to set up and even offer you the option to fill in all the information of your target market. For example, if I want to only target moms between the ages of 35 and 40 who live in NYC and interests include family portraits, I can easily do that and set a cap of $20 a day to reach them.
When designing your Facebook ads, remember these key tools:
– 2 to 3 sentences maximum, your marketing should be clear and concise
– Choose a photo where the person is making eye contact with the camera and evoking emotion
– Offer a discount for a new client
– Keep your dream client in mind; remember to mention their pain points and your solution
8. Guest Speaking
Guest speaking at public events is a great way to gain momentum in photography marketing. A potential client may be sitting in the audience or recommend you to a friend.
The opportunities are endless when you begin to think of who to reach out to but try these organizations first:
– Your local church group
– The local chamber of commerce
– Local Library
– Local universities and schools
– Parent-teacher associations
When it comes to topics, these can vary by the organization’s needs but here are some ideas:
– How to take better photos of your children
– How to take the perfect headshot for your business
– Photographers in history who changed the world
After presenting these topic ideas, make sure you tie in your business somehow. For example, if you speak about taking the perfect headshot, you can leave cards with a special discount for you to take their headshot as a portrait photographer who specializes in LinkedIn headshots. Or, if you are speaking about how to photograph children, offer a mini session a few weeks later where you can book multiple families back to back for a discounted rate. Give your past clients and potential clients something to get excited about.
9. Grow Your Online Presence
Social media followers are key to connecting with new clients. Even if your followers are not all in your current city, they will begin to trust and love your work and think of you when recommending a photographer in the area or traveling themselves. If you want to book a photo session using social media, then try these key steps:
– Make your company information clear and present in your bio on any account
– Create automated responses across platforms that respond immediately to inquiries
– Provide useful content such as the best local places to eat when visiting your city
– Showcase your personality and what makes you different from other photographers
– Use platforms like Later.com to auto-post for you, so you are sure to post daily
10. Streamline Your Workflow with SmugMug
Lastly, we vote SmugMug as the primary solution for gaining more clients! As client relations grow, you want to streamline your workflow and photos online. Our top pick is SmugMug’s easy-to-use contact form which plugs directly into your portfolio and landing page on their website. You don’t have to learn how to code or hire a graphic designer. It’s a one-stop-shop for selling and sharing photos as well as showcasing your work and creating a client persona.
Clients are always searching for a sense of ease when doing business. With SmugMug, you can even create Facebook ads and email campaigns, all with the click of a button. Even better, you can sell prints and offer discounts during the holiday seasons to existing customers, so they return to buy more from you long after your session.
Signing up for SmugMug may be the most important solution for your business to gain more clients. If you want to give them a try today, you can start for free by using this link and even gain a 15% discount if you decide to buy after through the same link.
We hope this article answered how to get photography clients. Marketing may be a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and inventive! By using powerful tools like SmugMug, Facebook Ads, Social Media, and Networking, your business is bound to grow exponentially and with ease.
The most important thing to remember is that clients want your services, and by using the right marketing tools, you can help them find you and pay you. Defining your brand and your target audience are some of the first key steps to success, so start there and then use the workflow methods listed above to keep growing and earning. The sky is the limit!