Running your own photography business takes a lot of work and dedication, but it can also be one of the most rewarding endeavors of your life. You get to be your own boss and do what you love for pay. You’re constantly learning and honing your skills, both in photography and business.
Someone photographers love the idea of starting their own business, but they get tripped up on the how. Specifically, how can I make money? How do I find clients? How can become like that awesome portrait/travel/editorial photographer I admire?
For starters, you can make a business plan. A business plan can give you clarity and a path to success. Some business plans are long and complicated, but yours doesn’t have to be. You can begin with a set of defined goals, an action plan, and a timeline.
As part of your action plan, think carefully about how you’ll promote your business in the coming year. Also known as “marketing,” promoting your business is the first step to getting new clients and a regular paycheck. Here are 7 great tips to ensure that your business gets noticed, along with a few recommendations from one of our partners, PhotoWhoa, who offers a wide variety of high-quality resources that will help you promote your photography business.
Create a marketing strategy.
Your marketing strategy is basically your roadmap for promoting your business. It’s important because it can boost your confidence and ensure that you’re making the most of your money and opportunities. Without a strategy, you can end up floundering and feeling awkward about promoting your business.
A marketing strategy is especially crucial for anyone who’s hates networking or advertising in general. If you avoid talking to people or feel uncomfortable speaking up about your work, you definitely need an effective strategy for marketing. It’s essential to your success, both now and in the future.
Creating a marketing strategy isn’t just for beginners, either. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the industry or how many clients you have. You have to stay active and up-to-date with marketing, or else your business will fall behind.
Not sure how to put together a strategy? Check out this fantastic ebook: James Maher’s Creative Freelance Marketing Strategies. It has over 250 pages of insightful advice and practical techniques for presenting your work with confidence, both online and face-to-face.
Have a portfolio site that stands out.
Every successful professional photographer has a nice portfolio site. It’s critical for showcasing your work and building a good reputation. If your website is subpar or nonexistent, you’ll look less professional and end up with fewer clients.
Building a beautiful website doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can use a cheap WordPress theme or a platform like Photler, which caters specifically to photographers. For more inspiration, look through these great portfolio websites from professional photographers that we featured in a previous post.
Go out and find clients.
So you have a business plan, a marketing strategy, and a stunning portfolio site–now what?
Now, it’s time to actually meet people and get clients. For some photographers, this step is the hardest. It takes the idea of a business and turns it into a reality, an actual conversation, and a date on the calendar. And so they wait for the clients to come to them, instead of reaching out to clients themselves.
Hopefully, with a marketing strategy in place, you’re able to contact potential clients without breaking a sweat. However, if you’re still struggling and procrastinating, consider reading Hustle Like An Artist: A Guide to Starting Your Photography Business. It’s much shorter than James Maher’s ebook (just 35 pages instead of 250+), but it’s packed with advice for finding clients, getting hired, and selling your work.
Design awesome flyers.
As you already know, pictures can be powerful. They can cross language barriers and leave deep impressions on their viewers. With this in mind, why settle for business cards when you could give potential clients a flyer with your photos?
Business cards can be useful, but they’re not the most memorable form of marketing. Flyers, on the other hand, are well-suited for photos. They give potential clients a clear view of your work, prices, and abilities. They’re like an elevator pitch on paper.
Designing a flyer can be quick or difficult, depending on your strategy. If you’re trying to design a fantastic flyer from scratch, you might spend a couple days working on it. But if you use a template, it’ll go much faster without sacrificing any style. For instance, you can find some excellent designs in this bundle of 10 templates on PhotoWhoa.
Craft your emails with templates.
Good communication is necessary for good business, but it’s also a huge hassle. Imagine: it’s a perfect day for shooting, but you’re stuck inside, trying to write a tough email to a big client. Perhaps you’re negotiating a refund or asking for a reshoot–something difficult. It’s the last thing you want to do, but it’s also the most important.
You can spend the whole day writing and worrying about this email, instead of going out and getting a prize-winning shot. Fortunately, you can avoid this situation. You don’t have to write everything yourself. You can use email templates, written by professionals, like these 75 templates for photography businesses.
Using email templates can save you countless hours of sitting at your computer, stressing. They’re both more efficient and more effective than your own writing. After all, you’re a professional photographer, not a professional writer. Why try to be one?
Use Instagram professionally.
Instagram is one of the few apps that nearly every professional photographer uses. And if they’re not, they’re missing out on a great opportunity. The platform has over 800 million users, and 500 million of those are active every day. Using the platform professionally can put your work in front of many more people, bringing you more clients organically.
Being a professional on Instagram means being smart and strategic. You have a theme and a plan. You’re not just posting whatever you feel like posting. You’re telling a story and building a brand that attracts people.
If you want to improve your Instagram game, take a look at this ebook, Mastering Instagram for Photographers: Convert Likes into Clients. It’ll give you 47 pages of marketing tips for refining your Instagram account and attracting more followers. Or, if you prefer videos instead of a book, consider signing up for an online course about Instagram, like Instagram Explosion: Photography Edition.
Don’t have the time or brain space for a total overhaul? Consider starting with simple improvements, and move from there. For instance, you could try using better hashtags or choosing a theme for your feed. If nothing else, you could work on posting more eye-catching images. You could even use customizable Instagram templates, which provide flair and variation without draining your time.
Start a Youtube channel.
Next to Instagram, Youtube is a great platform for photographers to build their brand and attract more clients. This is especially true if you’re already creating videos like time-lapse. If you’re already interested in videography, why not use that interest in a way that benefits your business?
Besides time-lapses, you could create videos of your photo shoots, post gear reviews, or provide advice on specific photography techniques. These videos will show clients your expertise and spread your work to a wider audience. While a Youtube channel isn’t strictly necessary for creating a successful business, it can be a big help.
It can also be a lot of fun. Admittedly, Youtube has a learning curve that you have to get through, but with good online resources like this Youtube Marketing Bundle, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the platform and creating your dream business.
Make sure you also check out PhotoWhoa’s mega bundle of 9000 Lightroom Presets to help optimize your post-processing workflow. Because in the end, it’s hard work and the quality of your photography and editing that will set you apart from everyone else and gain the most customers.