Getting photography clients can be challenging. There are a lot of different ways to market yourself and every photographer is different in how they approach it. In this post, I’m going to share how I get photography clients and hope it helps you figure out what approaches are best for you.
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How I Get Photography Clients
When it comes to getting photography clients, I think it’s really important to look at the options and figure out what methods make the most sense for you, your time and your budget.
First of all, I’m not a big fan of “the hustle.” I don’t go to portfolio reviews or many networking events. I’ve tried them in the past and didn’t see much success. I found them to be one-sided, time consuming, potentially expensive and exhausting. I’ve burned myself out in the past and my work suffered because of it. But, once I started approaching clients in a more simplified, direct and mutually beneficial way, I started getting more and more leads. It’s very possible to “get yourself out there” without the burnout.
1. Build A “Good” Website
Having a good website is gold. It’s the face of your business online and everyone is online. Almost all of my clients find me through search or reach out after getting a link to my website.
This doesn’t mean that you should publish a website and wait around for clients to find you. You’ll want to get your website out there once it’s ready. And, no matter what your marketing strategy is, a potential client is always going to be led back to your website to see your work. It’s important to do your website right.
My website wasn’t a very successful marketing tool for me at first, though. In the beginning, I would find a pretty template, add tons of work and my email and hit publish. Does this sound familiar?
The problem was that my website wasn’t really helping me stand out to potential clients, because I was doing what everyone else was doing. And, Google wasn’t finding my website in searches, because I was missing some very important steps to make my website actually do its job.
When it comes to having a “good” website, it takes more than showcasing your work. Your beautiful images are very important, but your images alone don’t help Google find you and they don’t necessarily make you stand out from everyone else. Doing what everyone else is doing is a big part of the problem. How are you different? Does your website talk about and show how you’re different? Consider the following things to improve your website…
- H1-H2-H3 tags
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Google Analytics
For ideal clients:
- Brand statement
- Client list
- A badass (and curated) portfolio
- About page
- An easy way to contact you (Tip: Don’t use a form.)
I didn’t know all of this in the beginning. But, ever since I took the time to get some help and fix these issues, my website has been my shining star when it comes to attracting my ideal clients.
Related Post: How To Improve Your Photography Website
2. Drive Traffic Using Pinterest
Pinterest is a MUST for driving traffic to your website. I personally think all photographers should have a business account on Pinterest to help get more people to their site. Photographers are all about beautiful images and so is Pinterest. It’s a visual search engine and it has the potential to be your website’s BFF.
Consider this simple (and popular) scenario: A creative director is putting together a mood board for a food brand. He or she will need pretty images to help communicate the mood they’re going for. So, they hop onto Pinterest and search “beautiful food photography.” Chances are, if you are pinning often and strategically, they will probably see some of your work and will click over to your website.
You do have to pin often for Pinterest to work for you, though. In order to avoid the Pinterest hustle, I recommend a program called Tailwind. It lets you schedule several pins in advance, so you can spend less time pinning and more time shooting.
3. Reach Out On LinkedIn
Sometimes people laugh at me when I say that I also use LinkedIn to connect with potential clients. Clearly, LinkedIn gets forgotten about as a business tool amongst creatives. But, the truth is, LinkedIn is a great business tool and it can be really effective for reaching your ideal clients. People use LinkedIn for job opportunities, professional connections and industry news, trends and insights. Why not use this to your advantage as a photographer?
LinkedIn is a great way to share your updated work with your network, make new connections, see mutual connections and grow your professional community. Mutual connections are a huge bonus and LinkedIn shows you all this for free. If someone you both know can introduce you to each other, how cool is that? And, if you don’t have a direct email for someone (please don’t ever use a company’s generic email), you can always reach out to an actual person through a direct message on LinkedIn. Overall, I have found LinkedIn to be a very powerful business tool.
Related Post: Getting Started in Food Photography
4. Word of Mouth & Testimonials
We all know that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. If someone you have worked with or know personally can recommend you to a potential new client, it’s a beautiful thing. Ask your mutual connections to connect you through an introductory email or a quick call. People trust people they know and like and getting hired as a photographer has A LOT to do with trust.
I also request testimonials from clients so I can add them to my website. Don’t be afraid to ask for this from clients you’ve worked with in the past. Words of praise from happy clients is really valuable. It’s just like reading reviews before purchasing a product. When you see a lot of good reviews, it makes you more confident to invest.
5. Connect On Instagram
I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. It’s a great way to connect, show off your work and bring people behind the scenes with you. And, EVERYONE is scrolling through Instagram. It’s absolutely a solid option for building your network and connecting with potential clients.
However, as a photographer, Instagram makes it very easy for people to steal my work. It has happened a lot and it’s a harsh reality to face about the platform, because it’s not easy to track this. Be careful of this as you freely share your work. Try not to let anyone use your work without your permission, credit and an image license. If someone wants to use your images to promote their business, you should get paid for that. Think about how much time and expertise you put into that image… Exposure and a photo credit don’t pay the bills, am I right?
Frustrations aside, I have been able to form some great partnerships with brands by connecting on Instagram. When I want to get a brand’s attention, I will start with sending an introductory DM. If that doesn’t get a response and I have the time, I might use a brand’s product for a personal shoot. I’ll share the image in my stories and tag the brand. After I share my story, I follow up with another DM re-introducing myself and share a link to my website. This seems to get more responses.
Potential clients love seeing a photographer’s beautiful images, but they especially love to see beautiful images that highlight their product.
I don’t look at this approach as doing free work either. If I like a brand and am inspired to do a shoot, it’s a win-win for me and for them. I am creating new content for my portfolio (on my own terms) and hopefully forming a new connection at the same time. I also only share these images in my stories, not my feed.
Grow Your Email List
Having a way for people to subscribe to your website (or blog) is a great way to connect beyond social media. People who subscribe to get your emails clearly want to know what you’re up to. You are providing something of value that they’re interested in knowing more about and they’re providing you with their email, which is also valuable.
You might be thinking, “But, what would I say to people who subscribe to my website?” Well, the options are endless. As photographers, we’re constantly creating, so share new work with them. It’s also an opportunity to bring people behind the scenes with you, which people loooooove.
In order to start collecting emails from your website, you’ll need an email marketing service provider. This will allow readers to subscribe right from your website and their email will get stored in the segment of your choice so you can send and schedule emails in a timely manner that works for you.
I use Flodesk to get email subscribers and love using their platform. I am able to collect emails from my website through simple opt-in forms making the experience easy for me and for my readers who want to stay in touch. Flodesk also has simple and beautiful templates to work with depending on what kind of email you’re sending (image-focused or text-focused).
Flodesk is usually $38/month, but since I’ve partnered up with them, I can get you 50% off your monthly subscription forever. Your Flodesk subscription would only be $19/month if you use code: SAVE50WITHREGAN. It has been the best deal that I’ve found when it comes to email marketing providers.
At the end of the day, no matter what tools you use to connect with potential clients, you need to do what’s best for you so you have time and energy for the other areas of your business. If you focus on methods that cost too much money, take up too much time or simply exhaust you, it is going to burn you out.
How do you market yourself to potential photography clients? Did any of the tools or methods I mentioned surprise you? Add your comments below so we can keep this conversation open to support fellow photographers and entrepreneurs.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2020.