Getting photography clients can seem challenging at first. 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 connect with photography clients and hope it helps you figure out what approaches are best for you.
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How to Connect with 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 networking events. I find them to be 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 way, I started getting more and more leads. It’s very possible to get yourself out there without the crazy hustle.
1. Build A “Good” Website
Having a good website is super important. It’s the face of your business online and everyone is online. Almost all of my clients find me through search and reach out after seeing my website. And, when someone is actually looking for a “food photographer” and my site shows up in their search… well, that’s pretty damn awesome.
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 my website looked and sounded just like everyone else’s. And, Google wasn’t finding my website in searches, because I wasn’t taking some 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. It’s easy to blend in when you follow the crowd.
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 guess what… 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 my 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 Social Media
I’m currently “on pause” with Instagram and social media right now. It can be a great way to connect, show off your work and bring people behind the scenes with you, but it can also be a lot of work to be consistent and engaging with a platform that you have no control over. And, as a food photographer, I get concerned about how easy it is for people to steal my images.
We want to post our work, attract people to our feed and build our own community… and the more you post, the better, right? But, is it worth all the time and effort for people to see your image for a couple of seconds? What if you don’t get a lot of “likes” or “comments?” Does that devalue the work you did? It can really start to feel like a popularity contest depending on what mood the algorithm is in that day.
And, if someone wants to use your images to promote their business, you should get paid for that. The tricky thing is that a lot of people think images posted on social media are free game. It’s really hard to keep track of what happens to them.
But, frustrations with social media aside, I have used Instagram to successfully connect with brands in the past. 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 will use a brand’s product for a personal shoot. I’ll share an image in my stories (not my feed) and tag the brand. After I share my story, I follow up with another DM and usually get a response.
Potential clients love seeing a photographer’s beautiful images, but they especially love to see beautiful images that highlight their product. And, stories are a safe posting place, because they only last for a day and if it’s re-shared, your name is on it.
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. If a brand wants to use the image(s), they will have to work out an image license agreement with me.
Grow Your Email List
A lot of people look to social media to build a community. But, for me, I think having people subscribe to get emails from you is way more effective, not to mention real.
Having a way for people to subscribe to your website or blog is a great way to connect beyond social media. You’re in complete control of your emails and can attract an audience that genuinely wants to hear from you.
You might be thinking, “But, what would I say to people who subscribe to my website or blog?” Well, the options are endless and this is completely up to you.
As photographers, we’re constantly creating and learning, so share new work and ideas could be really interesting. It’s also an opportunity to bring people behind the scenes with you and start conversations about the industry in an effort to connect beyond social media.
However, in order to start collecting emails from your website, you’ll need an email marketing service provider. This helps readers easily subscribe right from your website and their email gets automatically stored in your system so you can keep in touch on topics that you both want to talk about.
I use Flodesk to get email subscribers and have really loved using their platform. I am able to collect emails from my website through simple opt-in forms making the experience easy for my readers who want to stay in touch.
This also makes it easy on me, because Flodesk stores the emails for me and sends emails as I schedule them. 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. This means your Flodesk subscription would only be $19/month when you use the code: SAVE50WITHREGAN.
This has been the best deal that I’ve found, so if you’re considering growing your email list, this would be my recommendation for a provider.
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.
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.