Top 5 Ways You Can Market Your Services As A Photographer (and free up time in the process)

After graduating from art school ask yourself “Do I know marketing?” If the answer is no then you better hurry and learn. Most art schools, even the private ones do not make this a requirement. It’s usually an optional/elective course. It’s a very big mistake because what good is it if you’ve made the most amazing body of work but no one knows about it?

The marketing of services is an important skill for anyone in any field. In this post I will be narrowing my focus to photographers. The first thing I will talk about is the difference between advertising and marketing. Advertising is just one component, or piece, of marketing. Marketing encompasses every way you communicate with your prospect whether it be through direct mail, your website, email, social media, your blog etc. Marketing is basically how you promote and sell your products and/or services. I will go over the following ways to market your services as photographer:

• Your network

• Advertising

• Your website

• Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)

• Blogs

Your network

I have chosen to go over this first because it is a place that I overlooked and failed to develop when starting out. There is nothing more valuable then your network. With today’s connected social-web it is a lot easier to build meaningful relationships. So first thing you have to make sure your social media profiles are optimized (more on this later).

Don’t just send friend requests! Look for photographers in your space even if they’re your competition. Or look for professionals that you can cross-promote with. For example, if you do architectural photography then you should be looking to connect with architects and designers. Send them a personal note whether on Facebook or LinkedIn. Make it obvious that you know their work and want to learn more. Later on down the line, this can work similar to a personal letter of application. Offer some valuable insight on how they can make something better. A great way of doing this is to provide something of value for free, like a photo or great infographic.

Another great tactic that I am going to start implementing soon is seeing what connections you already have that know the connections you’re seeking to make. For example, if you want to meet the marketing director at Hasselblad. You can type Hasselblad into the search bar in LinkedIn and it’ll give you all of the people who work at Hasselblad who are on LinkedIn. In turn you’ll see what connections you may have in common with them. A connection you already have can introduce you to them!

Look at events, meet ups and openings (exhibits) where these people might be and attend them regularly. Don’t just hand out your card, build relationships and connect with people. Be yourself.

Advertising

There are several forms of advertising available today from print to the Internet. If you want to learn Facebook PPC read this post. If you want to learn about search engine PPC read this other post.

Local arts publications, magazines and newspapers are great places to advertise just make sure they’re in your space. If you do pet photography don’t advertise in guns and ammo magazine (you can always try if you want). When starting out it’s not necessary to have a full-page ad or even a half page ad if you can’t afford it. Think about sharing costs with other companies that will benefit from being on the same advertisement as you (cross-promotion). With everything in marketing it takes consistency and time. Don’t just try things once and see if it works, you’ll have to try a few times, be testing and testing, then tweaking small things at a time.

Once you gotten through a few ad campaigns it’s a good idea to hire someone to just run your campaigns. You can prepare them on an excel spreadsheet for example, and just send them the headline, photo and body copy for several ads.

Interior photo — Nina B. Design (Copyright © Onelfri Villar Photography 2015)

Your website

This is where you showcase your portfolio and show off what clients you’ve worked for. The three most important aspects of a photographer’s website are: portfolio, blog and information (contact/about). You can show off the clients you’ve worked for in your portfolio/blog to minimize having too many pages. I will talk about the importance of having a blog below.

Your work needs to be focused, especially on your website. Focus on your strengths and make it clear on your landing page. What kind of work do you do? Does your visitor know upon immediately landing on your site? If you do work in two totally different categories than have two websites or share the other work on your blog.

Great design is crucial. If you don’t have a design background or experience in design hire a designer! Go to sites like Upwork or Fiverr. If you’ve got some design background then use the tools available depending on the platform you’re using. Try sketching (pencil and paper) and don’t get too much into the technical stuff. It’s best to hire someone to get technical details down for you. Don’t try and focus on too many things at once.

About sections are crucial. You don’t want to share your whole story just something that’s going to connect with your prospect, people usually don’t care where you came from.

So many Social Media Channels…

Social Media Channels

This has grown in importance and popularity in the past couple of years. Engagement is the key, not posting over and over with no engagement. Use each channel differently. Don’t post the same thing on all your social media networks.

Definitely use the biggest social media network Facebook. Create a separate page for your business. Optimize your page and profile. Use a great cover photo and profile picture, preferably one that brands you. One idea is a photo of you shooting. Make sure you fill-in the details in about sections, info etc.

Share value in your updates. Don’t only provide updates on your latest work but give tips on how to do something in photography. For example, “how I made more money in photography by renting equipment.”

Use the “networking” park of the social media networks. Get to know people in your space/niche and people related to it. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer network with wedding planners, wedding magazines and florists to name a few. Interact and engage with them not only on social but other blogs and forums. If you don’t want to send random messages then send them a free photo first with rights to use it however they want to.

There are so many automation tools available today for social media marketing. To mention some (paid and free): Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Ifttt. More resources here.

Blogging

If you don’t have a blog then make a sub domain on your site for it now. Or create a free one on Wordpress. Then again if you’re reading this on Medium then you most likely have a blog. If so then great!

The key to blogging is to be consistent and provide unique information. Be detailed. Appeal to your space. Create irresistible content. If you don’t enjoy writing I recommend getting some articles done for you on sites like Upwork and Pro Blogger Job Board. Get to know some good writers in your space and check off blogging on your list. More time for shooting.

It’s really amazing how far education online has gone. Check out Creative Live (which I have no affiliation) for great video content.

With all these marketing methods it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t. Choose one method and learn it. Get good at it. If it’s not working for you then move on to another one but give it time. Once you’ve learned one you can hire an assistant (virtual if possible) and free up time for shooting.

I’ll talk about additional ways to market your photography in a future post. In the mean time go look at this post on my blog: http://onelfri.com/get-my-website-seen/

Here’s a preview:

Ways to get your website seen