Starting a Photography Business: How to Get Clients
Creating a constant flow of work is always at the top of every photographer’s mind. We’ve put together some ideas to help you get more clients now.
As Thomas Jefferson eloquently stated “I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Always be promoting and when a potential client has a need, you’ll be at the top of their mind. (1)
Find Your Niche
Make yourself stand out from the pack by perfecting your skills in one area. Great with kids? Have a portfolio of the perfect pour shots?
Build Relationships with Social Media
Instagram and Pinterest are the ultimate platforms for getting work noticed. Search for contacts from your ideal clients and be sure to interact often.
Optimize Your Website
Content is King
Who are your clients and what information are they seeking before deciding to hire you? Rewrite your content to ensure the correct message is getting through.(2)
Become an SEO Guru
Use free tools such as Google Keyword tool to find a phrase for which you want to be ranked (ex Miami portrait photographer). Work this phrase into your site’s content and aim for 2-3 mentions per page.
Use Multiple Direct Mail Channels
Build a Mailing List
Find association or trade buildings in your area (such as the D&D Building in New York). Their websites list tenants’ contact information. Be sure to call first to make sure they are open to receiving your information.
If you’re going to do a newsletter make sure the content is unique and relevant to avoid unsubscribers down the road. Start off with a quarterly issue to test the waters. If you don’t have time to write if yourself, look for a qualified writer on sites such as Elance or Craigslist. Offering discounts and coupons through both platforms will help you test to see what type of content is working.
Use Vistaprint to create a low-cost, 5” x 8” glossy postcard featuring your best shots. Mail to your potential client list and always carry some with you to hand out.
The rise of self-publishing in the past few years makes it easier than ever to create a customized book for your work. Try using sites such as Blurb and Adorma Pix. If you’re a Mac user, Apple iPhoto offers a wide selection of styles and sizes to choose from. While postcards or eblasts act as reminders, your photobook will be a “keeper” for clients to have at the ready when searching for a potential photographer.(2)
How Do You Show Up Online?
In the marketing biz it’s known as “Online Reputation Management.” Essentially it’s how often and how well you show up in directories and how robust the profiles are.
What search engine results turn up after a quick Google search of your studio? An alternate approach is to try a site like Yext or Brand Yourself. You can generate an in-depth report that analyzes your reputation internet-wide. For a small fee you can pay sites such as Yext to fix your listings, however you can also do it yourself by devoting just 1-2 hours per week to the project.
See more: Branding Your Photo Studio Effectively
Pick the Top 10
Make a list of the 10 most crucial places you want to be listed such as Google Places, your local Patch site and Manta.
Do Your Research
Read trade magazines, media columns and websites for the scoop on what pubs have hired new photo editors. They’ll be looking to bring in fresh talent.
Boots on the Ground
Join a local group or association and offer to give a free talk. It’s also a great way to build your direct mail lists.
Drive, Baby, Drive!
Cruise around local business parks in your area. You’ll be surprised by what companies you’ll find and how many need professional imagery.
It may seem overwhelming when it comes to finding and getting clients. Try incorporating just a few of these techniques each month and before you know it you’ll have a full schedule of work every week.