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Any artist, whether they consider themselves to be a fine artist or a commercial one, there’s one thing they almost universally agree upon: the hardest part of the job is marketing. And as a photographer, whether you’re focused on increasing sales or finding new clients, don’t you often wish you could place the primary focus back on taking great photographs? By making sure that your marketing plan is up-to-date and taking full advantage of the most effective channels you’ll ensure that the business side of things runs smoothly, allowing you to focus on what matters most, producing great work. Here’s a rundown of the most effective ways to use online marketing, to get your photography business the attention that it needs.

The Basics: A Website

First thing’s first. Even if you’re just starting out treating photography as a business, if you ever plan to make money with this, it’s important to have a dedicated website. While hiring a professional web developer is likely to get you a beautifully designed site, it’s also likely to cost a lot of money and be complicated to keep up. A great option that is more affordable, while still being easy to use is to opt for a website builder such as Squarespace or Wix . You can choose to use a free service such as WordPress or Blogspot , but if choosing this option it’s better to opt for the more robust, paid versions of these services, and if coding is not your forte, then invest in a template that will allow you to build a site that looks beautiful and will display your work at its best. You’ll want to choose a template that is designed for highlighting images and is based around portfolios.

The Components of a Good Webpage

Domain Name: This should be your name, the name of your business, or a variation of your name and a word like “photography,” “wedding photography” or “studios” depending on what you specialize in.

About: Introduce yourself. It’s great to let people add a face to your name, but if you truly hate being in front of the camera a short bio will suffice. Include photography experience, but feel free to add a more personal touch.

Services: You don’t need to include pricing directly on your website if you prefer not to, but you do need to let people know what you’re selling. If you opt not to publish prices have a Call to Action for inquiring about more information that links directly to a form to contact you.

Contact: People need to know how to find you to hire you. Make it easy for them.

Portfolio: You’re a photographer so this is the most important part, where you get to show off your work. Make sure that the formatting of your site works well with the types of images you shoot. Allow people to click through different galleries based on the sorts of work you offer, such as Portraits, Wedding and Landscapes for example.

Social Media: Have buttons that link to your social media account directly from your page. Also, a website will rise in search engine results the more often it is updated. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adding an automated feed from one of your social media accounts. As a photographer, including a well-maintained Instagram feed directly on your site is a great choice.

Using Social Media to Promote Photography

One of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal is social media. There are a wide range of ways to take full advantage of it, so let’s explore what’s out there, and what you should keep in mind as you use social media to build your business.

Branding

You might have personal social media accounts that you use to stay up to date with friends or vent about your day, but in this context, you’ll be using social media for business promotion, and a big part of that is branding. You want to think about how you envision your business, and what sort of tone you’d like to project. Jot down a few notes about how you’d like to think others to view your business and then make sure that you keep that message consistent across social media platforms, both aesthetically and in what you write.

Which Platforms?

The Big Ones: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Currently there are 2 billion people on Facebook, and in 2017 if your business is not on Facebook, a lot of people simply aren’t going to be able to find out. Don’t depend on your personal Facebook page to promote your business. Instead, create a business page, this will allow you to take advantage of analytics and paid advertising. Currently, Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing social media platforms out there, and as a photographer, it’s the perfect choice for you. It is owned by Facebook, so it’s easy to integrate your Instagram account to your Facebook business page and use any paid advertising to complement each other. Twitter is the other main social media network. While it’s more based around language than images, you can include images. If you find Twitter hard to use, don’t invest too much time into it, but instead set up an automated program to share some of your posts from Facebook and Instagram directly onto Twitter, especially highlighting any promotions or news you might have.

Paid Advertising on Social Media

As a small business owner, it might feel like a waste of money to spend it on online advertising. But even a modest investment to advertising through platforms like Facebook and Instagram can lead great results. You’re able to use these advertisements to specifically target those people who are most likely to buy your services.

Use Your Time Wisely: SnapchatPinterest and YouTube

While these three platforms are very visually based, they can turn into a time suck if you’re not careful. You need to weigh your choices carefully. If one of these platforms is especially appealing to you, and you enjoy using it, then go ahead and take full advantage of it. If not, then keep in mind that Snapchat and Pinterest are more niche audience based and less universal than the big three. Snapchat skews very young, while people use Pinterest to gather ideas more than to talk to each other. YouTube is used by a wide audience, but it can take a lot of time to create content, so you may decide it’s not worth your time.

Photography-Specific Social Media

On the other hand, niche platforms like VSCOflickr and Google Photo are already designed just for you. Get on them and connect to a wide community of photographers and photography enthusiasts. Remember, social networks are a community, and they’re a great way to network online just as you would offline. It’s important to participate in the community and build connections. This can lead to creating a presence that leads to word-of-mouth advertising offline.