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  • Writer's pictureAbdul Qudoos

How to Get Photography Clients in 7 Easy Steps


how to get photography clients

You love photography, but you hate looking for new clients. Right?


You wish you could focus on your craft, but you have to deal with the hassle of marketing yourself. 


You need a solution and a strategy to get more photography customers who respect your work and pay you well.


That’s why we created this ultimate guide, where we’ll show you the best ways to get photography clients, using successful methods and techniques.


Let’s get started!


1. Optimize Your Online Presence


computer screen with portfolio

The first step to attracting new photography clients is ensuring your online presence allows potential customers to easily find and learn about your business.


Create a Professional Website

Your photography website is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. Invest time in creating a polished, attractive website that reflects your personal brand and makes it effortless for visitors to view your work, learn about your services, and contact you.


Some tips for improving your photography website:

  • Choose a simple, easy-to-remember domain name.

  • Select a visually appealing template or design.

  • Display galleries showcasing your best work.

  • Share your photography specialties, skills, and experience.

  • Provide detailed service and pricing information.

  • Include an effective contact page or booking system.

  • Add client testimonials and reviews.

  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.


Optimize for SEO

Optimizing your website for search engine optimization (SEO) makes it easier for potential clients to find you online. Do keyword research to determine what phrases and terms your audience uses when searching for a photographer. Then strategically work those keywords into your page titles, headers, content, image alt text, and metadata.


Some other SEO tips:

  • Improve website speed and security.

  • Update content regularly.

  • Get backlinks from industry websites and sources.

  • Use SEO tools to analyze metrics and performance.


Be Active on Social Media

Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow you to share your photography portfolio and engage with potential clients. Post eye-catching photos showcasing your skills and style. Respond to comments and inquiries.


Use relevant hashtags like #weddingphotographer or #corporateheadshots. Run polls and contests to increase engagement.


Social media marketing not only expands your reach, but it lets prospective clients get a feel for your personality and brand.


Leverage Social Media Ads

Social media platforms let you narrowly target demographic groups and interests with very specific ad campaigns.

  • Create ads featuring your best photos and promotions.

  • Test different target segments – location, age range, gender, interests, and behaviors – to see what performs best.

  • Start small. Adjust based on cost-per-click and conversion metrics.

  • Funnel clicks to landing pages with strong calls to action to convert visitors into leads.


Social ads complement your organic social media efforts by putting your brand and offers in front of qualified audiences most likely to hire you.


Send Email Newsletters

Email marketing should be part of your photography marketing strategy. Collect email addresses through your website and send occasional newsletters with promotional offers, behind-the-scenes content, or tips relevant to clients.


Tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or Drip make it easy to create attractive email templates, segment your list, and track opens and clicks.


💡Bonus tip: Send Direct Mail Campaigns

In an age of digital marketing, sending eye-catching postcards and brochures can help your photography business stand out while targeting local households.

  • Purchase targeted mailing lists categorized by location, age, income, home type, presence of children, etc.

  • Design a postcard series with your best photos and promotions.

  • Mail them to niche audiences, like new homeowners or couples in a certain age range, that match your ideal clients.

  • Offer a free gift or discount to incentivize booking from your mailers.

  • Test response rates from different segments to refine your lists and mailings.


Direct mail complements digital efforts with tactile, visual ads to generate appointments.


List Your Business on Local Directories

Register your photography business on directories like Yelp, YellowPages, and Google My Business so you pop up when people search for photographers in your area. Completing your profile on these sites, which includes photos, services, and customer reviews, generates more local leads.


Get Listed on Freelancing Platforms

Freelance photography marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru let you list your services so people can hire you for gigs.

  • Create a compelling profile highlighting your expertise, portfolio, and rates.

  • Set up alerts for photography gig postings that match your skills and offer competitive bids on jobs.

  • Maintain high ratings and reviews on freelancer platforms to get more leads.

  • Consider creating photography courses or downloadable materials to sell, in addition to taking direct job requests.


While most freelancing site clients have lower budgets, it helps you build your portfolio, get experience with different industries, and earn referrals from happy clients.


Pitch to Publications and Blogs

Pitching your photography services to local and niche publications and blogs can lead to press features, published photos, and new clients.

  • Make a list of publications, magazines, newspapers, and blogs serving your region and niche.

  • Review them to understand the types of articles and photos they publish.

  • Reach out to editors and reporters who cover related topics with story pitches and photo submission ideas tailored to their needs.


Getting featured provides exposure, credibility, SEO benefits, and opportunities for clients to discover you. Offer discounted rates to media outlets for guaranteed credits.


2. Network Locally

While establishing your online presence is important, photographers should also network face-to-face with potential clients through local events, organizations, and partnerships.


Join Industry Associations and Clubs

Industry associations like the Professional Photographers of America or the American Society of Media Photographers provide educational resources, job listings, conferences, and connections within the photography community. Attend association events or check for local chapters.


You can also join a camera club or Meetup group to meet other local photographers, get feedback on your work, and potentially find mentorship.


Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Industry conferences, workshops, expos, and award events offer networking and learning opportunities. Connect with potential clients and demonstrate your expertise.

  • Search sites for upcoming events, contests, and conferences relevant to your niche nationwide. For example, you can check out these best photo contests to enter in 2024. Winning or being nominated for a photo contest can boost your credibility and visibility in the industry. It can also help you improve your skills and challenge yourself creatively. 

  • Look locally too. A family photographer could connect with parents at a homeschooling conference, while a product photographer could exhibit at a brand trade show. You can also search for local photography events in your area.

  • When attending events, bring business cards and promotional materials. Be professional yet approachable. Have a clear and concise pitch that summarizes your services and value proposition. 

  • Follow up with any promising leads you meet and keep event programs to reference contacts.

  • Apply to speak on panels or give presentations to establish yourself as an authority. 


Attending and participating in industry events builds your reputation, skills, and client roster.


Partner with Complementary Businesses

Partnering with vendors and businesses whose offerings complement yours is a mutually beneficial marketing strategy for photographers.


If you shoot portraits, reach out to schools, preschools, dance studios, or other kid-centric places about offering student photo packages, recital photos, or holiday gifts.


Wedding photographers can ally with venues, planners, florists, caterers, and other wedding pros to cross-promote.


Session stylists, makeup artists, and retailers can collaborate with portrait photographers on themed shoots and discounted services.


Two businesses promoting each other extend their reach. Keep partners updated on your latest packages and availability to continue receiving referrals.


Introduce Yourself to Potential Clients

Identify businesses, retailers, venues, and community fixtures aligned with your photography niche. Reach out to introduce yourself, offer your services, and propose ideas for working together, such as:

  • Photographing their location, products, or services for their own marketing materials.

  • Running a joint promotion where you offer mini-sessions and they provide the venue.

  • Exhibiting your photos on their walls or offering your prints for sale in their shop.

  • Hosting a free educational seminar or workshop at their establishment.

  • Donating your photography services to their charity event in exchange for promotion.


Even if they aren’t hiring immediately, making connections plants a seed for future opportunities.


3. Refine Your Specialty and Brand


creative photography collage

Finding your photographic niche and establishing a consistent brand helps attract the types of clients you want to work with.


Choose a Specialty

Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades photographer, narrow your focus to specific niches, such as:

  • Weddings

  • Family / Newborn Photography

  • Headshots or Personal Branding Photos

  • Real Estate Photography

  • Product Photography


Focusing on a genre you’re passionate about and honing your technical and creative skills for that specialty makes your work and portfolio stand out.


Define Your Target Clients

Research the demographics, needs, motivations, and goals of potential clients within your niche. For example, if you shoot kids and family portraits, define profiles for both parents and grandparents.


Tailor your brand messaging and photography services to your ideal target audiences. Offering specialty services (newborn photos, sports team portraits, holiday cards) that fulfill their needs attracts clients.


Reflect Your Style in Your Branding

Your logo, website design, marketing materials, and overall aesthetic should reflect your photographic point of view. Showcase a cohesive style across your portfolio and define the look and feel clients can expect when hiring you.


For example, adopt a light and airy look for newborn and family sessions or go bold and edgy for personal branding clients. Work with a designer if needed to polish your brand assets.


Volunteer for Photography Gigs

Volunteering your skills for schools, nonprofit organizations, places of worship, clubs, or community events helps grow your portfolio and client base.

  • Reach out to causes aligned with your photography niche and offer discounted or pro bono services in exchange for promotion and published photos.

  • Get on preferred vendor lists for venues that host frequent events like galas, fundraisers, or performances needing an event photographer.

  • Set up a booth or photo activity at local festivals, fairs, and holiday markets to engage with the community.


Beyond doing good, volunteering allows potential clients to discover your work and book you for paid gigs. Be sure branding and promotion are included.


4. Offer Competitive Pricing and Packages

To attract clients, your photography prices need to align with industry averages while also reflecting the value you provide. Check the going rates for your specialty and geographic area. Offer tiered packages at various price points too.


Some tips for pricing your photography services:

  • Calculate your cost of doing business to determine your baseline rates. Consider gear expenses, editing time, insurance fees, taxes, etc.

  • Factor in your level of skill and experience. An entry-level photographer charges less than an established pro.

  • Know your worth. Price according to the uniqueness of your style, the demand for your niche, and the value clients get from your exceptional service.

  • Offer bundled packages, a la carte services, and different session lengths and product options.

  • Provide discounts for off-peak sessions, and clients booking multiple packages or referrals.

  • Re-evaluate your pricing every year as your business grows and expenses change.


5. Ask for Referrals and Reviews

Referrals likely account for a majority of your new photography clients. Asking happy clients to recommend you or write online reviews is an easy but essential aspect of marketing your photography business.


Request Referrals

Develop a formal referral and rewards program to encourage happy clients to spread the word about your studio.

  • Offer a discount, gift card, or free print to clients who refer someone who books.

  • Provide referral cards that make it easy for clients to pass on your name and number.

  • Print reminder flyers for clients to give to friends and family around the holidays, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.

  • Run occasional "refer a friend" promotions with prizes or giveaways.

  • Send a small gift or thank you note when you get a referral, regardless of the outcome.


Ask for Reviews

Positive online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp establish credibility and trust with prospective clients. After a session, politely ask favorite clients to leave a review describing their experience.


The key is sending review requests soon after their session while the experience is fresh. Waiting months later yields fewer responses.


6. Follow Up With Potential Leads

When prospective clients inquire about your photography services, promptly respond and continue following up to turn inquiries into bookings.

  • Respond to website, social media, and phone inquiries within 24 hours. Provide any information requested and express enthusiasm about potentially working together.

  • Follow up a week later with an email recapping your last communication. Include a link to your website or portfolio and offer to set up a consultation call.

  • Schedule a free 10-15 minute phone or video call to learn more about their needs and discuss your photography services and pricing. Send a calendar invite to solidify the appointment.

  • After the consultation, tell them it was great speaking with them and that you're happy to answer any other questions. Provide a quick turnaround quote based on their project specifics.

  • Follow up again in a week if you haven't heard back. Reiterate your enthusiasm and mention any promotions you currently offer.

  • Use a CRM system to track lead status and ensure you follow up consistently without being overly aggressive.

  • Nurturing leads with helpful information and offers until they’re ready to book keeps you top of their mind.


7. Learn New Skills, Get More Clients

Investing in professional development is a way of improving your photography skills and knowledge, which can help you attract more clients. 


Clients want to hire photographers who are up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in the industry. They also want to see that you are passionate about your craft and willing to learn new things. So: 

  • Take a workshop on new lighting techniques, editing tools, or camera gear. Stay up-to-date with the latest technology and trends.

  • Attend a seminar on photography business topics: sales, marketing, taxes, branding, etc. Learning the business side is just as crucial.

  • Work with a photography mentor or business coach to receive honest feedback and advice on improving your portfolio, packages, and operations.

  • Pursue professional certifications to give you credentials as an expert.


Upskilling makes you more marketable. Continuously improving your craft and services entices new clients seeking quality photography.


Conclusion

Don’t get discouraged if building your client base feels slow going at first. All meaningful things take time to grow. But use the strategies outlined here to plant seeds and nurture leads until they blossom into long-term photography clients.


If you focus on honing your craft, making authentic connections, and delivering amazing experiences for clients, your photography business will flourish. So get out there, be your incredible self, do what you love, and the rest will come together. You got this!


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