Every photographer would love to get more work. While there are lots of opportunities out there for potential work, there has also never been a more difficult time to be a photographer. The competition is fierce with many photographers undercutting each other. Even if you are not a professional photographer, wouldn’t it be great to get some photography work to supplement your income? But how do you that? Here are a few different methods that you can try to get more photography clients.
OK, this is not anything new. Every business knows that having a mailing list can help their sales. There are photographers out there with mailing lists of customers and clients. But for some reason, the vast majority of photographers don’t utilise this tried and tested method of getting clients. The important part for a photographer is not to blanket email their potential clients, but tailor messages almost on an individual level.
So, for example, if I come across a potential client, I would first send an email explaining who I am and why and how I could help their business. Even if I send a newsletter, I try to batch send to only those that the newsletter would be most relevant to. For example, if I have a restaurant client, there is no point telling them that I just have a new collection of lifestyle shots. But that is information that picture editors might find useful.
The message here is not to treat your mailing list as one big list but each person as an individual client.
In this age of digital photography, it has become so easy and cheap to just send emails. There is nothing wrong with sending emails to clients and it is and will be the best way to market your work and speak to clients. However, there is always something nice about receiving an actual hard copy of something. It can often make you stand out from the competition and keep you in mind for editors and buyers.
For example, I often send my best clients a small print from a recent shoot that I might have done. Almost always I receive an email thanking me for the gesture. I should point out that I generally only send existing clients that I work with these types of marketing material. For clients I don’t know, I would generally start with an email to introduce myself.
I think that social media sometimes gets a bad reputation for just being a vanity exercise for photographers. The obsession with “likes” and “followers” has overtaken the real value of what social media can offer photographers. Of course, the obvious element is finding customers. But one of the best ways to utilise social media is to interact with brands and potential clients. But you need to have a strategy and be genuine in your approach to them.
Again, don’t send a blanket message to everyone but rather try to interact with them. For example, I recently came across a magazine that had used one of my images on its cover. I simply messaged them saying how much I loved the cover and thanked them for choosing the image. A few days later I received an email from the Production Editor saying how nice it was that I got in touch and if I would like to work with them on a shoot. This came from a simple message of genuine gratitude rather than me trying to sell something.
Word of mouth
It is one of the most proven methods of advertising – but word of mouth is a great way to get new clients or even new connections. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to your contact list and ask if they know of anyone who might be interested in your services. Because you never know who that person might know.
Personally, I only ask people I know well to spread the word. It is unprofessional to ask clients to act as marketing manager on your behalf. But certainly, people who you know well like friends and family can be a big help in putting you in touch with potential clients. I would not do this on monthly basis, but occasionally make sure you try and utilise your friends and family’s contact list.
Attend trade shows
Wherever you are in the world, it is likely that there will be a trade show of some sorts near you. Whether you are a wedding photographer or a travel photographer, there will be events where you can meet potential clients. Make sure you attend as many of these as possible. But more importantly, have a plan of what you hope to achieve. In other words, don’t just turn up at stands and try to get clients or work, if you can get in touch beforehand to make an appointment and have something that you can leave with the prospect.
For example, create a one-page document of who you are and your services (almost like a CV) to leave with clients. Don’t treat these events as an “I have to get work”, but rather as a place to get introductions to potential clients in the future.
These are by no means everything that you can do to get clients. There are plenty of other tactics like making YouTube videos to help you build a presence. But these are some of the ways that I utilise to get potential clients. What is for sure is that you need to actively look to get clients and not just sit and wait for them to come to you.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.