How to Find Clients as a New Photographer
Once you decide to start a photography business there are a variety of ways to find new customers. Not all of these methods involve spending money but I see a lot of photographers not including marketing and advertising in their budgets when they should be. Not all of these methods work for everyone either as your genre of photography, your market, where you live and your personality all play a role.
Remember that opening a store or launching a business or website doesn’t mean that clients are just going to start coming to you. You’re going to have to make an effort to get to them, especially in the beginning stages. Hopefully the below ideas will give you a good start.
One thing to keep top of mind while reading this post is your client avatar or an idea of who your ideal client is. If you don’t know who your ideal client is, I recommend you start there first. Going after just any client is going to lead to frustration later on because they won’t be your ideal client.
- Advertise on Facebook. I hear so many photographers rant about the fact that no one sees their posts or photos but they aren’t willing to pay for people to see their images. When you’re in business, advertising needs to form a part of your budget. Facebook is a great platform because you can target a very specific audience, which ensures that you’re putting your images in front of the right people.
- Advertise in magazines. This works really well for wedding photography. It’s actually how I got started in my wedding photography business. After working on building my portfolio, I took out an ad in one of our state wedding magazines. If you decide to go this route, I have a few tips for you. Make sure that the ad package you purchase offers access to a lead list because having a lone ad in a magazine is not going to get you all the business you need. It may barely bring you enough business to pay your advertising costs.
- Get published. There are many magazines and blogs that you can approach to publish your work. One quick and easy way to do this is to submit your photos via Two Bright Lights or contact the publishers directly. Getting published is especially great if it’s in a prestigious magazine or blog. If you do get published, make sure that you share it on your blog and also use the published images in your advertising and marketing as many people will recognize the images from the publications. If you want a few more tips and tricks on getting published, check out my post here.
- Attend trade shows. This is a great option if you’re an outgoing person who loves to talk to others because trade shows require you to engage with people. If you’re more of an introvert, I wouldn’t recommend this as an avenue for finding new clients. On a side note, if you’re paying to advertise in a magazine that will be distributed at a trade show, you might want to focus your marketing efforts elsewhere as your brand will already have a presence at the show. It’s an added bonus if the magazine collects names and emails at the tradeshow that are then distributed to advertisers. Think of all the time this will save you. It’s like having your own marketing assistant.
- Network with other vendors – good old fashioned networking. If you’re an outgoing person, go round to your local vendors and introduce yourself. Make it brief and be sure to leave a few business cards. If you’re more of an introvert, you may want to stick to sending a brief email. I do think that in-person networking is more effective because they can put a face to your name. Another way to network with other vendors is to get on their social media pages and start commenting and engaging with their posts. You can also choose to attend networking events in your area.
- Facebook Live. I think this one’s really effective. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen a lot of photographers use this to get clients and to be honest, I haven’t even tried it myself yet, but I think it’s a great way to connect with prospective customers. You can use Facebook Live to talk about how you prepare for a photoshoot or have a Q&A session. You could even go live at one of your photoshoots and let people see you in action. Tell them to follow you to see the finished images from the session they just watched.
- Offer amazing customer service. Give each customer great service and soon you’ll be getting more business than you know what to do with. This approach might take a while since you’ll only have a few clients to begin with but use that extra time to give them an amazing experience in order to get the word-of-mouth ball rolling.
- Get new clients from current clients. Offer referral incentives. This could be anything from credits towards an album or canvas to a free photo session. You could even develop a rewards system or a frequent customer punch card. Get creative with it and maybe offer something like the 5th photo session for free. This will not only encourage them to refer friends but keep them coming back too.