11 Techniques to find more clients for your photography business

11 Techniques to find more clients for your photography business

Ok, so you finally decided to start a photography business and convert your long-term passion into a career option. Maybe even a side hustle till you can find a steadier source of income. Photography can easily be your regular source of income. Hundreds and thousands of photographers worldwide are doing just that. So, there is no reason why you can't do that too. The question, however, is how to get photography clients. And that's what we'll discuss today. We'll look at the simple steps you can emulate and land your first paying gig.

1. Profile Your Target Group

Unless you're aiming to be a jack of all genres, you have a specific target audience to whom you should be vying to connect. In other words, not everyone is a potential client. Let's say that you're a fine art photographer. The million-dollar question is how to find more photography clients in the fine art segment? Or even the first client if you're just starting out. The answer is you should focus on users who have a taste for fine art photography and can appreciate and value your work. Most importantly, these people should be willing to pay for your work.

In the same way, if you're aiming to become a wedding photographer, you should focus on wedding planners, venues, and publications catering to would-be brides and grooms. If you're planning on advertising, you should advertise in magazines about the latest trends in wedding fashion; you should build your network with makeup artists and wedding planners.

2. Network, Network, and Network

The more people you connect with and the more people you get to know, the higher the chances you can get a referral. Who should be in your network? Anyone that's remotely connected with your line of photography. As we have mentioned in the previous segment, if you're vying to be a wedding photographer, your network should comprise people who manage venues, wedding planners, decorators, makeup artists, other photographers, and former clients.

It only takes a couple of clients, depending on the kind of photography that you do, to get the ball rolling. So, getting your former clients to leave rave reviews on your social media account is a great way to build trust among prospective clients.

3. Shoot for Free

This tip is for people just starting out as a photographer and looking to land their first paid gig. It sounds like a waste of time, especially when you're just starting. Because the quicker you get that first paying gig, the faster you get the confidence to grow as a photographer and set the ball rolling at the same time. You can do a few things to increase your chances. And one of those tricks is to offer free photos to people who can recommend you. People who are active on social media can use those photos and then recommend you as a photographer. There is one caveat: Don't advertise that you're offering free photos!

4. Referral

Getting referred by friends and family is a great way to land your first job. Tell everyone in your circle that you've started a photography business and are looking for jobs. Often the first paid gig comes from within the circle, and it's a great way to start your career as a professional photographer. Working with other professionals, such as people who are active on social media, is also great for getting some referrals. But you need to spend some time offering free photos to people who are active on social media and other platforms.

5. Partnerships

Collaborative partnerships are a great way to get some referral jobs and strengthen your portfolio. As a freelance photographer, you can do collaborative work with makeup artists and budding models. Especially those looking to land their first paid gig and looking for ways to get a professional portfolio done. You can offer your services as a photographer while the others pool their expertise to create a collaborative partnership. The best way to do this is when each collaborative member can benefit from the relationship. This arrangement is just till the point you start getting paid gigs.

6. Teach at Schools

Teaching photography is a great side hustle for freelance photographers. It can also open avenues for getting photography clients. How to book more photography clients if you're teaching photography? As a photography teacher, you meet many people, which expands your network. If one of your students requires a photographer's services, they will return to you. That's one way to find more clients as a freelance photographer.

Teaching photography has other benefits as well. As we have seen during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, photography income can suddenly stop leaving photographers with a mountain of bills to pay. Going online and teaching gives you a no-contact and personal platform to teach students and make a decent amount of money on the side.

You can also use the experience to create a course of your own and make a steady income from that with little maintenance.

7. Create a Professional Website

No matter your photography genre, you need a website to announce yourself to the world. Your website is like your home on the internet. Though many photographers nowadays prefer an Instagram profile to a website, we don't recommend that. Several hosting providers offer a simple website option containing a few pages that you can build on your own using one of the available templates. Anyone with zero knowledge of coding can get it up and running. So, it doesn't make sense not to have a website. At least you can have your contact form, address, and other essential pieces of information that you can't put up on Instagram.

8. Have an Awesome Booking Tool (our software)

Research has proven that professionals with a booking system receive up to 20% more bookings. Many photography professionals ask how to get photography clients to make a booking when they cannot attend them personally?

If you have an automated booking system like Oopen you can receive bookings 24/7, even when you're not physically in front of your computer. An automated booking system is not only a better solution to maintain a booking calendar, but it also adds a professional touch to the whole process. Clients will know your availability and can choose the days you're available to shoot for them.

9. Be Active on Social Media

These days, social media reign supreme as the greatest platform for social and professional interactions. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have opened avenues to interact socially and engage like nothing we have ever seen. It's a powerful tool that requires patience and perseverance and a solid social media plan of action to market effectively. Each social media platform requires a distinct approach, and as a professional photographer, you've to understand that and then implement an appropriate plan.

10. Join Social Media Groups

Social media groups of like-minded people are a great way to expand your network and get recommendations and referrals. Workgroups, neighborhood groups, family, and friends; join as many social media groups on WhatsApp and Telegram as possible. You never know when you can get a referral or a recommendation. Always wear your profession on your display picture. Make sure to introduce yourself that you're doing professional photography or reintroduce yourself if it's an old group that you've started doing photography professionally.

11. Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Business contacts collected at events, appointments, and referrals should be maintained in a database. These emails are your contact points for future work. You may have met someone at a photography event and exchanged personal cards. But what are the chances that the person will remember you after three months? Especially if you don't follow up with an email or a phone call. Just as you would have a system to call people, you should also have an email marketing campaign that keeps you relevant and fresh in the minds of your prospective clients. The balancing act is, however, tough to fine-tune. How many emails should you send, and what should be the frequency? We'll discuss those later when we discuss email marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Getting your first paid photography client as a freelance photographer can be easier than you think. Of course, you need to have a concrete plan in your hands, and you're ready to put that to work. Most people get their first paid gig within the network of family and friends, and that's always a great place to start. But there are a bunch of other avenues that you can tap into. Be it using social media to your advantage, teaching as a side hustle that expands your network, or using a professional booking software like Oopen. Leave no stone unturned. Hopefully, the above list will help you get on the right footing.

Frequently asked questions

Why do most photographers prefer to teach?

Teaching photography is a great side hustle. Plus, online teaching opens the avenue for a steady income, especially if you can set up a course. It requires little maintenance and a steady income.

Can social media help you find clients for your photography business?

Social media is a great tool for connecting with friends, family, and professional colleagues and tapping into their networks. It's a great way to connect with someone requiring photography services.

Why is it important for photographers to have a business website?

Your website isn't only your platform on the internet; it's your 24/7/365 salesman. It can even collect contact details and appointments when integrated with a booking software like Oopen.

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