You need to consistently set aside time for networking and marketing to be a successful freelance photographer and see results.
To help create a marketing process for landing (and retaining) clients, set aside a specific time to
Reach out to potential new clients every week or month depending on your business’s needs
Create content for your business
Connect with past clients
Update your portfolio with current samples to reflect your most recent work
How to Find Clients as a Freelance Photographer
Creating a system will make it easier to find clients because it will become routine. Here are 10 techniques you can use to create a repeatable process for finding new clients.
You have a powerful network available to you — your friends and family.
They want you to succeed, but they can only help if you tell them about your business. You can discuss your photography business without it feeling awkward or pushy.
Tell family and friends about your business by
Posting about your new business on your personal social media sites
Providing periodic updates on recent developments in your business, such as new services or posting a photo you love
Providing occasional social media posts with helpful photography tips that will interest your friends and family
While occasionally talking about your business is helpful, don’t make it the only thing you discuss. Your friends and family also want to hear about everything else happening in your life.
Think of the last time you were looking for a doctor, hair stylist, or dentist. Did you randomly pick someone from an ad? You probably asked your friends who they like and then made a choice.
It’s easier to get a new client when they’ve been referred to you by someone they know, like, and trust.
How to Find Clients as a Freelance Photographer
While you can’t control whether a past client recommends you, you can increase the likelihood by
Providing quality service every time
Staying connected with past clients through social media or email
Sending a reminder postcard to past clients about booking a photo shoot for the holidays or a special event, and asking them to share the information with a friend
Start conversations with businesses that can benefit from your services or that serve your ideal client. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, start networking with local wedding venues, caterers, and wedding planners.
You can establish a mutually beneficial relationship where they can send clients to you and you to them. They also may need your services to freshen their website or marketing materials.
No matter your specialty, there’s always a business that can benefit. But before partnering with a company, be sure that they represent your business values.
Donating to school and charity auctions can help you build leads and spread awareness of your business. Yes, you’ll be giving away the package you donated, but this approach often leads to paying work.
For instance, the person who bought your services through the auction may decide to add on other services or upgrades. The people who didn’t win your package at auction may choose to buy one anyway.
Then develop a valuable package that leaves room for the winner to potentially upgrade during the photo shoot.
As a professional photographer, you have expertise that others want to know. A fun way to make connections is to speak for local groups.
Select organizations that cater to your target client. If you provide family photo sessions or pregnancy photo shoots, focus on local moms groups or new moms groups at hospitals.
Other types of groups to consider include:
Potential clients will want an easy way to learn about your services and see samples of your work. A professional, easy-to-navigate website can help build trust and authority with visitors, making it easier to close the sale.
When designing your portfolio, group your images by your areas of specialization so visitors can find the type of content they’re interested in. Also, only select your best pieces to showcase on your portfolio page. Then make it easy for prospects to book an appointment.
You can also add a blog to build authority and trust, and increase your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). If you decide to maintain a blog, update it regularly and select topics that your target audience will find interesting.
Social media groups can help you connect with other industry professionals and potential clients. When using social media groups to find new clients, select one or two where you’re likely to find your target audience.
Set aside time to answer questions, join discussions, and be helpful. You’ll want to do this consistently, so group members start to recognize you.
You can also join groups for freelance photographers. Participating in these groups can help you build connections with other freelancers and provide a place to get answers to your questions. These groups can also be a source of referrals as you build relationships.
Instead of just leaving business cards at local businesses, see if you can hang up some of your photographs. You can supply framed photos from your portfolio for free or produce new photographs at a reduced fee for the business to display.
When hanging the photos, make sure it’s easy for customers to see your name and contact information. If possible, also leave your business cards near the display.
Do you have a portfolio full of amazing photographs that you own the copyrights to? You could submit your images to stock photo agencies.
You can get paid for your work while also getting noticed by businesses. Before signing up with a stock agency, check their policies to determine how you’ll be paid and whether you’ll retain the copyright.
Email marketing helps companies grow, including small businesses. About 81 percent of small to midsize companies rely on email as the primary way to turn prospects into new customers.
Email lists are powerful tools because almost everyone uses email and potential customers are more likely to see your email than a social media post. You’re also in control of your list, unlike social media sites where algorithms or rules can change unexpectedly.
It can take time for your email list to grow, but you don’t need thousands of people to have a successful email list.