Professional Photographer Marketing Considerations
Five things to consider before you market yourself:
There is little point in marketing yourself if you’re not clear on a few fundamental areas of your photography business. I’ve highlighted five key areas I believe photographers need to consider before they reach out to prospective clients.
1. Is your photographic style consistent?
Clients need to be able to put their trust in you and be confident your work will suit their purpose. Having a consistent style and shooting particular subject matter does not mean creating a whole load of similar pictures – it is much more about ensuring your approach, treatment and ideas are in sync across your various projects and galleries. Random imagery, where it is unclear whether they came about by chance or by design, doesn’t work in your favour. Being a specialist and having a niche can be attractive to a client as you are seen as an expert.
2. Can you describe your style and why you shoot what you do?
Having a consistent style is one thing, but are you able to define your vision as a photographer? You will need to deconstruct your own work and motivations so that you have the language that best describes why you shoot what you do…the reasoning behind it…your ideas…, not just what you shoot. This is likely to be far more compelling when discussing your work face–to-face with prospective clients than a generic and lack-lustre explanation or list of facts.
3. Have you defined your market?
This needs research and takes time, but is vital. You shouldn’t expect your work to appeal to everyone. There is likely to be a narrow client sector that fits well with what you do – you need to find out who they are and how they like to be communicated to. Start to build lists of possible contacts by spending time scouring magazines in specialist newsagents; check out adverts/editorials which use images similar in style to your own and inspect their credits, find out which agency was responsible for their production…dig deep, down to the granularity of the art director’s name. Use LinkedIn to drill into names and contact details. You may eventually want to buy in lists of industry contacts, but you should be doing this intense research yourself to start off with.
4. Is your website optimized for your intended clients?
Clients will move on quickly from a website which is slow, confusing or functionally glitchy in some way. Very simply: ensure it is well organised and tightly edited, that your images upload quickly and that there aren’t too many clicks needed before you can view an image at full size. Don’t over complicate the navigation process and make sure your thumbnails are nice and large. It is also important to consider whether the tone and language you use is appropriate for the client base you are targeting and would meet with their expectations.
5. Which marketing channels work best for you and your clients?
All photographers have a range of marketing channels at their fingertips, which need to be integrated. It is important to ensure you work hard at mastering at least 2 social media platforms (such as Instagram and Twitter). Remember you are running a small business, so this might mean setting up a new professional account. Leave out your more personal musings (such as what your cat is up to that day or commenting on your spouse’s new car) unless they have a bearing on your work and instead stick to being informative, inspiring and engaging with those in the creative industry, brands, magazines, etc you would like to shoot for and individuals you are keen to link with. Get to know the channels your possible clients use and inhabit those spaces. This will ensure that when you are ready to put out a marketing piece about yourself and your work ,you have a more ready and relevant audience.