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50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

marketing 50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

Are you a photographer stuck in a marketing rut?  Are you looking for ideas on how you can market yourself, your photography, and your business?  Look no further. These tips below will give you plenty of ideas on how to grow your business. Remember, just as with photography, you need to find the marketing techniques that fit your style.  So read the tips from photographers across the globe on what works for them, and then pick a few that you feel fit your business model.  After you implement some into your photography business, you can evaluate their effectiveness.

To make it easy, I have divided the marketing tips into categories.  “Thank yous and gifts” – ways to tell your customers how important they are and how much you appreciate them.  These go a long way and are so easy to do.  The word of mouth marketing generated from past customers often is enough to have a successful business. “Get out there” will give you some ideas on how to get exposure in your community.  From Facebook to blogging, and from placements at local businesses to referral cards, these ideas will get more people knowing who you are and why they should hire you.  “Get visual” – these tips not only get people interested (business cards with images), but keep customers buying more (displays of target products).  “Pricing” – the one thing everyone dreads.  Creating value for the customer, which by the way does not mean low prices, will increase your income. It allows customers to feel they got a great deal, and they will spread the word.  You will notice many of these tips could be in more than one category.  It just depends how you choose to look at them.

Thank yous/Gifts {for word of mouth}

  • Thank you cards – send one after each session.
  • Give customers a set of wallets with their order to use as referral cards. Pick your favorite photo from the session, put your studio/contact information on the back.
  • Reward past clients with discounts and referral incentives. Give them more reasons to remember you when talking to friends and family.
  • Keep your customers happy!
  • Include bonus, surprise prints with the customer’s order.  Write a handwritten note explaining how much you loved working with them and value their support.
  • Consider giving a few low res watermarked images to seniors for sharing on Facebook.  They will see this as a thank you – and yet you get the word of mouth benefit when their friends see.
  • Give a magnet to each customer with your favorite image(s) from a session. Include contact info (website and number).
  • Offer a unique gift before the session, during or after – it could be a small gift certificate, fresh baked goods, or any other small token of appreciation.

Get out there {for more word of mouth and visibility}

  • Show up at local events, and with permission from the organizers, shoot photos.  Get your website address out there by handing cards and posting the images online.
  • Have a contest/drawing for a free photo session. This way you can collect names, addresses, and emails for all the non-winners for future business.
  • Use Facebook ads to target customers locally
  • Start a Facebook fan page to share images, communicate photography specials, and interact with your customers. Invite all your local friends so they can help get the word of mouth underway.
  • Post customer images on Facebook, and tag them – this is especially effective for senior photography.
  • Give free artwork and photographs to doctors offices, hair salons, baby boutiques, etc. Include a small sign and/or stack of business cards. Stop by occasionally to leave more cards for sharing.
  • Blogging – blog each session that you do.  Those photographed will spread the word so friends and family can see the images.
  • Deliver an excellent product and experience.  Your customers will talk about you.
  • Use referral cards – hand these out with every order so your past customers can spread the word easily for you.
  • For children’s portraiture, join a “Mom’s group” and get to know the other women, who may end up your customers and/or refer people to you.
  • Take your camera everywhere.  It is an easy way to start a conversation.  And always have your business cards ready!
  • Add a small label on the back of baby and senior announcement cards with your photo studio’s name and web address. Nothing tacky.  Just simple and small.
  • SEO – if you come up on specific photography searches for your area, potential customers will find you.
  • Donate a free session for a fundraiser auction – include a sample of your work and stacks of cards.
  • Don’t be shy.  Hand out cards to people when you are out – for example if a mom is at a park with their kids, give them a card and tell them about you.
  • Network with a group of local small businesses – and help each other market.
  • Get your name, website and email listed on all the free photographer databases online.

Get visual

  • Use images on your business cards
  • Have a website with best examples of your work, and keep it updated periodically.
  • Have different business cards for your different specialties.  If you do more than one type of photography, have cards for each type, so you hand out cards specific to the interests of the person asking.
  • Show your best images on your business cards.
  • Show it to sell it! Have samples of wall portraits to show clients. When they think an 8×10 will do it, “wow” them with a 16×24 standout mount or 20×30 gallery wrap, and show it on the wall so they can see its value as an art piece.
  • Have samples of any products you wish to sell, whether it be gallery wrap canvases to albums, to photo jewelry.  People need to touch and feel in order to buy.
  • Create branding that is unique to you. Make it memorable.
  • Control the process – and even if you offer DVDs of the session, also give them lists of places to get images printed with a high quality that represents you well.

Pricing

  • Volume discounts for large orders
  • Packages and bundled pricing
  • Give coupons to your friends to pass out to their friends.
  • Consider a friends and family discount (that is if you want to take pictures of friends and family – sometimes this can cause issues of its own).
  • Offer mini shoots, themed holiday shoots and portrait parties as a lower cost, higher volume option
  • Work for free – not often – but donating time to a charity can go a long way.
  • Offer occasional deals – such as book in X month, get a free 8×10.
  • Figure out how much money you ultimately want to walk away with from a shoot. If you have, say, three packages available, use that amount as your mid-priced package. Then, for your first package (the package you want the customer to see first) price it much higher. The third package will be your lowest priced package, but will be bare bones. This way you sort of subconsciously funnel customers to the package and price in the middle.
  • Don’t list prices on your web site. If you do, you’ll just be another photographer in the list for them to choose from and they’ll likely go with the best deal. You want the potential customer to call and connect with you.  Have them select you because they want “you” to be the one to take their pictures. (I know some will disagree – but it is something to consider)

Motivation/Other tips and ideas…

  • Believe in yourself!  If you have confidence in yourself and your photography, so will others.
  • Share with other photographers.  Be generous with ideas and tips to help others – and they will give back to you.  When you give, your receive.  Plus Karma!
  • Be genuine – give people reasons to trust you to take their photos. People do business with people they like.
  • Over deliver!
  • Do a little each day.  Rather that just one big marketing campaign, provide steady, consistent, and quality photography and service. It will win people over – one day at a time, one person at a time.
  • Be available!  Do not use out of office replies that say you are so busy that it will take 48 hours to get back to them.  Make your customers feel important.  Communicate in a timely fashion.  Answer/return calls and emails.
  • Stay positive – never write anything negative about clients, a client’s preference or another photographer on your blog or Facebook page. You may just be “venting”, but a new client would be less likely to choose a photographer who has negative posts like that.
  • KNOW your target market. Know their ages, their income levels, their interests and hobbies, and what makes them tick. You as a photographer do not have to be in your target market. Know your target customer’s habits. Where can you best reach them? Is it Facebook (seniors), mom’s clubs, wedding shows, displays in the mall? There’s no right answer – it varies depending on who your ideal client is.
 50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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47 Comments

  1. 1
    Melissa says:

    Great post! Thanks.

  2. 2

    Great tips Jodi! Thank you so much!!

  3. 3

    There are some great ideas in this list. A few that I probably will implement.

    Thank you!!

  4. 4
    Anna Mollet says:

    Jodi-what a great list! Many are very easy to implement with good ROI. As always, you’re a great source for photographers!

  5. 5

    Thanks thanks!
    there are some things that I do regularly, but this is a nice list of reminders and new things. I am newly starting out my business and have found myself in a place saying, “what do I do next?” So thanks for some ideas.

  6. 6

    [...] 1 votes vote 50 Marketing Tips for Photographers Are you a photographer stuck in a marketing rut?  Are you looking for ideas on how you can [...]

  7. 7
    Erin says:

    Thanks so much for this! Awesome ideas!!

  8. 8
    Lenka says:

    What a great post. Thank you!

  9. 9
    rebekah says:

    awesome list! thanks so much for getting my wheels turning! :)

  10. 10
    Mike Le Gray says:

    A bit late, I know, but this is a very useful post. Many thanks!

  11. 11
    Yu Prigge says:

    Beautiful pics! I love the post so much! xoxo

  12. 12

    [...] 10. Figure out your marketing plan. [...]

  13. 13
    marla says:

    I needed this today! Read my mind…

  14. 14

    [...] What is the most effective way you have found to promote your photography business? [...]

  15. 15

    [...] Create a strong brand and you will stand out from the crowd.  If you build a solid brand and reputation, you will find [...]

  16. 16

    [...] is it that some photographers are constantly talking about referrals being their best form of advertising? What are they doing that you’re not? What makes a great referral program?  Let me first start [...]

  17. 17
    Anya Coleman says:

    Thanks for posting.Love it!

  18. 18
    Jordan Baker says:

    Man! It is like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot relating to this, exactly like you wrote it in it or something. I think you could do with some images they are driving the message home a bit, besides that, this is good blog. A great read. I will definitely revisit again.

  19. 19
    Paula says:

    thanks so much for this post! Great tips!

  20. 20
    Avis says:

    Great ideas, I plan on implementing some of these asap :) thank you for all you do

  21. 21
    Mitchel says:

    great business and even personal advice thank you.

  22. 22
    Tomas Haran says:

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve been looking for a few more small tips on how to better market myself. This is very useful and I’ll find which ones will work for me.

  23. 23
    Mark says:

    Some great tips a must save list!

  24. 24
    Dan Waters says:

    Here are a few more. Get free exhibits in restaurants, florists and hairdressers etc. by saying that you’ll contact all the people in the portraits so that they’ll come down to have a look. This spreads the word about the place you’re exhibiting at. Don’t use an online gallery for portrait photography sales. Sell in person by using a projector so clients can see their images at a decent size. You sell what you show. Always meet clients before they book you so you can show them beautiful portraits you’ve created at a decent size so they can see the value of what you do. It also helps build rapport and allows you to find out what they want and educate them about clothing etc.

  25. 25
    Tamara says:

    Thank you for the wonderful information. I really appreciated all the great tips, thank you for sharing!!

  26. 26
    Mike says:

    Hi Jodi, do you have any marketing tips for landscape photography?

  27. 27

    Absolutely great tips. I was looking marketing tips for some other business, but I must say the tips you have given can also be applied in any other business

    Cheers!

  28. 28

    Fantastic Post. Love it .

    Regards,
    Ghalib Hasnain
    Owner, Ghalib Hasnain Photography
    Mobile: +92 (345) 309 0326
    Email: mailme@ghalibhasnain.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ghalib.photography

  29. 29

    Thanks for the great ideas. I would also like to add a few: host events and promotions/giveaways. Also, submit your images to various contests, win awards. Join meetup groups and make friends, expose your personality and your work to people. And good luck.

  30. 30

    [...] other way to market but I will give you a great direction.  Jodi at MCP Actions created a list of 50 Marketing Tips for Photographers so check that out, [...]

  31. 31
    Sonja Foster says:

    I recently started my business. These are fantastic tips! Thanks so much!

  32. 32
    Julian says:

    Wonderful marketing tips. As we all know, being good at photography is not enough, we must also master marketing.

    I found Dan Kennedy’s teachings (Google him) to be extremely useful. There’s also a website specifically designed for photographers called…. uhmm.

    SuccessWithPhotography.com That’s it!

    They have tons of great (and free) marketing info.

  33. 33
    veritaz says:

    These are excellent tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  34. 34

    Many thanks for this, some great tips, some of which I will look into further and hopefully implement.

  35. 35
    David Peretz says:

    Great Tips!

    Something i have learned is that never try to sell price , there is always someone that charges less than you.
    try to sell valu and your work so i totally agree with not posting prices at your site

  36. 36
    Max says:

    Hello Jodi!

    wow, this is exactly what i was looking for! I own a Photography website that deals with Food/Interior and Virtual Tour photography and i have been scratching my head how to keep our past clients and keep them working for us. Your referral program is a GREAT idea. I am thinking I can give them some $$ off their previous job with us if they refer another client or do another job with us and so forth. My questions to you is, Do you know of any good software to keep track of this or anything that can help me organize this a bit more?

    Thanks,

    -Max

  37. 37
    Joel says:

    Excellent post Jodi. At the moment I am trying to develop my market and network of clients in Medellin, Colombia. I am Canadian not Colombian, so in addition to facing a language and cultural barrier, I have to come up with marketing ideas/strategies that reach at totally different market. I like quite a few of the suggestions that you have given, particularly the donating a session to a charity, portrait parties, and contests. Have you ever ran a facebook contest where the winner gets a free photo session? If so what was the action that you wanted them to do in order to win – like, buy, etc?

  38. 38
    Michelle says:

    Thanks for all the marketing ideas. I think this is really going to helpful with my new photography business.

  39. 39
    kedr says:

    Thanks for such an extensive list. Lots of them are employable and sure to bring me more business.

  40. 40
    Lance says:

    Thanks so much. I’ve been searching for so many tips on how to market myself. You have so many hints and tips on the one page. I’ve printed and bookmarked your page. Thank you so much

  41. 41
    AMber says:

    Thanks for the great information… a lot to consider:) I realize where I may be going wrong and what I can do to improve my business. Thank you for sharing… AMber

  42. 42
    Bethany says:

    Great tips! Thank you!

    Also, this might not be the best place to say it, so sorry about that, but do you know that this post is copied word for word here: http://www.medianovak.com/blog/photography/marketing-tips-for-photographers-2/ :/

    Just thought you might like to know.

  43. 43

    Hi Jodi

    These marketing ideas are great and I can see you put a lot of work into compiling this list and useful resource.

    The one comment I would add is that a major way a lot of photographers are really missing out on getting new clients is by under-estimating the power of their blog, and thinking that the only kind of post they can make is to show off the latest session.

    Blogs have a lot of benefits for the photographer, for example:

    * Attracting new visitors from search engines via SEO…
    * Building trust and authority with the audience…
    * Extending the reach of the photographer in the local community…
    * Showing new work, and presenting testimonials…

    There are a lot more, but even these should be enough motivation to get people moving on starting or improving their blog to help with their marketing.

    Thanks for posting this wonderful resource, and I’ll be sharing it with my folks too.

    Cheers

    Nigel

  44. 44
    joseph braun says:

    Wow.. This is a great list.. A bit overwhelming but definitely great ideas. Now I need some interns or elves to help me do all these wonderful things.. You’ve made this photog very happy :) Thanks again!

  45. 45
    Alon says:

    Thanks for the info this is great.

  46. 46
    Sophie says:

    Awesome tips. Thanks for sharing!!!

  47. 47

    Thank you a lot of good tips. It’s fantastic!

  48. 48
    Katie says:

    Great tips thanks!

  49. 49
    syed says:

    superb and verry usefull tips for photography nice article thanks

  50. 50

    Many Many thanks for your article!!!

  51. 51
    Rami Bittar says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post.
    Greatest tips on the web.

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