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50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

50 Marketing Tips for Photographers

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.
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51 Comments

  1. January 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm —

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

  2. January 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm —

    Great tips thanks!

  3. January 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm —

    superb and verry usefull tips for photography nice article thanks

  4. February 6, 2014 at 6:37 am —

    Many Many thanks for your article!!!

  5. April 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm —

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

  6. September 24, 2014 at 5:27 am —

    There are plenty of Marketing Tips to promote your photography skills but I believe photography events are the best way to show photography skills and to make professional connections!

  7. October 13, 2014 at 7:09 am —

    This is something what i am looking for great Article helpful tips for photographer specially for those who are new to start their career!

  8. April 25, 2016 at 9:08 pm —

    Great tips! I have used several of these already. One update to this list would be experiential marketing. That is, getting in front of your clients and creating an experience for them. This is something that will connect you with your potential clients and give them something unique that provides value into their lives. For example, run a photo booth and give them a free print to take with them and a link to your website. Make yourself unforgettable.

  9. Jimmy Rey
    May 12, 2017 at 7:12 am —

    Great article and very well explained. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Many thanks for your share.

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50 Marketing Tips for Photographers