As a professional photographer, someone who makes more than half your annual income from your photography, you are confronted with a dilemma that all professionals, visual artists, and business people face: how to sell your service or your products.
Here are four diverse and low-cost ways to promote your business:
- Market your photography business online
Although there are many ways to market online, here is a checklist of steps to take to develop a simple but robust marketing system:
- Choose a web hosting provider that offers fast service for a high-load website.
- Make a portfolio online with a template that allows you to showcase samples of your best work.
- Add a blog to your website to create fresh content that will improve your search engine ranking.
- Sign up on LinkedIn, a social media platform for businesses, to create a business profile, network, and share your latest blog posts.
- Create a Facebook account so that you can use Facebook ads to send paid traffic to your website.
Your website will allow people to see samples of your work while your blog will build relationships with people. Meanwhile, your LinkedIn profile will help you network with people who might be interested in your services and Facebook advertising will allow you to get almost instant traffic.
- Exhibit your photographs
Since photography is an art, like painting or sculpting, many people will be fascinated by the aesthetic elements of your work. If you have some exceptional photographs, then you will receive quite a bit of attention, in fact, far more than your online portfolio and social media presence can offer.
Besides growing an audience, you never know whom you will meet. For instance, you might meet a travel magazine editor who needs to send a photographer to accompany their journalist on a trip to Africa for an in-depth article on the best African safari tours of 2018.
Some places to exhibit include galleries, public libraries, local coffee shops, high schools, universities, business conferences, and community centers. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You are not only making their environment more interesting and attractive, but you are also helping them increase the number of people who come to their event. In return, you are building your brand and increasing your own business contacts…and, perhaps, even selling a few of your photographs.
- Teach photography online and offline
Many people are fascinated by photography and would love to know how to take better pictures. By sharing your knowledge, you will also be building your reputation as a seasoned photographer.
You can teach what you know at local community colleges and online educational platforms, beginning with the rule of thirds.
You might also want to write a book about photography and give talks at service clubs as a recognized expert in this field after your book has been published.
- Attend business networking events
Depending on how you approach it, business networking can be either highly-productive or a complete waste of time. It will be productive if you think about networking in a strategic way, and it will not work out if you just show up at a few random events hoping to bump into the right people.
Here are three strategic ways to network:
- Do some preliminary research on the best places to network. Think about what kinds of businesses hire photographers. For instance, people in the digital marketing space, ranging from agencies to web designers are often looking for someone who can provide their business or their clients with original, high-quality, copyright images. So, go to places where digital professionals might hang out.
- Learn the art of small talk. If you’re a highly-intellectual person than small talk might not come easy for you. Instead, you like to deep-dive into politics or science or philosophy or futurology and are quickly bored with superficial banter. You can learn the art of small talk by taking small business charm classes at a community college. You will learn how to talk to anyone about anything.
- Prepare ahead of time. Your preparation will consist of two things: getting business cards and learning how to deliver an elevator speech. All these are relatively modest preparatory steps, but you’ll be amazed at the number of people you’ll meet who don’t have business cards or whose idea of a conversation is a boring spiel on how their business will help you.
In summary, by following these four ideas, you’ll connect with people online who are interested in photography, people who appreciate photography as a visual art, people who want to learn how to become better photographers, and business people who need good quality images to build a brand.