It is not enough to know about the technicalities and have a creative eye if you are in the photography business. A business is only as good as its clients. And it is incredibly challenging to grow in this profession if you cannot acquire valuable clients.
I have been a freelance photographer for a while now and have had multiple experiences over the years. I have observed that good communication and business skills will help you in this journey, but they are still not enough to find photography clients. It takes much more than that.
You may have observed that while some photographers are always in high demand in the industry, others struggle to find decent clients. So what is the secret behind finding photography clients? How do you charm them and capture their attention? What are the mistakes you need to avoid?
I have learned some game-changing tips and strategies in this matter throughout the years that will help you attract lines and make a living out of this art known as photography. And that is precisely why I have compiled this guide to help fellow photographers in this department.
So let’s start and check out how to get photography clients.
- 1 The growing popularity of the photography industry
- 2 Effective tips to get photography clients
- 2.1 Invest in building a solid portfolio
- 2.2 Don’t lose focus on your niche
- 2.3 Create your professional website
- 2.4 Identify the right client for you
- 2.5 Sign up on freelancing websites
- 2.6 Social media platforms are solid game changers
- 2.7 Who doesn’t like discounts, right?
- 2.8 Ask your friends and family for referrals
- 2.9 Don’t be scared of feedback
- 2.10 Blog posts can help highlight your work
- 2.11 It is all about networking!
- 3 Mistakes to avoid when looking for photography clients
- 4 Conclusion
The growing popularity of the photography industry
Before checking out different strategies to get photography clients, let us have a quick look at the condition of the photography industry today.
Many people are jumping on the wagon today, and even though this industry took a slight hit during the covid period, it steadily rose again. Many new trends and technologies are emerging in the photography industry today, which is nothing less exciting. Some niches are doing better than others, like maternity photography, wedding photography, real estate photography, etc.
According to a survey conducted in March 2022, 57% of the photographers who participated in the survey revealed that they feel optimistic about the growth of photography. The top 3 photography specializations that came out on top for 2022 are portraits, landscapes, and weddings. Events, sports, and fine arts were also on the list.
Approximately 83% of photographers revealed that they worked with around three types of clients, out of which 37% disclosed that they worked with only a single type of client. And when it comes to identifying clients, most of them were either small to medium-sized businesses or individuals.
According to the report submitted by the Photographic Services Global Market, it has been estimated that the photography industry will hit around $44 billion by 2025. And I have to be honest when I say that even though the demand for photography services is not that stellar, it is still pretty huge and serves as a fantastic earning opportunity.
And regarding earning photography clients, the traditional recommendation method is still working, and of course, social media presence plays a huge role today in showcasing your talent to the world. And out of all social media platforms, focusing on Instagram should be at the top of the priority list.
At the same time, you must keep an eye on the trends when you want to grow as a photographer. Smartphone photography is growing increasingly popular, and an estimation has been made that approximately 93% of the photos clicked in 2023 will be by a smartphone (Android or iPhone). This is in comparison to around 89% in 2020. So, as you can see, it is a huge jump.
Talking about trends, going for minimalist shots, and unfiltered images are winning many hearts today. Aesthetics has become a significant factor, and maintaining an aesthetic for a picture has become almost mandatory nowadays.
Nonetheless, we have seen that the photography industry is growing rapidly, even though there was a slight halt during the COVID period.
Effective tips to get photography clients
So you are talented and have an idea about the technical understanding required in photography. But is that sufficient to make a living out of your passion? Not exactly.
If you want to grow in the photography business, you will have to flaunt your work so that it can capture the attention of your target clients. And that requires a lot of different factors, like good communication skills, interpersonal skills, a fair idea of the photography business, customer service, etc.
Finding appropriate photography clients can sometimes be challenging, even after working hard and gaining all the skills. The competition is intense but not impossible. If you apply the right strategies and tricks, you can find clients to succeed in this profession is about combining your skills with the correct marketing technique to attract the attention of your potential clients.
So let me go into it in detail and share the best practical tips to get photography clients.
Invest in building a solid portfolio
Your portfolio is an essential part of your career as a photographer. It will determine whether you can secure the clients you are targeting. Your portfolio is the element that will help showcase your talent and help you establish your position in this cut-throat competition.
It is much more than just a file. A portfolio is your introduction, something that will speak volumes about your work and help the client decide whether they would want to work with you or not.
The world of photography is constantly evolving, and you’ll always see different tricks and strategies coming up. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, and I went through this phase too. However, I soon realized that learning commercial photography is a massive help because it clarifies lighting, composition, and clicking the type of pictures clients look for.
It does take significant time to build the portfolio of your dreams, but it is worth it and a rewarding process.
Don’t lose focus on your niche
When you step into the photography industry, you will see an insane amount of niches to choose from. And I agree that it is not easy to make a pick when you have so many varied choices. But getting into all the niches, like food, wedding, and newborn photoshoots, will only be complicated for you, and you will not be able to master a single niche.
So if you want to know how to get photography clients, you must narrow down your niches and prove that you are an expert in one specific photography genre. Work hard to learn everything you can in that niche so that if anyone is looking for the best photographer in that industry, you can emerge as a leader.
Nobody wants to settle for something mediocre today. Everyone wants the absolute best regardless of the field we are working in. So our goal is to prove that we are the best in that photography department.
But let me think about this strategy from a different angle. Are you confused regarding which niche you should go for? Let me make it simple for you. Photography is a passion. Think about which scenario bring out the creativity in you. Do you love taking nature photographs? Or do you like clicking stunning food pictures? Is it exciting to be around children and showcase their joy and innocence in your pictures? It will help you gain better clarity.
Think about how much stress you can deal with. Wedding photography can be a good pick if you are in fast-paced situations. Food or product photography may be appropriate if you like a slightly slower environment.
I used to research local photographers in my area and worked as an assistant for a few of them to understand my preferences. Working with friends and family in different events and situations also helped in figuring out the genre I am interested in. You can follow these steps to decide for yourself too.
Create your professional website
Nothing works as well as the Internet today to get the exposure required to reach the target audience. I have already discussed the importance of your portfolio in one of the previous points. But creating the portfolio is not enough. You have to use the right platform to showcase your hard work. This is where a professional website comes into the picture.
If potential clients want to know whether you are the perfect fit for them, they will want to look at your work samples. So how will they be able to achieve this without meeting you? A professional website will help do this job.
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, and you should be able to build a sense of trust with the visitor. The features should not be too complex, and the user interface should be friendly but presentable simultaneously.
Trust me; you do need to have in-depth knowledge about coding to set up a professional website. Many options are available today to help you set up your website without extra effort. Sort your photographs into appropriate groups so it is easy for the visitors to search for what they like. I will also recommend selecting your best samples to showcase on your website, which makes it easy to attract potential clients.
Identify the right client for you
Remember what we discussed about choosing a particular niche? Once you do that, the next step is to concentrate on building marketing efforts that can target that specific group of clients related to the niche you picked. Being consistent with your work is very important here to attract the attention of the people you are targeting.
Let us assume you want to get into wedding photography. So your potential clients would be wedding planners, brides, grooms, and other people involved in this field. Your goal should be to reach out to clients who have an upcoming wedding. It could be their own, or maybe they are attending one.
In other words, I can say that picking your niche is a prerequisite for identifying the right client for you, as it clears up who you should target.
Sign up on freelancing websites
When searching for how to get photography clients, your main objective should be to make yourself as much visible as possible. Signing up on freelancing websites is a great option I can personally vouch for. It amazes me the difference Internet can bring into people’s lives and connect one person to another.
Multiple freelance websites connect you to potential clients looking for photographers. Some examples are Freelancer (an online marketplace with millions of users and job offers in all categories), Find a Photographer (for jobs explicitly related to photography), CherryDeck, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
Being active on platforms like these will give you plenty of opportunities to reach out to clients and get job offers. Why not make the best use of what the Internet offers, right?
Social media platforms are solid game changers
I cannot stress enough how important social media platforms are today. You cannot afford to miss out on social media platforms as it can elevate your visibility game to a significant extent. Marketing on social media platforms is budget-friendly, and that is why you will see that most photographers upload their work on their respective accounts with the right hashtags to increase their reach.
If I had to choose one platform out of so many to concentrate on, it would be Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular applications, with millions of active users. However, the key to playing with Instagram’s algorithm and increasing your reach is to be consistent with creating content.
The online marketing industry is growing with time, and brands and influencers are always in need of gorgeous and aesthetic photographs. Instagram is the platform you need to master to get more photography clients.
For example, let us suppose you worked with an influencer, and they uploaded the photographs you shot on their account. When they tag you in that post, their followers will be able to see that you did the work, and they will be able to check out your account as well. And if someone likes your work, they may reach out to you for a new project.
Another social media platform that is doing great today is Pinterest. You can create mood boards to build ideas for your audience and creatively showcase your samples. Facebook is another platform where you can share photos, live videos, and even interact with your followers to increase your reach. Want a small tip? Why not add a call-to-action button to make it easy for your followers to contact you?
There are endless ways to take advantage of social media platforms, and when I say the sky is the limit, I mean it in this scenario.
Who doesn’t like discounts, right?
Sometimes you may fail to attract more clients because you follow the same monotonous offer pattern. It is essential to spice things up and make the experience exciting for your clients. You will hardly find someone who does not enjoy discounts, and I have seen from experience that creating special discount offers and promotions help to attract clients.
Before going further, I would like to give you a small warning. Offering discounts is an art in itself. You know your worth, and if you offer significantly cheaper services, you will only manage to attract cheap customers. Focus on targeting clients who are more inclined towards quality rather than only cost. Curate the offers so that it does not reduce your brand value.
Like loyalty programs, you can also use a discount program for repeat clients. It will also attract new customers as they will understand how much you value your existing clients. You can host giveaways and contests at times and incentive referrals too. Marketing via word-of-mouth will never be outdated, and you can take advantage of this system.
For example, suppose a new client hires you based on a referral. You can offer them a 50% discount on the next session, or maybe $20 as credit in their account, which we can use for the next shoot, and so on.
Ask your friends and family for referrals
When I started my photography journey, a close friend of mine was my first client. In fact, I received several lines through referrals from friends and family members and have realized that it is a great way to kick-start your business.
Word of mouth still holds more power than any other marketing strategy, and people always trust the recommendations of someone they know. You can try this method to get more clients if you do not work for a specific company.
Don’t be scared of feedback
I know this may feel weird and scary when you do it for the first time. But it is a great strategy to improve yourself. You must be ready to hear the truth about your work to make necessary improvements.
It will make your clients feel like you are ready to go out of your way to do your best and fulfill their requirements. You can use this feedback as testimonials on your website or social media accounts.
You can also politely ask your client to share your work on their social media pages if they are willing to. It will help increase visibility.
Blog posts can help highlight your work
I will not declare this a mandatory strategy, but it is still effective in many ways. After you finish each shoot session, you can share your beautiful experience via a blog post and flaunt the images you captured. It also helps to share about the clients you worked with and build a proper relationship with them.
Apart from your experiences, you can also write blogs on relevant topics that might be useful for your clients. For example, let us suppose your niche is wedding photography. You can write posts on the importance of pre-wedding shoots, the kind of colors that work best for outfits during an engagement shoot, and so on.
Your ultimate goal is to make them want to book your services.
It is all about networking!
Ultimately, it all comes down to networking and building relationships with your clients. Irrespective of whether you are broadening your network online or offline, you will have to get in touch with other professionals in your industry to get the reach you want.
Networking is a two-way street. You must do the same if you want other professionals to promote your business in front of different clients. Design business cards for your brand and distribute them to local companies to expand your network.
I will explain networking with a small example here. Let us suppose you work as a wedding photographer. Build your network with caterers, florists, bakers, wedding venues, etc, and deliver your business cards to them. You can even offer a free session for a local company at a particular event to meet potential clients.
It will be an opportunity to show your work and attract more clients.
Mistakes to avoid when looking for photography clients
Now you know how to get photography clients. But here are some of the common mistakes you need to avoid.
- Do not fail to communicate properly with your client. Ask all questions you need to understand their requirements and explain the project’s scope before starting on it.
- Do not say ‘yes’ to any random rate if you are not okay with it. It is a classic example of selling yourself short, and you need to consider your skills and experience before agreeing to work with any client.
- Neglecting marketing strategies can be a significant issue growth of a business. When you think about growing your business, you’ll have to build reasonable financial goals and strategies to achieve them.
- Do not wait for clients to come to you. It will be impossible for anyone to know about you if you do not market your services and network with potential clients. Build proper schedules to sort your tasks according to their priority.
- Relying on discounts always is a mistake since you will not be able to attract the right customers.
I hope this article has helped you understand how to get photography clients. It takes time to build something from scratch, but it can also be fun with the right tips and strategies. The primary trick is to network as much as possible and work towards marketing your services. It will help you reach your potential clients and make your business grow.