Aaaaghhhh!!!! Why aren’t people knocking down my door to get me to photograph their most precious moments?!
We’ve all said this. We’ve all had those moments where we just don’t understand where the people are, or the ones that will pay us are. Or you’ve finally built a business and now it’s time to move. I get it.
I’m a military spouse. I move…a lot. I have to rebuild my business every two to four years. But I’ve done it, and so can you. You don’t have to be a military spouse to benefit from these tips. They can be applied to a new business, a new market, a new city, or a new focus of your business. I’ve implemented these and have been able to standout and be successful in the places I’ve lived.
So here are some tips on how to get new photography clients:
1. Get Involved
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’m saying it anyway. Get involved. How will people know who you are if you don’t put yourself out there? Attend events, your children’s functions, community markets and festivals, and anything that’s going on in your target area. Talk about what you do.
Networking and getting involved are close, but not quite the same thing in my book. When I network, I do so with others in the industry. This means that I seek out hair stylists, makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, designers, models, and even other photographers. These can be great sources of leads. When I moved to Boston I hooked up with a hair stylist/makeup artist that I’ve worked with continually. I send her clients and she sends me clients. Most of the time we are working together, but I can also refer her to other photographers. This has helped her see the value in continually referring her clients to me.
Do you get your hair done? Your makeup or nails? Bring up what you do in a casual conversation with these service providers. They’ll remember…trust me. Keep the door of communication open and use them when you can.
3. Build Your Portfolio
Portfolio building is great whether you’re brand new to photography or if you’re a seasoned veteran. This is a great way to get people talking about what you do. It’s also a great way to find your favorite spots in the new area. I portfolio build whenever I get to a new area. I’m not shooting for free though. I will charge a very reduced price and run it as a special. Don’t give them everything for nothing but be sure to offer them a deal that can’t refuse, or won’t want to.
Whenever I’m portfolio building I have an end goal in mind. I will heavily style these shoots. I will pick out wardrobe, makeup, hair, and location. Use this time to get those key shots that will showcase your new city. Your keywording in blog posts will make much more sense when the images show the actually place you’re targeting.
We photographers are always trying to figure out a way to move up the search engine rankings. Well here’s a tip. Blog. That’s right. Blog, blog, blog. Blog about your upcoming move. Blog about your new business. Blog about your preparations. Blog about your work. Be sure to keyword your images and blog posts. Learn good SEO practices and implement them. While word-of-mouth has been one of the best ways I’ve attained new clients, my blog posts bring in quite a few too. People like to search for images, and when they see one they like, they tend to look up the photographer. You want to be that photographer.
5. Creative Projects
This goes along with portfolio building but is more focused towards shooting projects for fun. The ones that your clients might not “get”, but will get great feedback on Facebook and other social media outlets. These also help you keep your creative juices flowing while you’re building your business in a new area. I love doing “for me” project because there’s no pressure. There’s no pressure to please anyone but me.
So how does this creative project get you new clients? Well, you’re most likely working with hair stylists and makeup artists for this project. You actually put in work to find them because there’s no pressure. These new connections can refer their clients to you. You didn’t seek hair and makeup professionals? No worries. Your amazing photos will be shared on social media and increase your exposure. You’ll also be posting this entire experience on your blog. Your amazing images will catch the eye of new people.
6. Maintain Relationships
I get a lot of repeat business from clients from other areas. That’s right. I get repeat business from clients in other cities. One of the most lucrative things I do is the traveling session. I will host boudoir marathons, mini-sessions, etc., in cities that have a substantial group of clients. That way I can capitalize off of all the work I’ve done, and maintain these people as my lifelong clients. Not all of your clients will wait for you, but many will. It’s important to keep those relationships positive. This world is small and your past clients can be your biggest cheerleaders.
Try this tips out and stay in front of your target market. Remember, people won’t know you’re around unless you put yourself out there.
You can also read these dPS articles for more tips:
- How to Get More Referrals Than You Can Handle
- 36 of the Best Online Tools to Boost Your Photography Business
- The Ultimate Guide to Going Pro as a Photographer