Are you struggling to find work? Are you ready to bring your business to the next level? Are you confident in your artistic ability but lack clients? Well, I may have the answers you're looking for.
From time to time we all get in a photographic rut on the business end. But how do we get out? The answer: be proactive. Right now is always the best time ever to be an entrepreneur and/or small-business owner. Yes, this means being a photographer, too. The internet is a vast landscape of opportunity. If you're not using it to amp up your business — especially if you're in need of new and more clients — then stop what you're doing and start.
Utilize Social Media
Facebook and Instagram should be your two best friends. Yes, there are countless new updates to both platforms. But remember: neither owe you anything. Complaining about poor reach or visibility on your posts won't get you nearly as far as posting and utilizing the platforms. I've booked numerous new clients just by constantly posting to either Facebook or Instagram. The lead image was taken during a wedding I booked as a direct result of posting to a Facebook group. Plus, ads don't hurt, either. Another great way to boost engagement on your posts or traffic to your accounts is by joining a Facebook group. There are hundreds of groups and pages dedicated to just about anything you can think of. Are you interested in hiking, billiards, or cars; cooking, basketball, or rock climbing? Join a Facebook group for anything you're interested in and start creating awareness for your work by posting photos relating to that activity and letting people know you can photograph them while playing pool, shining their new car, or in the outdoors, etc. Think broadly!
Submit to Publications
Another way you could gain new photography clients is by submitting your work to publications. Just like Facebook pages, there's a magazine somewhere in the world that publishes images relating to your normal photographic subjects. Again: do you like hiking? Start submitting to Backpacker Magazine. Do you enjoy fashion? Maybe it's time to think about working with Vogue. Plus, never underestimate the connections you'll make while on an editorial shoot. While photographing for publications like North Volume Magazine and LOCALadk Magazine, I've met fellow photographers and friends who could help my business in the future. You're the only person stopping your upward progress and momentum in the photographic world. Shoot for the stars and be persistent. The more people who know and see your work, the more people will start reaching out to you to be their photographer for a shoot or project. Magazines cater to such large audiences that there's no telling who might stumble across your published image.
Start Cold Calling
If you're confident in your editorial or commercial skills, then you shouldn't be waiting around for potential clients to flood your email inbox or voice messages. Start cold calling (or emailing). Again, the internet is on your side. Start researching local businesses that match your interests and whom you'd love to work with. Find out who is in charge of PR, or simply reach out to the owner. In this day and age it's not terribly difficult to quickly find out who runs a local business with a quick Google search. LinkedIn and Facebook are great help for this, too. Next, analyze their website and social media content. If you think you can provide better content than what they currently have, let the business know. I think you'd be surprised what local businesses are lacking solid content to share with potential customers. Spend an hour or two doing this research and sending out emails (or pick up your phone) and don't be disappointed with results. Often times, reaching out to business whom you have no previous relationship to might not be the best. Some places may already have an internal team that creates content, and others simply don't know you and because of this don't trust you. But, usually at least one or two will get back to you. I've had some luck with this in the past and cold-calling is never a bad option when in need of clients and work.
I truly hope one of these methods helps jumpstart your business — whether you're in a rut or just starting to look for clients. There is currently so much opportunity in the world for entrepreneurs that it's truly a shame more people don't take advantage of it. The ideas and possibilities are endless. Other options could include: knocking on doors, starting a blog, creating posters for your work to put up around town, submitting to galleries, start a podcast... the list goes on and on. No matter what, though, remember the three Ps when trying to gain new photography clients and for having a successful photography business: be proactive, be patient, and be persistent.