Pro Photography Secrets | The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More

Pro Photography Secrets | The Savvy Photographer's Guide...

Pro Photography Secrets | There are already more than 150,000 professional photographers in the U.S., according to Department of Labor statistics, and thousands of serious amateurs are continually seeking to become established. Whether yours is a new or long-standing photography business, you have plenty of competition. You may be the best photographer in the world but if you lack the ability to market yourself effectively, if you lack entrepreneurial skills; you will achieve nothing. To succeed as a photographer, you must know how to sell your skills and control your finances. Professional photography is highly competitive, but there are a number of steps small business owners can take to stand out in a crowded market.

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Invest in the right equipment | Pro Photography Secrets

This will be your principal investment, and it pays to buy the best you can afford. Do your research and work out how to allocate your budget to get the most useful equipment. Think carefully before pulling out that credit card, though. It’s hard enough to make a solid profit with photography without huge expenses to deal with. It’s very easy to get caught in the never-ending cycle of buying things to “help your business”. With photography, it’s even more dangerous because the purchases are fun and exciting!

Get visual | Pro Photography Secrets

To charge a professional fee for your photography, you will need to convince potential clients that you have the skill and experience to deliver the job. To do this it’s vital that you have a professional-looking portfolio. It’s essential that you have a website that showcases the best of your work, but it doesn’t need to be an extensive catalogue of all your images over the years, if anything, it needs to be a simple site that shows a balanced selection of your imagery.

Pro Photography Secrets | The Savvy Photographer's Guide...

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Advertising | Pro Photography Secrets

As well as being an expert photographer you’ll need to learn all about search engine optimisation and social networking to promote your services. If you find it hard to do it all yourself, then investing in a monthly contract with a reputable SEO agency will definitely be worth your while.
It took us a loooong time to realize that, in general, no one cares about what you’re doing. Unless you make them care about it. When most people think about marketing, taking out ads would be one of their first considerations. However, most photographers I know seem reluctant to take out ads, as its hard to justify the cost, even though it’s a very good way of getting your name out there.

When creating your own ads, make sure you understand who you’re targeting, the goal of your campaign, and how to creatively use the ad confines to get viewers to click on your ad, not away from it. If you’re still itching for more exposure, you can explore search engine marketing, wherein you pay to have a text ad appear when visitors search for certain keywords.

Design Custom Cards And Thank-You Notes | Pro Photography Secrets

Photographers often think that the only skill to advertise to clients is photography. If that’s you, then you are missing out on a ton of business. When clients see your messaging that merely offers engagement photos, they may think that Uncle Bob could do just as well (he has a really nice camera, after all). But when potential clients see that you not only do engagement photos, but that you’ll custom design their wedding announcement… they are more likely to take the bait. 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.

RELATED: Free Photography Marketing 101 | Why a Portfolio Website Just Isn’t Enough Anymore

Pro Photography Secrets | The Savvy Photographer's Guide...

Referrals Are Essential | Pro Photography Secrets

Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful sources of bookings for photographers. People are way more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend than an ad in a magazine. Use referral cards – hand these out with every order so your past customers can spread the word easily for you. You can set up a formal referral program that rewards clients for sending new business your way. Or you can simply give them a stack of business cards along with their photos, and let them know just how much you appreciate them telling their friends about you.

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When you take a person’s picture, regardless of whether it’s an “in-store” set-up out on a golf course, or along the street; you give your customer one of your coupon-receipts and tell them their prints will be ready either immediately of in a couple of days. They fill in the information part of the coupon and give it back to you, retaining your “business card” portion of it.

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