Becoming a freelance photographer is a great career option for creative go-getters who want freedom and independence. Getting into this kind of profession enables people who are passionate about photography to earn a living while doing the things they love the most.
Entering a freelance photography career can give you freedom, satisfaction, fulfillment, and enjoyment. But venturing into this not only requires photography skills, but you also need to have entrepreneurial skills—and marketing is one of these.
There are a lot of ways to market yourself as a freelance photographer. All you need to do is decide which options are most effective for you based on your service offerings and ideal customers. Your success in this freelance business will depend on how you properly carry out the right strategy to get and keep your clients.
Here are 10 different ways you can market yourself as a freelance photographer:
The most important thing that you should do as a freelance photographer is to build your online portfolio. This will prove to potential clients that you are a bonafide professional photographer. Your portfolio should display your high-quality work and projects for your potential clients. Your prospective customers want to see samples of your work if they are considering hiring you. An online portfolio is a great way to showcase your work and to build a good reputation. You can include this portfolio on your website, and/or put it on a design platform like Behance or niche sites like The Knot and Zola, which are wedding planning sites and great for marketing yourself as a wedding photographer.
If you don’t have photos to put in your portfolio yet, that’s the place to start. In building up your portfolio, you can start by doing some free photography projects. One of the ways to do this is to find local models who need portraits to build their own portfolios. Another way is to volunteer to do photoshoots for local events and gatherings. You can use these photos to display your photography skills and techniques in your online portfolio. You can look for volunteers by posting notices on your social media platforms.
As a visual medium, social media has been one of the most prevalent strategies used in connecting photographers with potential clients and followers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest are among the widely used social media apps for freelance photographers. These platforms are used by business owners and freelancers to showcase their work, as well as for promotion and advertising.
Instagram is the most well-known application used by many photographers to showcase samples of their work and build a following. It has approximately 1 billion users and around 500 million of these users are active daily. Using this platform professionally can greatly help in building your brand and attracting prospective customers. It will also be useful to use hashtags and relevant themes in your profile to get found by additional followers.
Youtube is another social media platform used by freelance photographers in marketing. Through this site, you can post tutorials, time-lapse videos, videos of photoshoots, and product reviews. These videos can help in showcasing your knowledge, skills, and expertise in photography to your potential customers.
Another social media application that is gaining popularity is TikTok. This app is built for creating and sharing videos. It is now used by videographers to show short clips that showcase their video editing skills and creativity. It is becoming popular with photographers, too. Aspiring photographers gain followers in TikTok by posting engaging videos showing behind the scenes of a photo shoot and showing the finished product—which often amazes the viewers and entices them to follow you. You can use this platform in targeting and building a network of young audience members.
Content is a crucial element in marketing. One of the best ways to utilize this is through blogging. You can include a blog section on your website alongside your portfolio and information about you and the ways you can be reached. You can use a hosting site like WordPress for this.
Blogging can help you connect to improve your reach and gain your status in the photography industry. You can blog about topics that you are familiar with like photography techniques, equipment reviews, and personal experiences as a photographer. If writing is not your strong suit, putting paragraphs with lots of pictures will work great too. You’re a photographer, after all, and pictures should be the main focus of your website. But more than the photos, it is also important to have written content. This will help in providing your site visitors some information about you and your work. Through the contents of your blog, your SEO (search engine optimization) also increases, which helps your site go higher in Google rankings. Having fresh and updated content on your sites also helps in showing your customers that you are still in business.
It is also vital to blog about topics that your customers want to know or something that will spark their curiosity and interest. It will also help in narrowing your audience to a specific niche you want to focus on. For example, if you want to concentrate on wedding photography, you can blog about weddings and the photography details surrounding them. If you want to focus on product photography, you can blog about tips and tricks about this kind of photography. This can help you gather an audience that is interested in your niche, and they will also see you as an authority in your chosen topic or subject. It will help you position yourself as an expert in the industry, which will be very beneficial for you and your freelance career.
Testimonials are written or video statements provided by former clients that prove your credibility. They usually include reviews of your skills and expertise and of how satisfied they are with the service you provided. Testimonials help in showcasing the trust that clients have in you as a service provider and can help draw the attention and interest of prospective customers.
Putting testimonials on your website and your other marketing channels (Facebook, Instagram, Zola, etc.) is an effective way to connect your target audience because people are generally more trusting when it comes to the opinion of others. This is the reason why online reviews on eCommerce sites are very useful. You can provide a very simple questionnaire to your customers after your work with them so you can avoid generic testimonials. This will also help you gather the right information you need for your marketing needs.
An email list is very important in almost every business these days, including freelance photography. Building a database of clients, prospects, and fans who opt-in to receive emails from you and sending them emails from time-to-time are good marketing strategies you can use to grow your network.
People who opted to subscribe are already interested in your service, and they want to hear more about what you are offering. When your subscribers sign up, they can receive a series of emails that will build up their trust in you and your service. This will convince them to consider hiring you for the services you offer. Consistency in sending out emails with proper timing is crucial here. It is important that emails are strategically timed and properly worded—this will help sustain their interest and attention.
If you want to send out email newsletters, you can use Mailchimp, an email marketing platform you can use to easily reach out to your customers. Many of MailChimp’s features are free for small businesses and freelancers up to a certain point. Another option is ConvertKit which has a minimal fee but is very effective in email marketing and creating automations that can greatly help your business.
It’s important to have your own email marketing and automation because when you have this, you are in control. On social media, the algorithms of these platforms can change anytime and you don’t have control over it. Some changes to these can bring negative impacts to your business or your career. When you have your own email list, you can stay in touch with your clientele no matter what the latest Google or Facebook algorithm changes are.
Opportunities to give back to your community are endless. It will be beneficial for you as well because this is a great opportunity to expand your network while helping other people at the same time. It can help you build relationships with people from other professions or industries who may want to use your services or refer you to other people.
There are lots of options to choose from if you want to give back using your photography skills. You can consider donating free photography sessions to a cause you want to support (for example, your local animal shelter may need high-quality photos of the pets to help get them adopted). You can also offer free photo coverage to a community event, or you can give samples of your work for some fundraising auctions. Partnering with charities that are in alignment with your niche or industry will be beneficial for you. You are not only helping other people and putting your resources to good use by doing this. Through this, you are also expanding your network and creating new opportunities to advance your career.
Organizing an event, while a big undertaking, is a great strategy for marketing. This could be in the form of an exhibit or a workshop where you can invite guest speakers. You should offer something of great value to encourage prospects to come to your event. Hosting an event, even if it is just a simple gathering, is a great way to showcase your brand. The good experience the attendees will get from your event will be associated with your brand. It will also be a good opportunity for a follow-up. You can give them freebies for attending, for example a discount coupon for booking with you before they leave.
It is said that word of mouth is one of the most effective (and inexpensive) marketing strategies. People who are satisfied with your service are inclined to speak highly about their experience to other people. To encourage satisfied customers to refer you to their friends and family, you can opt to give bonuses for doing so. You can give discounts or give away gift cards to people who recommend your service to other people and bring customers to you. It requires a small investment, but the benefits are well worth it as referral marketing is a sure way to expand your network and make your business grow.
Getting involved with other professionals in your community is also a great way to market yourself. You can help promote their business and they will reciprocate by promoting your services, too. One example of this is building networks with wedding vendors. As a freelance photographer, you can build relationships with caterers, venues, dress shops, and other wedding vendors. You offer different services and do not compete with each other. Building relationships with them will help you build strong connections, which can result in them referring you to their future clients and vice versa.
Creating a Google My Business page can help increase your visibility on the web. Registering your service on this site will help improve the chance that you will come up in search results when people look for photographers in Google. It is important to put a location in your listing, especially if most of your work is local, so your town it will be included in the keywords you can be searched for.
Marketing may seem to be an overwhelming task for freelance photographers, but a good marketing strategy is important if you want to excel in the photography business. There is no single best method in photography marketing—it is a continuous effort incorporating a variety of marketing methods. If you work consistently and follow best practices, you can establish a steady photography business.
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