21 Best Photography Marketing Ideas from the Pros

Cody Cromwell
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Find a Unique Niche and Grow Your Audience

Sometimes it feels that so many photographers are vying for our attention with their stunning photos, it’s hard to feel inspired. But, I’m constantly astounded by the variety of subjects photographers are tackling, and the ones that are really stepping outside the box. Dennis Leupold is an energetic guy with a passion for marketing. Use this image as a jumping off point for starting a list of new ideas.

Collaborate with Influencers That Already Have a Large Following

A great way to get your content seen by a lot of people is to collaborate or team up with known influencers who already have a large following. It’s also a great way to ensure the audience that you create will likely be one who is interested your brand.

There are many ways that you can collaborate with other influences. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Donate at Silent Auctions

Create a Branded Website for Your Portfolio

A great way to showcase your best work and get some killer photography links is to create a portfolio website. I’ll show you how you can do this plus a number of other killer marketing ideas.

The first thing you need to do is set up a website for your photography business. This can consist of a simple static page displaying your work or you could opt for a fully featured site. If you choose to go with a basic portfolio website, you should go for a photography level basic theme. If you have more than a couple of pages, free photography level themes will do this for you.

Given that you’re not simply trying to sell yourself, a basic portfolio website will do the trick. Building it should take you no more than a couple of hours but for a better result you could spend some more time and spend more on a photography level theme that integrates with the kind of layout you want.

Next, you need to think about making your website look as professional as possible. Most importantly, you want to make sure it feels as if it’s built on a regular website design. Your photography level theme will offer many website design options. In order to get the best results, you’ll want to select a layout that allows you to use custom CSS. This level of control will allow you to make your website fit the bill perfectly.

Repurpose Your Content as Cinemagraphs on Facebook

You can create very engaging and beautiful cinemagraphs with your own photos. On Facebook, take your content, edit it with your mouse, line, lines, pixels, rectangles, ellipses or even shapes, and save it as a gif or a png file.

Position the center of the graphic and scale the image. Then set it in motion with your mouse. Create an animated single image or sequence of images and discover how you can create a short story out of one compelling image.

Facebook is a place where people share not only their words, but also photos. Animations attract attention and make what you post look even better.

Take on a Project for Your Chamber of Commerce

Raising money to help your chamber build or repair something important (like a park, a pool or a bathrooms) will give you a great business marketing tool. While maintaining an ongoing list of business contacts is great, giving them something to talk about that’s a one time event not only helps fund a project but also makes great marketing for your company.

Hold a fundraiser to raise money for your community. Your business marketing may not allow you to have a booth at the most popular festivals, but if you participate in one of them, you will see your business marketing benefits and raise money for a great cause. A lot of festivals have a silent auction for great business marketing opportunities (including business gifts, donated items and VIP tickets to events).

Take pictures of your business and post them on Facebook and Twitter. Both social media connectors are good chances for you do share pictures of your building, your retail outlet and any employees.

Set up a page on LinkedIn to share details about your business. You can do this through your company’s page on LinkedIn, or you can create a page of your own specifically targeted to your business marketing.

Write business articles. There are a lot of ways to publish them. You can send them to your customers through email. You can publish them on your business’s website or you can post them on your own or on popular business websites.

Learn How to Write

GREAT Content for Your Next Photography Marketing Campaign!

If you’ve ever tried marketing your photography business, you’ll know that creating and implementing an effective plan is a bigger challenge than photographing a single session. But no matter how good your marketing tactics are, if you don’t write content that’s compelling and interesting to your audience, you are going to struggle to get your business off the ground.

Content marketing and photography go hand in hand. Like a photo itself, content must first be visual before it’s capable of connecting with an audience. Keep in mind that content marketing and photography are not interchangeable. You might be able to write an amazing article about a photography business, but not everyone who comes to your blog or reads your article will become a customer.

To achieve maximum results, you need to drive traffic to two places: your written work and your portfolio. Your portfolio is a place where potential clients can explore your photography business. When potential clients browse your portfolio, it is the equivalent of them interacting with your work – and you must make sure that all images in your portfolio are of your highest quality.

Participate in an Online Photo Contest

One of the most effective and easiest to implement photography marketing methods is to participate in an online photo contest. In photo contests, photographers of all levels have the opportunity to learn and grow as well as showcase their talent. They also have a chance to get many entries into one photography competition. This is a great way to increase your contacts and will allow you to learn about this new industry.

The Photo Contest of the Month Club does contests with different themes for every month. The winners of each contest are featured on the Club’s page and then the contest theme is presented the following month. This gives another reason for people to come back for more and I’ve seen this technique working several times for people to get loads of entries for just one photography contest.

Another great site to submit your photos to is ShutterStock. The ShutterStock competition is a great place for you to showcase your pictures and win photo awards.

Separate the Work of the Client from Your Creative Work

As a photographer, you want your work to eventually be accepted by the public, but is it always a good idea to let your work get this far without a client’s approval? It’s a good question, but if you’re like almost all would-be photographers out there, you’ve definitely sat knee-deep in this debate many times. So, have you ever considered the possibility that you’d edit some of your photographs or resubmit them to more appealing titles, if given the chance of receiving a critique from a potential client?

And if you are thinking of submitting photographs to the public, it would be a wise decision to let them be seen by fellow photographers first … not to get feedback on how they look, but to attract the attention of clients who can make your career a success.

Most photographers discover that this proposal isn’t an extremely viable option, so they start a career under the premise that they’ll see the fruits of their labor in the form of a paycheck. But what happens if the person you’re submitting your work to is just your best friend or your mother? Will your submission be met with the same kind of enthusiasm and appreciation as it would be from a client?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Learn to Use YouTube to Support Your Portfolio

YouTube is a marketing gold mine. No matter what type of photography you do or aim for, video can boost your exposure, and with exposure, comes a whole world of opportunity. As a photography blogger, I’ve used my YouTube account to fuel my blog and my income for years now, and I’d happily recommend it to anyone reading this.

If you’re ready to start using YouTube, here are some useful tips that can help you maximize your YouTube marketing success so you can maximize your photography.

Go Where the Audience Is

Be the most visible in the room. Keep your camera in your right hand, and aim upward while you’re shooting. This is a good way to make sure you get great eye contact with everyone in the room. If you’re shooting in front of a lectern or standing closer to the people in the room, show that you’re serious and also add that you’re in a professional space.

Move around. Move around the room as you break up the conversation, while you’re asking questions, or when you’re answering them. This is one of the easiest ways to engage with people, especially if you’re first encountering a room.

Be environmentally friendly. When shooting in a big meeting room, use the room’s big windows to point your camera at the natural light. Rather than controlling the room’s overhead lights or some fixture, this will save you from having to use your flash in some situations.

Ensure That Your Portfolio Is Also Search Engine-Friendly

Attract potential clients by having a beautiful portfolio show off your work on the internet. Photos on your website can increase your chances of making a sale, so you should put a lot of time into creating. Professional photographers must be able to showcase their work in a gallery, or portfolio website.

Put the profiles of company executives on top of the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! so that potential clients can find and read about them easily.

Create a blog for your business to make it easy for visitors with a specific area of interest to find you. Make sure all of your photos are properly linked to articles and that the articles are on your blog so that readers can see the pictures.

Be sure to show off your work as much as possible. Editors and site owners can see clearly what you are capable of if you have a blog or website, so make sure you use photos of your work and repeat the same image on different pages so it is easy for potential customers to find.

Add or upgrade your photo portfolio with a photo editor like PicMonkey. PicMonkey is an online tool that is fast and easy to use, and allows you to make any type of photo look perfect professional.

Social media marketing is excellent for helping your brand name spread online, and for promoting your website. It is vital that you have a presence on social media, to ensure your business has a huge amount of exposure.

Become an Online Instructor

Becoming an online instructor enables you to reach out to potential clients all around the world. And since you’re going to have to invest in studio equipment, you might as well make some money from your top-notch pictures. Their profiles will vary depending on the type of service they’re offering.

Some online instructors provide extra, optional services to their customers such as private lessons, prints, or photobooks. They have their own profiles on a range of social networking sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Photographers sometimes earn additional income from posting their work on external websites. These may be traditional galleries or a range of specialized websites designed specifically for photographers. Some examples include 123RF, Photoshelter, and Fotolia.

Engage In Email Marketing

You should start your email outreach by finding an email list that is relevant to your subject matter. You’ll then want to craft a subject line that will capture attention, something like “Learn how to …..” or something similar.

Next, you need to make sure that your email is professional. You need to use clear and concise language and that you make it easy for the recipient to take action.

You also need to make sure that you include as many links as possible because this will help you build more trust with your audience.

Lastly, you need to make sure that your email is not only personal but also professional.

Build Strong Partnerships

Relationships and partnerships are always main focuses of branding photographers, but not all methods are effective. Here are several ways to build personal relationships with those who can benefit your business.

  • Plan to build a relationship at a yearly industry event. The largest of these are the Professional Photographers of America Show in January and the Professional Photographers of Canada Conference in March. These events and others provide a great opportunity to meet and network with other professionals in the field. If you are in a small community, other regional events can be even more beneficial.
  • Attend local community events. Commonly held events include weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. These provide a great opportunity to build relationships with potential clients as well as to get to know your community.
  • Collaborate with a local business. This can offer excellent services and products for your clients and an excellent opportunity to build relationships as well. One example of this is with a web design company. For a small investment they often give you a great website, they can build you a playlist for your photography portfolio, and they can even help you build your web presence.

Share Real Client Reviews and Testimonials

Most customers internet purchases are incomplete. They ask for advice and opinions but don’t follow through and buy the product.

Use real customers testimonials shared via social media or a testimonials page.

Utilize the Power of Instagram

If you’re not already getting tons of engagement on Instagram, now’s the time to start planning an Instagram campaign to tout your business’s latest projects, achievements, and products.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have taken to Instagram as a way to showcase their latest content and push out organic brand promotion. All you have to do is hire the right Instagram photographer and get on the same page as they are for the best results.

Fine art photographers are great for Instagram photography, but if you’d like to reach a more diversified audience, look for engaging photographers who can create a wide variety of images. Check out these 21 ideas for photography marketing and see how you can incorporate your brand marketing ideas into these wonderful photo opportunities.

Attend a Live Concert or Event

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of a band or up and coming artists, there a lot of organizers who use crowd shots on their websites and social media accounts. Whether you want to be a part of the concert or event, attend as a guest, or perform as the photographer for the company taking photos on-site, you can use your photography skills to capture all the fun going on.

Get Behind the Scenes at a Golf Course

Mingle with the Locals

The best thing that you can do when going out for a photo shoot is to mingle with the locals. You don’t have to be a local, but it helps if you keep your ear to the ground and learn a little about the city. If you’re going to take a photo of a person in front of an interesting building, ask them first if it’s ok for you to take a photo.

If you’re going to take a picture of an old structure, talk to the people who live in that house or who own it to find out what they know about the building. Sometimes they’ll let you into their property to take a photo and sometimes you’ll just have to keep your distance to respect their right to privacy and not invade on their peace.

If you’re shooting a cityscape, you can get a lot of great photos just by asking a local to sit down on a park bench for a few minutes.

Make Sure Your Online Gallery/Website Is Beautiful and Loads Fast

There are a few tips to make your online gallery or website beautiful. One of those is to make sure that your image gallery loads fast.

Read your site code to know what’s going on. What font size and colour do you use to showcase your images?

Pay attention to your gallery’s meta tags. How many image dimensions and browsers do you support?

Make sure that the images your gallery displays are of the best quality.

Get Featured Online

Have you heard of photography internships?

They are a great way to practice photography with a focused purpose, gain some hands-on experience, and find a job that you can build a career in.

You can have the opportunity to work with some of the best photographers in the world and learn by watching. They can teach you about the advantages of working with certain equipment and specialized techniques.

This short video by Gary Einstein from The Photo Show highlights some great things you can do while interning, such as shooting, editing, and marketing.

Over to You

At the Start of Your Journey:

Really, there’s no better time to be thinking about starting a photography business than right now.

With your own income, while simultaneously reducing your dependence on full-time jobs, the road to full-time photography can be a very attractive option.

With the market for photography marketing ideas steadily increasing, there’s no better time to be thinking about starting a photography business than right now.

Now, with that being said, there’s a huge difference between starting a photography business and starting a photography business on your own.