Marketing a portrait photography business is a challenging task. Your prime focus should be finding the right clients and positioning yourself so your clients can find you. The other is ensuring you can provide the best possible service to your clients.
Knowing what kind of clients you would like to work with takes a lot of hard work. The type that will not only like your work but also helps you grow as a photographer. Let’s take a look at a few actionable tips to help you get started with the marketing of your portrait photography business.
Table of contents
- Maintain an Exemplary Online Portfolio
- Start a Portrait Photography Blog
- Know Your Ideal Portrait Photography Client
- It’s Time to Get Social
- Don’t Wait; Start Now!
- Volunteer to do portrait photography work for charities and events.
- Start Investing in Paid Advertising
- Build Connections with Like-Minded Businesses
- Attend Portrait Photography Conferences and Events
- Continuously Strive to Provide Excellence
- Marketing your portrait photography business – Final thoughts
Maintain an Exemplary Online Portfolio
Keeping your portfolio up-to-date is a big step in promoting your photography business. Focus on making your portfolio well-organized and attractive enough to drive interest in your work. Make sure that it fully represents the work you’ve done and hope to continue doing.
Building a website to house your portrait photography business has always been challenging. With the introduction of platforms like WordPress (the CMS which is powering the site you’re reading this on), you can quickly get the job done. Even if you find WordPress too tricky, there are always other alternatives. Squarespace is an option; although it offers limited functionality, it is much easier for beginners.
The importance of maintaining a portfolio for your photography business only applies to your portrait photography work. Consider creating filterable WordPress photo galleries to make it easier for website visitors and potential customers to sort through your work.
Moreover, edit your pictures properly to maintain a professional portfolio. Adobe Photoshop is one of the best and most well-known photo-editing software for photographers. If you are unhappy with your background, you can use free Photoshop overlays to solve it. Photoshop is a magic tool for many photographers.
Start a Portrait Photography Blog
If you already have a portrait photography website, consider incorporating a blog. Using the blog, you can easily promote the work you’re actively doing and your experiences working with specific clients and businesses, which will drive even more interest in your services.
Especially true because blogging will make you more likely to appear in search engine rankings. It will, therefore, drive more traffic. If you have fantastic content, people will be inclined to check out your portfolio after reading your blog posts.
However, if you need a website to showcase your work, you should consider it. There are a lot of website builders that are suitable for photographers and this type of business. This way, people will find you and your work easier. And who knows, maybe this could get you a lot of new clients!
Know Your Ideal Portrait Photography Client
When trying to reach an audience, it is crucial to know who that audience is made up of. This is true for marketing in every industry, especially for marketing photography businesses.
Your portrait photography business won’t flourish if you don’t have access to the kind of clients you’re looking for. It’s always a good idea to start by listing the various clients you might be interested in working with. Clients of most portrait photography businesses include friends and family, children, and possibly even engaged couples.
Identifying your ideal client also depends on a variety of things. Age groups and other factors depend on the theme you are interested in. Once you define your perfect client, it will be much easier to develop strategies to attract those clients.
It’s Time to Get Social
Unless you don’t want anyone to know about your photography business, you will need to get social. If you want people to talk about your business, you must give back something to the community.
By using your skills and showcasing them, you can gain some recognition in the photography community for your creative skills, ability, and experience.
Although there are various ways to get social, your ultimate goal should be to make the most of your social media platforms. Dedicate a significant amount of time to one platform rather than immediately diversifying to a high number of platforms.
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your portrait photography business. Nowadays, using Instagram can give you access to various tools and allow you to showcase your brand.
Instagram specifically provides you with analytics tools. Those can identify the audience demographics and what kind of posts perform better. Gaining a small (or large) following in the industry will help you build a reputation, authenticity, and a name for yourself. And nothing is more efficient than word of mouth!
Don’t Wait; Start Now!
- Set up a business page on Facebook. A dedicated business page looks more professional than a personal Facebook account. It gives you access to additional tools for reaching customers and showcasing your brand through paid advertisements.
- Use analytics tools to understand your audience and whether your following is growing. These tools can identify audience demographics and what type of posts perform best.
- Keep your pages updated consistently.
- Encourage people to promote your business on Facebook. One way to do this is to hold a contest. For example, most portrait photographers offer a free portrait shoot as a prize. Ask people to post about why they need professional portraits and include a link to your page in their posts.
- Embed your Instagram feed on your WordPress website. This lets you use your Instagram feed to keep your online portfolio as current as possible.
Volunteer to do portrait photography work for charities and events.
Although it may not appear ideal initially, spending some time working for free is a great way to start getting your work out there. One good example is volunteering to photograph at a charity or fundraising event.
The organizers of one such event will likely be inclined to share your work on social media and even their website. Do your best to make sure your work is accredited back to you as this will directly help drive attention to your business. If the organizers decide not to provide credit, don’t be disheartened, as they will likely still refer you to others if your work was good.
On top of that, all the attendees (not just the organizers) at the event could be potential clients! When they see you in action, check out your photos from the event, and realize your great job, it may lead them to hire or recommend you when appropriate.
Start Investing in Paid Advertising
Did you know the recommended spend on marketing for small businesses is 10% of your gross revenue? Most business owners market their portrait photography by investing in paid advertising.
This is a great way to target large populations you may be interested in. If you’re looking to run targeted ads, then the platform of your choice will likely be Facebook. It provides you with a huge array of tools to target your specific niche accurately.
The results from paid advertising vary greatly and also depend on things such as the graphics that you use when advertising yourself. Most photographers struggle to create effective ads that attract new customers.
Build Connections with Like-Minded Businesses
Another effective way to promote your portrait photography business is to get referrals from other business owners that are satisfied with your service. Building such connections with like-minded businesses is a great way to offer your skillset to the exact clients you’re looking for.
You can exchange your service from such businesses to promote your services in various ways. For example, offering them a discount or free photo shoot for an endorsement. You can photograph family portraits for the owner of a store in exchange for letting you do a display in their business. If this process mutually benefits both parties, it will be equally easy for one party to refer the other.
Attend Portrait Photography Conferences and Events
Suppose you aim to connect with other professionals in the same field you want to work in. In that case, attending photography conferences will provide insight into how other professionals handle their work.
Here are two of the largest upcoming portrait photography conferences you should consider attending:
- WPPI Conference for Wedding & Portrait Photography
- SYNC Portrait Photography Conference and Trade Show
The contacts you can make when attending such conferences/events may help you cross-promote your businesses to help each other grow.
Continuously Strive to Provide Excellence
Above all, satisfying your client should be your number one priority. What people think about your business and services will spread like wildfire, both good and bad.
To satisfy your clients, you should do everything possible to provide exceptional service. Continuously try to outrank your competition. Even the little things like sending custom products to your clients, like a custom greeting card or graduation card, will help you build a solid/deep relationship with every client you work with.
And, as we all know, a great product and service will practically market itself. So before focusing on implementing and spending time on complex marketing strategies, ensure you can provide a service you’re proud of.
Another thing you should do is actively look for ideas. Try searching for tips from experienced people. But remember that replicating someone else’s work will not benefit your business. Try to give old ideas a new perspective and see how that goes.
Marketing your portrait photography business – Final thoughts
Your top priority should never stop creating, learning, and evolving as a portrait photographer (no matter how good you think you are). Use these eight actionable tips to help you take your portrait photography business to the next level in 2022.
This step-by-step guide is also a great place to go next if you’re looking for helpful advice on how to become a professional photographer.