A career in photography can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs there is. Accessibility to a life as a freelance professional photographer has become much easier over the last twenty years, which means it’s now one of the most competitive industries you can choose to enter. Photography equipment and software is cheaper and easier to use than ever and, over the last ten years, the number of professional photographers marketing their services in the UK has risen dramatically.
So you’ve got the talent, but how do you get the bookings flooding in? Here are some easy-to-implement tips that you can act on today!
1: Define what you do
One of the first things you should do when venturing in to the world of professional photography is making a clear decision on the type of work you are going to specialise in. If you want to focus on commercial photography, focus on that and nothing else. Or at least don’t promote anything else. Many commercial clients will be turned off by a website that’s touting you as a commercial photographer and a wedding or portrait photographer. Likewise, engaged couples don’t want to see your awesome ecommerce clothing shots.
2: Showcase your work
This might sound obvious, but the quickest win for your photography business is to get your work online, across multiple platforms. Editors and photography buyers can and do use social sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to find new talent, so make sure you at least have a presence on these sites. You might also want to consider a bespoke photography website, as when you want to direct potential clients to your portfolio, it feels a lot more professional than sending them a link to a Facebook page.
3: Build your portfolio
As a professional photographer, your product range is the images that you create. The huge advantage you have is that you don’t have to wait for that dream client booking to come in to get your ideal set of images in your portfolio. If you are a wedding photographer, ask if any of your local bridal shops would like to collaborate with you. Marketing yourself as a commercial photographer? Set up a studio in your living room and shoot some products! If you were lucky enough to have a photography agent, that is exactly what they would be telling you to do. So get out there and shoot!
4: Get some promo cards
No one is going to book you if they don’t know about you. While you might get lucky and get occasional enquiries from your website or through social media, but you will struggle to keep your business afloat if you are not actively marketing your photography business to prospective clients. Sending promo cards is one way to market your work and get some images in front of potential customers. Commercial and editorial photographers can send promo cards by post to editors of magazines or marketing directors of companies that you would like to work for. Wedding photographers might ask to leave promo cards in wedding dress shops. Family portrait photographers could ask if local schools would mind inserting them in their next newsletter.
5: Drive traffic to your website
Assuming that you have your own photography website, a quick fire way to drive traffic to it is by using Google AdWords. Just be aware that you are entering into an extremely competitive market and it is likely that a healthy budget will be needed to see any success through AdWords. There are work arounds, such as using long-tail keywords. The best thing to do is sign up for AdWords and see what kind of budget their Keyword Planner tools suggests for the terms you want to target.