No matter where you are, chances are your local market is saturated with photographers. From professionals with years of experience to beginners who are just getting started, everyone’s competing for the same small group of clients.
So with all that competition, how can you stand out?
The reality is, it’s not that complicated. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned shutterbug, these quick tips can help you get in front of new clients.
Building Your Presence Online
It’s hard to underestimate how important the internet has become for professional photographers. It’s where people go to do their research, how they see examples of your work, and where they go to read reviews from your previous clients.
If you’re one of those photographers who haven’t spent much time building your online presence, getting started can feel intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to have a website, be active on social media, and run a successful YouTube channel — just pick one thing to get started.
If you only have time to run and manage an Instagram account, for example, that’s okay! With just a small Instagram profile, you can show off your work, connect with potential clients, and get your name out there.
Claiming Your Google My Business
Whether you have a website or not, it’s important to think about how you appear in online search results for local photographers.
Even if you haven’t set up a Google My Business listing, it might already exist. Google yourself or your business name to see if your information is already showing up in Google’s search results.
If your listing already exists, you can claim it, update your contact information, and start using it to get more clients. But if you don’t have a Google My Business listing yet, it’s easy to set one up.
Here are Google’s instructions for adding or claiming your business on Google My Business and Google Maps.
Finding Your Niche
If you’re an established photographer, this is an easy one. But many beginners take a jack-of-all-trades approach to photography. They shoot weddings, portraits, advertising, pets, food, landscapes.
While it’s true that you can do these types of photography, your work looks unfocused. Different shoots require different equipment and skills. Clients who want a professional photographer to take pictures of their rescue dog are looking for a pet photographer — not a photographer who can take pictures of her dog.
Choosing a niche can feel like you’re limiting yourself, but you’re actually helping yourself find serious clients who are willing to pay extra for a photographer with your expertise. It’s a win-win.
Not sure how to find out which niche is right for you? Think about what kinds of work you enjoy — not necessarily what’s the most lucrative. When you do what you love, it shows in your work.
Setting Online Appointments
This tip is on the more tactical side. How are new clients contacting you? Do they call you? Fill out a contact form on your website? Sending you emails? Direct messaging you on social media? Something else?
These traditional contact methods are still around for a simple reason: They work.
But if you’re a one-person operation, responding to all these calls and messages and going through all the back-and-forth before you actually set up a meeting can be tough to juggle. What’s worse, it takes up too much of your valuable time.
Appointment setting apps eliminate the back-and-forth and help serious clients connect with you quickly, cutting through the noise. Prospective clients pick an open timeslot on your calendar, and you get a notification when the meeting is confirmed. Your calendar is updated in real-time, so you never get overbooked.
There are tons of booking apps out there at different price points. Try a few to see which one fits your business and your lifestyle.
Low-Cost Social Media Advertising
Marketing and advertising can be expensive. And for many small businesses, it can be prohibitively expensive. But social media advertising can be a cost-effective option for photographers.
Once you’ve established your niche, you can narrow down your audience. What types of people have been your best customers? Where do they live? What do they like to do? How old are they? Answering these basic demographic questions can help you target your ads and minimize your wasted ad spend.
Other than being able to micro-target your preferred clientele, the other major advantage of social media advertising is that you control your spend. Do you want to spend $5 or $500 a day? It’s totally up to you.
When you’re working in an oversaturated industry like photography, you have to find ways to stand out from your local competition. These tips can seem overwhelming, so start small. Over time, the little things can add up to huge successes.