13 Ways to Find New Customers as a Freelance PhotographerWritten by Bernard on February 27, 2017
Freelance photography is a great industry to get into.
It’s estimated that the freelance photography will increase 15% over the next two years, with a revenue of over $10 billion.
We’ve mentioned before how you can get started on your own successful freelance photography (and even wrote a free ebook about it).
Today we want to look at how you can find new customers as a freelance photographer.
#1 Attend events with your camera in hand
One of the best way to get your new customers is to go to events in your area. These don’t have to be photography-industry related events. They can be any events. In fact, the more casual or fun the event, the better.
Just remember to take your camera with you. Your purpose there is to meet people, but also to offer to take their pictures. You will have to exchange contacts for that, and you’ll have a prospect. If they love your results, they may use your services or refer you to others.
#2 Build your portfolio—for free or a reduced price
The most important thing you can do as a new freelance photographer is to build up your portfolio. Obviously, when people are considering you as their photographer, they want to see your past work. If you have no past work—tough luck, you’ll have no future work either.
One popular way is for photographers to put out notices on their social media accounts that they’ll be doing portfolio work and would like some models.
This can be for free, or even better, for a limited time at a greatly reduced price (things that are priced are seen as more valuable).
If they loved your work, you’ll get clients or great referrals.
One way to establish yourself as a serious photographer, and thereby draw in your clients, is by setting up your own blog. This could be part of your website, or it could be a free Blogger or WordPress site.
Either way, you’ll be showing off your intellectual and photographic talents. Here you will be talking about photography topics, controversies, new equipment, and even providing bit-by-bit tutorials of everything you’ve learned.
#4 Guest post
If you’d rather not set up your blog, or even better in addition to your blog, you should start guest posting on sites with greater reach. This can be along the same topics you’d write for your blog—things you know and are passionate about.
This way, you can get exposure to that site’s hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of readers. This is great exposure (although for a beginner, you’ll probably have most luck on the smaller sites).
#5 Create a compelling website
As a photographer, you’ll need to showcase your portfolio. Of course, this being the 21st century, in order to get greater reach and more possibilities, you need to do this digitally.
In short, you need a website. But not just any website. Your skill is your eye for beautiful things—therefore, your site should be just as beautiful as your photography. It should be simple, easy to navigate, and focused mainly on your beautiful pictures.
Be sure to include your information so prospective clients can contact you.
#6 Network with all industries
This is important to do. Not only should you be making connections with people in your industry or those closely related (such as photo production, studios, etc.), but also as many industries as possible.
Besides your printer’s, there may be an art supply store, baker’s, furniture store, even your local hair and beauty shop. The thing about photography is that almost every business would benefit from it.
If you can network with them, they can send you clients and you can send them some. This is a mutually beneficial relationship that can last for years or even your whole career.
#7 Submit stock images
If you’ve got a great portfolio of fantastic images, you don’t have to just sit on them. You can submit them to stock agencies such as iStock. They will allow you not only to get paid for your images, but also to find (or at least get found by) companies and individuals.
When those companies see your great work, they’ll click on your bio page and find a way to contact you.
#8 Find businesses willing to hang your work
In another freebie method, you can go around (or call around) to different types of businesses willing to hang up your work.
This work can be from your portfolio, or work you are willing to do of their business (for free or reduced price). Not only should you give them the right to hang up your photos, you should also work to frame it in a way that you’d be proud.
That way, that business’ customers will see your photos and you can potentially catch a new client.
#9 Ask for referrals from others
One important thing to do is to constantly be asking for referrals from people. These people can be past (or present) clients. They can also be friends or family that you have worked with.
Of course, these people will have to be familiar with your work. When you get the referrals, you can use them in your marketing materials. You should also place them prominently on your website or social media page.
#10 Join social media groups
Social media is the most important landscape for new businesses for many reasons. One of those is that it will help you to get established and find the right connections.
These groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, should be industry-related. They can be simple photo sharing groups or photography tips and tricks. The latter is best for finding new clients, as many people will have questions that you may be able to answer.
Even better, you can also have all your questions answered and of course making important connections with established photographers.
#11 Volunteer at fundraisers
Fundraisers present a great opportunity for photographers. Because they operate on free services and products being offered, you can volunteer your time.
As each fundraiser is an event, it is worthy (and desired by the organizers) to be photographed. They would be happy to have your services, and you could end up rubbing shoulders with local philanthropists. You’ll definitely either get new clients or great referrals.
#12 Teach a class
Every once in a while, you can offer to teach a one day or one-week class at your local school or library. You can even set up a free event in your studio or other location based on a topic (for example, in a park for nature photography).
This allows you to get exposure, reputation, and a potential client base.
#13 Enter photography competitions
One other way is to enter photography competitions. These will help you in two ways:
- you could get some money or exposure by being featured in a recognized publication or web site
- you could use the winning event as a way to advertise yourself.
For the second point, you can (and should) place it on your website.
Even better, you should send out notifications to your local newspaper, media outlet, and even school notifying them that you (a local resident, former students, etc.) have won a photography competition. This is a great way to find new customers.
Find new customers today
These are only 13 of the many ways there are to find great new customers. However, in order to start ramping up your client base, you need to start being proactive…starting today. Take one, two, or all of these ideas and try them out.
You’ll definitely find some clients that way.