If you’re just starting out in photography, one of the biggest challenges is finding your first few clients. While you can have a great social media presence and website, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t find clients (and are trying to).
So what are some good ways to get in front of people and attract clients?
Shoot and Share
This is one of the greatest things I did starting out. I attended public events in community spaces and took photographs. I took candids, posed photos and covered the event like I thought I should. If people asked me who I was shooting for, I said, “I’m out here enjoying the event and practicing my photography.”
Following the event, I shared the images online and tagged the organizers of the event. A lot of times, they would reach out and not only ask if they could share my watermarked images to their audience — but also if I’d be interested in shooting in the future for them.
Another great way to get seen is to volunteer your services for a local non-profit group. Every year I try to work with a few non-profits, as a way to give back to my community. The key here is to choose a group that you can either relate to or believe in their cause.
Usually the number one thing for non-profits is they don’t have standard photographs like staff headshots, event photographs or even some basic marketing images. Reach out and say you’d love to provide one of these services at no charge. Following your work with them, tell them that you’d appreciate an online review, and that you look forward to working with them again.
While this doesn’t usually pay off right away, most of the non-profits I’ve volunteered for have come back to me for paying gigs, which has led to more exposure and in turn more clients.
Donate to a Silent Auction
This is something I do a couple times per year, which is to donate a package to a silent auction of a non-profit. While I don’t photograph a lot of families, I find that offering a family or event package seems to gain a lot of interest here. Depending on what you enjoy shooting, think of how you can position it to garner interest.
As a new photographer, the biggest challenge you have to overcome is how to expose your brand and start growing a client base. It takes a lot of work, but with a little creativity, you can gain some long-term clients because of it.
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