A few years ago, I wrote a piece on how to find your first client, and how to get the word out about who you are as a photographer. Things like sharing your photos, communicating with past connections, volunteering and more are great ways to get your work out there as a photographer.
Now that you’ve landed your first client, what else can you do to gain even more clients?
Build that portfolio
Even if you don’t have clients, that doesn’t mean you can’t start building your portfolio. If you’re interested in photographing portraits, grab some friends and take them to some unique places in your community and work with them. Send them a few photos afterward to say thanks and for them to share.
And if you need some new subjects, reach out to a local nonprofit group you like supporting. They’ll be happy to have the photos — not to mention they might hire you later on.
Strategically reach out to businesses
I don’t mean reaching out to other photographers — though networking with them is great, too (especially those that can refer you). But what I do mean is to reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce and other networking groups. Offer a headshot session day at their office at a reduced cost. They’ll remember you from that headshot session. They might start asking you to photograph for their business’ events.
Offer your services in trade
I’ve got a friend who does this regularly, and it pays for all his travel to wonderfully warm places this time of year. In exchange for accommodations, he’ll deliver a video and some photos to the hotel, restaurant, etc. It’s a great way to get out and see the world. If photographing lifestyle, travel, etc. is your thing, it’s a great way to become noticed by other organizations, too.
Take your camera everywhere
We’re always told to take our camera everywhere so we don’t miss a shot. But there’s another reason, too. When you work at a coffee shop, meet someone for drinks, etc., bring your camera. Take it out. And most importantly — leave it out. People still have that envy when they see a big camera sitting around, and every so often you’ll be asked about it. And that can lead to a conversation about what you do for a living, and what types of things you photograph.
And with that said … have your business cards ready, too!
Meet with other photographers
I alluded to this a bit above, but it’s important to get relationships with other photographers. Join a meetup group, go on a photowalk, invite some of them out for coffee or drinks, etc. This will do two things. First, it’ll let you see how others talk about their photography business. Take mental notes and see how you can apply the good parts to your own business. Second, it’ll open you up to some referrals (and vice versa).
Prompt clients in advance
This is something I’ve begun doing more and more, and it works! Reach out to your clients one to two months in advance of their annual event, and ask if they’d like to discuss photography services again. This lets you get in front of the task and lets you book photoshoots in advance. The same thing goes for corporate portraits — ask if they’d like to do a yearly update. By now, they have new team members and at least some of their team has changed their hair.
Simple strategies like these can help you get a little more work, and can ultimately help in planning your business throughout the year.
For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.