Last winter, I was out on a photowalk downtown, to see the city’s Christmas tree and the holiday lights. But the photowalk’s not what’s important here — it’s all about the marketing that occurred.

As we were wrapping up, a group of about eight people came over and asked me to take their picture. Usually this means they want it taken on their iPhone, but I knew I could get a much better photo with the gear I had on me.

I posed them next to the Christmas tree, took a few shots with different angles and then handed them my business card.

It turns out they were a group from a small company that had just finished an office party. And when I sent them the digital file of the photo the next day, they not only gave me some money for my work, they also proceeded to hire me a few months later.

It’s examples like this that, whether you mean to or not, you’re always marketing.

Be Prepared

I’ve learned to always have a few items on me wherever I go. First off, business cards. I have cards from, which have proven to be a wonderful marketing tool, as I use different photo backs on them. I let people choose from the handful of cards I have on me, making the experience more personable.

Secondly, when I’m in a public space, I always try to have some camera gear with me. It doesn’t have to be your biggest, baddest camera you have — your backup camera or travel camera will do. In addition to my camera body, I always have a standard lens on me, which usually means either my 24-70mm or 85mm. These are great for portraits and group shots, should the need arise.

And don’t forget that flash — at nighttime, you might regret not having it!

Be Aware and Smile

There were about 10 other photographers with me when I photographed that group, and they could have gone up to any one of us. When I see other people, I naturally smile at them. It’s become a learned habit with the events I photograph, as it helps to ease people’s minds about being professionally photographed.

When I smile in public, it shows warmth, and it makes it seem as if I’m more approachable.

Don’t Settle for iPhone Pictures

In similar instances, I’ve photographed people on their iPhones, too. But I always try to snap a photo with my camera as well, knowing that I’ll be able to edit the pictures and send them something that will create a lasting memory for them.

You might say “How about I make a photograph with my camera, and then I can send it to you?” with a smile. Most people won’t even think to do ask about doing this. But once they hear the proposal, they won’t think twice about it.

This also lets you avoid being handed 10 different phones all at once!

Follow Up with a Thank You

When you send the photograph over to them, be sure to say thank you, and how great it was to meet them. Include a link to your website (even if it’s just in your signature). You don’t have to be over the top here — but by keeping your smile going virtually, you increase the chances of being hired in the future.


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