The freelance photography industry is one that is hard to crack open, but once you’ve been brought into the fold it can be a lucrative and freeing career choice.
While most people would jump at the chance to work on their own terms and their own schedule, most of the population does not make that jump. Why is that? Understanding how to get photography clients is not always intuitive. Freelance can be challenging and making your freelance photography business sustainable in the long term is even harder.
However, there are a few tenets to adhere to that’ll teach you how to get photography clients. Eventually, you should see your business grow to the point where it creates its own momentum. Until then, expect a lot of hustle, a lot of hard work, and always being “on” to get your name out there. With that said, these tenets are a great way to start your freelance photography career on the right foot.
1. Play to your strengths
Finding your niche and playing to that is often the best avenue toward understanding how to get photography clients. While many of us have a basic understanding of photography, and almost all of us have a passable camera sitting in our jean pocket, few of us understand the idiosyncrasies of understanding, for instance, the best flash for nightclub photography.
While you might just enjoy the nightclub scene and have naturally invested in the proper nightclub photography equipment because that’s the kind of place you enjoy taking photos. You should stop for a moment and realize the niche you’ve created for yourself.
Play to your strengths and build on the knowledge you’ve already organically accrued. Photography is a wide-reaching art form that takes many forms. Find your particular form, perfect it and sell that to the masses. That’s how to get photography clients that stay with you.
2. Be flexible yet firm with your pricing
The number of clients under your wing can be a relative quantity. At the end of the day, it all depends on your pricing. Three clients booking $1,000 sessions will always beat out 10 clients booking $100 sessions. Like all things, quality, not quantity, is where your success lies. Most of all, don’t sell yourself short.
Establish a price sheet that makes sense for your financial needs. Be firm and clear in how you charge — you’ll be surprised to find that many clients respect that. However, don’t be afraid to introduce some flexibility if you know it’ll score you a reliable client, especially if you believe they’ll be a long-term asset to your business.
3. Cultivate a portfolio of your ideal client base
An erratic and poorly organized portfolio can do more harm to your business than no portfolio at all. Instead of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, picture, instead, your ideal client. Who would you love to consistently photograph? This methodology is how to get photography clients that you can consistently impress.
With a clear picture of your client in your head, work backward. See yourself in their shoes and try and picture what types of photographs would most impress them. Build your portfolio around that notion and stay true to those choices; doing so will ensure you build a robust yet consistent portfolio that’ll hook the exact type of clients you’re most interested in.
4. Help make your clients look their best
Your job as a photographer isn’t just to take pictures. It’s to make your clients look their best, however that takes shape. Part of that commitment is in things like hair, makeup, and even wardrobe. A good photographer works with what their client gives them. A great photographer takes their client’s hand and leads them to look their best.
Don’t be afraid to hire someone that does hair, makeup and wardrobe. If you’re unable to spare that expense, then do your own research so you’re best prepared to make aesthetic decisions on behalf of your clients. When the final results are in, your clients will notice and they’ll keep coming back.
Stay tuned next week for four more tips to help you get photography clients!