In recent decades, the process of getting noticed as a professional photographer has changed drastically. The cost of decent photo gear has become so much more affordable, and it seems everyone has a camera and deems themselves a photographer. As a result, competition is higher than ever, to the point that the general public now has the luxury of price shopping before selecting one of the countless photographers that seem to be around every corner. In addition, social media has given pros and amateurs alike a way to pump their images out to the public.
Getting your work to stand out is difficult, to say the least. Getting paid what you’re worth seems to be even harder. When trying to stand out, it’s a fair conclusion that it’s not enough to simply be good at making a photograph these days.
So how in the world do we make ourselves, and our skills, stand out? This article will offer a few suggestions.
1. Be Your Unique Self
Have you thought about what makes you unique from other photographers? Sure, you can take a decent photo, but so can countless other enthusiasts. With so many photograph-makers out there today, it’s essential that you communicate your unique angle, and why you create a particular type of photo or like to work with a particular type of subject. You are your brand, after all. Your unique angle could be your shooting and editing style, or the particular experience you give your clients. And being able to communicate the reasoning by your passion directly to your clients is icing on the cake. When they have to pick between you and another comparable photographer, your “Why” will ultimately pull them closer to you.
2. Marketing Versatility Is the Name of the Game
You may not like this next statement, but this is what I’ve noticed: you have to be extremely versatile in your marketing skillset in order to begin gaining serious traction. This goes beyond taking decent photos. You have to know how to show them off, and simply having a Facebook Business page is not enough.
The quality of your website is important, as is keeping it consistent with your presence on social media. Being able to write quality blog posts and case studies will help potential clients keep you at the top of their minds. Your in-person networking strategy is vital as well. Also, how organized you are at keeping in touch with people who express an interest in your services will help differentiate you.
Here are a few more suggestions. You could:
- Publicize any of your accomplishments or accolades (no matter how small) on your website and social media
- Gather testimonials from past clients and make them public on your website
- Nurture your referrals from past clients via email and phone calls
And even if you don’t have an immediate shooting assignment, give yourself one. Then, promote the heck out of it. Post it on social media. Write a series of blog posts about it. Show people that you are actively engaged in photography.
3. Be Consistent
If versatility is king, then consistency is queen. No matter how great your marketing efforts may be, they mean very little if you’re not consistent about it. The key is to pick a plan of action and stick to it. Examples include putting out blog posts on a regular basis, even if you don’t think anyone is noticing, or going to networking events weekly/monthly, even if you feel like the most awkward person there. It all get easier over time as long as you stick with it.
In addition, measure your results (i.e. clients and income), and then tweak your approach as necessary. It will help your plan be all the more effective.
I understand that it can be frustrating when you have no clue when you are going to be noticed, and this is especially the case when you are first starting out. You might feel as if you’re spending a lot of time grinding away, but left wondering when you will see results. You’re not alone. It seems to take a lot more elbow grease to gain traction today, but it’s worth it. Key to gaining traction as a professional photographer is to understand what makes you unique, and then selecting a marketing plan based on your strengths. Progress will come incrementally, not all at once.
These days, determination is just as important as talent. So remember: Stick with it!