In this post, we’re going to teach you how to get more photography clients so you can get booked, make money, and achieve your dreams.
We take the experiences we’ve had running our own photography studios (the team at Shoot & Thrive has over 20+ years of experience combined) and have formulated many great tips and tactics that ensure we’ve been able to thrive in our businesses.
Many of the photographers we get a chance to speak with are actually great photographers, but need that extra guidance to learn how to master their businesses. This is why so many get stuck asking themselves…how do I get more photography clients? It’s probably why you’re on this page today!
Throughout this article, we’re going to highlight the key business concepts you need to understand and apply to start getting recognition in the photography industry by clients who will want to book with you. From there, we’re going to dive into some tangible strategies to help you reach those clients and actually sell them on your services.
Photography Business Fundamentals – 10 Things to Get Right Before You Get Another Client!
In order to quickly and efficiently get more photography clients, you need to make sure you go through this checklist of 10 things to make sure you are prepared to market, sell, and wow those clients you’re dreaming of.
Let’s take a step back now and make sure you have your photography business fundamentals set before we get into tangible strategies you can use to get bookings.
1). Know Your Target Audience Well
One of the first steps to getting clients (whether it’s your first or if you’re just looking for more consistent bookings) is to define your audience.
There are two key things we can do…
Identify your ideal photography clients
Your “ideal client” sometimes feels like a mystery, but it’s really easy to uncover.
Many photographers make the mistake of thinking that anyone should be there clients, when in reality taking that approach often leaves them high-and-dry. While we are certainly happy to be inclusive of different types of people, your marketing strategy should involve communicating with specific people you are interested in attracting.
The people you want to attract can become your buyer persona or client archetype – two ways of saying, your model client.
If you close your eyes and picture all of the qualities of the people you’d love to have hire you, it’s that person.
Understand your market
The other part of understanding your target audience is also understanding the market you plan to offer photography services in.
- Where do you live?
- What kind of people live there?
- Where are you planning to offer your services (in your town, somewhere else?)?
Doing market research is important for any business.
2). Select Your Photography Niche
If you have a lot of photography experience, but are struggling to figure out how to get more photography clients – the best results typically come from selecting a specific niche.
Think of it from a future client’s perspective…
Would you rather hire a photographer who is a jack-of-all-trades, or that specifically focuses on that one thing you are wanting?
Examples of photography niches include…
- Portrait photography
- Headshot photography
- Family photography
- Couples photography
- Wedding photography
You can go even deeper if you want, too…
- Adventure wedding photography
- Small family photography
- Corporate headshot photography
- Senior portraits
- Ballroom wedding photography
Still struggling to find the right photography niche for your business? Think about what you are the most passionate about, that’s often a great place to start.
3). Create a Solid Portfolio
Would you hire a photographer with nothing to show?
One of the beginner photographer pain points is having a tough time getting the opportunities that allow them to create a good portfolio.
It becomes a chicken or the egg problem – do you get clients first, then create a portfolio…or somehow create a portfolio, then get clients?
Ultimately, your portfolio is a reflection of the work your future clients can expect to receive of themselves. It’s essential.
For photographers who have done a lot of shoots already, piecing together a great portfolio will be easy.
For photographers with little or no experience, it will take a little more effort.
4). Evaluate Your Web Presence for Optimum Performance
Photographers in the modern day have a wide range of outlets for getting exposure for their services. We recommend taking advantage of these resources, with the goal being to point traffic towards your website – where people can get to know you the best and get in touch.
Where you can get found on the web as a photographer:
- Your website
- Social media
- Directories and other referrals
5). Have a Solid Onboarding Process
When you start to get more photography clients reaching out to hire you – what do you do?
Many photographers focus on getting clients, but don’t focus on the steps they’ll have to take to get people who are interested in them to actually book them.
An effective photography business onboarding process will include emails and other methods of communication (like phone calls, meeting in person, or hopping on a video call), addressing questions and concerns, and much more.
6). Create Effective Pricing
In order to get photography clients, not only do you have to get them in the door, they have to want what you are offering. Another common mistake for photographers is getting their pricing wrong – usually by not following business best practices.
7). Value vs. Price – How to Make Sales
People pay for photography services because they need more than just a good.
We aren’t selling food products, we’re selling a luxury service.
This quote by Brian Tracy International is a great one to think about when you approach selling your services…
“Value selling is a sales technique that leverages customer anticipation of enjoying the benefits of the item for a sale. With this approach, the sales conversation focuses on how the buyer’s life will be improved with the asset at hand, rather than the actual features and hard facts related to the product.”
This approach to sales has enabled us to grow our photography business sales and revenues.
8). Define Your Product
As a photographer if you believe your product is just your photos – you’re mistaken.
When you just sell photos, you often get stuck at a low price point and struggling to get clients.
We recommend really thinking about and defining everything that your potential clients get from working with you. Yes, they will receive photos, but there should be more to it than that.
Whether you shoot portraits, weddings, or another genre of photography, here are a few things you may already be doing:
- Offer your time to do shoots
- Help with planning and logistics
- Provide client resources (like style guides, recommended vendors, etc.)
- Commit time to meet with clients before their shoots
- Fill a clients need for validation
- Provide lasting memories for individuals and families
9). Know Your Competition
If clients aren’t hiring you, they must be hiring someone – right?
It’s valuable for your business to know who you are competing with. While many photographers hate to think about other photographers as “competition” because at the end of the day we are all artists and generally want to support each other, it’s important to know because clients will ultimately end up hiring one of us.
The best method for determining your competition in the photography industry is to simply search Google and other social media platforms for photographers in your market area. Check them out, learn more about them and their style, see what they offer their clients – and look for opportunities to do things better or differently.
10). Develop & Document Your Photography Business Strategy
Make a game plan for your photography business. A good game plan executed well will result in more photography clients wanting to work with you, and more money in your bank account.
We work with our photography business coaching clients to put together business strategies that, when followed, get the results you’re looking for.
3 Marketing Strategies for Photographers Wanting More Clients
Photographers should Blog about things relevant to your ideal clients
Every photographer needs to blog. It helps you set yourself apart from all of the photographers who don’t do it and show your expertise to clients. Most importantly, when done well with the best search engine optimization practices for photographers, it can help clients find you naturally through search engines.
Our photography businesses have grown as a result of our blogging efforts.
We’ve seen increased traffic.
And more money in our pockets.
For photographers struggling to get blogging right (or just finding the time), we also offer Blog Writing Services for Photographers. Get your whole calendar year of blogging taking care of by us today!
Want to try it on your own? Check out our FREE 100 Wedding Photography Blog Ideas to get started.
Connect with other photographers and vendors in your niche
Networking with people in and around your industry is a great idea.
The relationships you make can set you up for success.
Being a photographer can often be a lonely road, but having a support network can be awesome for the emotional support.
Of course, you’re here because you want to learn how to get more photography clients – and this plays a role there, too. When you connect with other photographers and vendors in your space, it gives you an opportunity to forge partnerships that can sometimes pay off big time.
Our best referrals come from other photographers, as well as wedding vendors since we primarily photograph weddings, and we can look to those people and companies as helping us grow our revenue.
Have a tough time with networking because your quiet, shy or introverted? We talk about this in our post about being introverted wedding photography business owners.
Use local features of social media platforms to get found
Getting in touch with your local market is key to success as a photographer.
For example, on Instagram – you can use local hashtags that your clients will be searching through to tag your posts. When a client looks through that hashtag, sees your work, they’ll reach out. It’s that simple!
For an even more comprehensive look for wedding photographers, check out Wedding Photography Marketing for Beginners – Get Booked Today!
FAQ – Marketing to Get More Photography Clients
Before we wrap this post up, we wanted to answer some common questions we see get asked that’s related to how to get more photography clients.
How do photographers get clients for beginners?
If we had to sum it up shortly – start a photography business, know and target your ideal client, and show up where your clients are online and in person.
How do photographers get big clients?
The specifics will vary depending on your photography business niche, but the most important things that will attract clients both large and small:
- Have a great portfolio
- Have an attractive brand
- Market for the people you want to buy your services
- Network, network, network
- Create a great sales process
- Make sure your leave your clients overjoyed to work with you
In our photography businesses, these things have been key as we continue to grow, charge more, and attract the clients we want to work with.
How do you attract ideal clients in photography?
It starts with a simple exercise – define your photography buyer persona. From there, it’s all about executing a solid marketing plan to get in front of your dream clients.
What do photography clients want?
In general, photography clients want professional quality pictures. But, there’s more too it than that. For wedding photography clients, they want to be able to remember their big day more vividly. For family photography clients, they want to remember their family in this moment in time. For corporate headshot clients, they want that one image that will help them sell themselves to future employers.
Your ideal clients wants and needs may be different, but there’s almost always more to it than just pictures. If people just wanted photos, they’d skip the expensive photographer and just take pictures of themselves with a cell phone.
How do photographers get booked?
Our preferred method for getting booked is using a CRM for photographers to set up all of our communications, schedule phone calls, send contracts, and get paid. A good CRM will allow you to look more professional, track your inquiries and current clients, and do a whole lot to make your life easier (and your clients, too!).
Now that you have figured out how to get more photography clients, it’s time to put everything you learned into action.
We’ve had the privilege of watching photographers like yourself grow businesses that enabled them to do things like quit their day jobs, travel more, be around more for their friends & family – in a word – THRIVE.
Need help but don’t know where to start? Reach out to set up a free discovery call today!
Chris is a SEO professional with a passion for helping photography businesses succeed online. With years of experience in the industry, he has a proven track record of increasing website traffic, improving search rankings, and driving revenue growth for his clients.