Finding new clients when you are a photographer: a challenge you will take up!
You launched your activity of photographer...
... The problem is that customers are not rushing to buy your services...
So how do you find clients when you are a professional photographer?
Some photographers often think that prospecting is enough to find clients. This is partly true. But it's not the only way to develop your client base. Find out how to find clients and how to make a living as a photographer.
Find clients by specializing
Being a photographer is several jobs and several environments at the same time. And before anything else, it is important to know which one you belong to. One of the best advices we can give to a photographer: specialize. There are two obvious advantages in choosing to specialize: you will avoid spreading yourself too thin and you will become a reference in your chosen field. Marketing, wedding, fashion, portrait, reportage... each specialty has its own rules, its own techniques, its own codes and sometimes even its own equipment.
For example, you won't go on a reportage around the world with the same equipment as if you decide to photograph green plants for an eshop on the internet! You won't go to cover event parties with the same equipment as for a reportage session on a construction site. Knowing how to specialize means knowing how to equip yourself accordingly, having references to show, and gradually establishing yourself, through experience, as a leader in your field.
Finding clients on job boards
Indeed, KelJob, MeteoJob, JobiJoba…Incorporate into your work routine time to search job boards. They are no longer only reserved for HR people who are looking for their future employees. Internet evolves with its time: today you can find on these sites offers dedicated to freelance photographers, and with a bit of luck, around your home!
Find customers on social networks
Use social media as both a showcase and a business networking tool. Identify brands or companies you'd like to collaborate with, interact with them and encourage them to check out your profile.
Beware, it will be wise to "clean" your profile of private or amateur photos beforehand in order to leave only the rewarding images visible. Think of your Instagram profile as a portfolio and highlight your work. Post quality images regularly.
If you lack content, or if it is too dated, make it a practice to go shooting once or twice a week, just to feed your window. There's no need to specify if it's a client order or not, we'll just see that you're active and passionate. Work calls for work!
Find clients through your blog
Nothing better than a quality blog to show your work. As for your social networks, it will have to be updated regularly, only with the valuable work you will have done.
Always give priority to quality over quantity. You don't have to show all your photos: some of them will certainly have been taken in less good conditions than others, often because of a lack of budget. The reader of the blog, not knowing your constraints, will not be indulgent. Consider your blog as a book and take care of it by offering 3 entries:
- A portfolio page with sub-categories, if you have several specialties (example: fashion, packshot, reportage)
- A "backstage" page to show the backstage (a simple video made with your smartphone can immerse the visitor in your world and your way of working).
- A contact page with your email and phone number. Choose an email address that you consult regularly!
No need to hire a web developer to create your blog: use platforms like Behance or Adobe for a quick and free portfolio, or tools like Wordpress or Wixx if you are more comfortable with the basics of website creation!
Find clients through your network
Once your blog has become a great canvassing tool, all that's left is for it to be consulted by the right people. Print business cards with your name, your contact information, the address of your web page and why not a QrCode to scan to consult your book quickly (you will find on Google a whole bunch of low cost printers to print your quality stationery: printbasprix, vistaprint, printpascher...).
Hand out a few cards to professionals in your close circle and ask them to help you promote yourself. In turn, the people in your network will distribute your cards when they hear of someone looking for a photographer.
You can also expand your network by joining business clubs. You should know that today, 1 out of 4 business leaders has joined a professional club. Find out about the clubs in your area and the conditions of entry, this option can pay off!
Find clients by monitoring
A good photographer always has his eyes open: Keep an eye on the companies in the area. Look at their websites and communication materials and contact the ones that don't have quality visuals. Today, even small businesses need to communicate and be visible.
Identify those who do not have a professional entourage for their image! Prepare a presentation of your work in line with their sector and arrange a meeting by sending them your file. The first steps of canvassing will not be easy, start with small companies to get the hang of it.
And if they are already accompanied by communication agencies, contact the artistic directors of the agencies so that they receive you to present your book! They could make a small place for you in their suppliers' catalog!
Find customers with digital directories
Once you have identified your specialty, and your portfolio and business cards are ready, all you have to do is make yourself known to the players in your preferred sector. Use digital directories to find your future clients by broadening the spectrum to include related professions.
For example, if you decide to focus on architectural photography, identify all the professionals who might need you: architects, of course, but also architectural magazines, brands of materials and decoration, real estate agencies, construction companies... Prepare a dedicated folder to send by email or a USB key to send by mail. Use the directories to make a contact book of prospects to send it to!
Find customers by organizing events
Can't find the people you want to meet? Organizing an event and inviting them can be a good way to create contact and present your work. You can organize a personal or group exhibition of your work.
Alone or in collaboration with other freelancers, make your vernissage a BtoB event. Invite all your professional relations and encourage your relatives to bring contractors. Plan to set slightly high prices for the photos exhibited in order to value your work. The goal of the evening is not to sell your prints but to give credit to your activity as a photographer.
Choose a well-lit place, take care of the reception and prepare a goodie to leave to the guests at the end of the evening: a usb key with your logo which would contain a portfolio, an original numbered print in postcard format, an exhibition catalog with your contact information at the end of the book... an object which will serve as a presence in the mind!
You can also organize a workshop in the form of a conference/training afterwork. Invite professionals you wish to meet to attend this time of exchange or better yet, invite the person you have identified as your first prospect to participate as a speaker.
Find customers through partnerships
Many companies are likely to ask you for help without a budget to devote to your mission. The best practice is to offer to pay you in exchange for visibility. Of course, it will have to remain exceptional and anecdotal but in some cases, it may be wise to accept this offer.
Clients calling clients, a proposal of this kind can expand your portfolio and your news. It is up to you to use the most beautiful images of the photo shoot to communicate on your different media (without specifying the conditions). You have to consider this kind of opportunity as a springboard towards your profession, and know how to detect the project that it will be useful to accept.
Here are our first tips for finding clients as a freelance photographer! It's up to you now!