Tip Tuesday | 10 Ways to Gain New Clients for Family Photographers
If Co and I had a quarter for every time one of our students or mentees asked us for tips on how to gain new photography clients, we’d be rich ya’ll. It’s an age old question in the photography world and a good one at that. Whether you are just launching your family photography business or just looking to gain more traction, these tips will help you get in front of new faces and spread the word about what a badass photographer you are.
Have an awesome website with an awesome blog. This, to me, is an absolute must. Never have I ever given a photographer with a crappy website a second thought. If you cannot take the time to build a beautiful, eye-catching website chock full of incredible imagery and stories, then why should a client trust you? From the outside looking in, it appears that you don’t care enough about your business to put effort into your website which is a major turn off. As photographers, we are visual people. As clients, we are booking based on our eyes first and heart second. We need to SEE the beauty in order to FEEL it. Also, don’t forget to blog and do it well, keeping SEO and common searchable keywords in mind as you do. If you’ve built your website on Squarespace, read Optimizing Your SEO in Squarespace for Photographers if you haven’t already for more tips.
Volunteer at local events and schools. Offer to attend one of the town or school event (think holiday parties, celebrations, parades, etc) and take photos. Then, do a good job on the day of and create an online gallery using Shootproof, Pixieset or likewise and have the event staff email it out to all the attendees or parents. While you’re there, it doesn’t hurt to hand out some business cards to families who look like they may fit your style. When the gallery is complete, allow viewers to DOWNLOAD the pictures at no cost. If everyone loves your pictures, they will think about you again in the future when they are planning for Xmas card photos or likewise.
Do a fundraiser for a local school. This is something I do every year. I do it mostly because it raises money and gives back to my children’s schools and because it makes me feel good; BUT, let’s be honest, feeling good isn’t great if you can’t support yourself financially. Anyway, our town does an auction to raise money for our schools. Basically, local businesses donate something, whether it be a free photography session, tickets to a football game, 100 free pizzas, or whatever. Then, the parents at the school attend the event and get to walk around and put their raffle tickets in the prize jars that interest them. One person wins each prize. Let’s just say, because I price my sessions so high, my session appears to be a higher end prize and it gets people buzzing. Sure, some may be bitching about why photos cost so much money but for the most part, bad publicity is better than no publicity and they always remember my name. In the end, I give back and my brand/business is seen.
Start actually telling people that you’re a photographer. Seriously, though. This is probably the most ridiculous but TRUEST tip on the list. How in world will people ever start booking you if you don't actually tell them you are a photographer? Who cares if you are JUST starting your business and are scared as hell? Hide that shit. Tuck it in. Put on your big girl (or boy) panties and state, “I’m a photographer” when someone asks. Own it.
Consider using a referral program. We recommend getting some cards printed at Moo or elsewhere that you can give out to clients who you love and whose friends you want booking you in the future. Give them a card that says something along the lines of “refer a friend and you each get $50.00 off your next session.” I personally wouldn’t give these to clients whom I didn’t enjoy working with though.
Start an email list. Squarespace now has a built in newsletter option but we personally use Mailchimp for our newsletters. Both work great! Anytime someone books a session with you, add their email onto your client newsletter list. Anytime someone doesn’t book, add them to a list of client leads and maybe you can entice them to book in the future. Also, provide the option to “stay up to date” somewhere on your site for people to subscribe as well. Research shows that email marketing is the most effective for anyone running an online business, so set one up NOW.
Add your website to your email signature. Such a bore-snore point on the list. But for real, think about how often you are emailing other parents, teachers, doctors, randos. These people you are emailing with likely want to know more about you, so take a moment to toss a link to your website in your email signature and I guarantee it’ll get more people thinking about you and your art.
Be present on social media. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are our favorites. Facebook and Instagram are both great ways to share images and target people who are local to you by tagging people, places, and locations with each and every post. Pinterest is a great way to also spread your name by repining some of your pictures or blog posts. Oh, and you can also create style board for your clients on Pinterest as well.
Stalk local families. In a kind of creepy way. When I first started my business, I literally printed beautiful flyers with pictures and info and I drove around my town and surrounding towns dropping them into mailboxes of large homes that had swing sets and kid toys in the yard. I gave $50.00 off to those who received a flyer and booked and guess what? I got about 10 inquiries from that alone and most of them booked. 4 years later, some of them and their friends are still my top clients.
Radiate positivity. We are all about good juju over here. If you sit around and sulk, thinking “it’s just never going to happen for me” or “I’m not good enough to make this a reality,” well then, it won’t happen. Put positivity out into the universe. Work hard on your business every single day. Radiate happy thoughts and meditate on success. Sooner or later, good vibes and rad karma always comes back around.
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