You point, you shoot, you print or upload… then what?
Skill alone won’t build your photography business. Whether photography is your full-time profession or a part-time side job, you want to get noticed, engage potential clients, and make the sale. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into capturing the perfect shot. It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking new clients, providing licensed images, or offering fine art prints for sale — putting time into online marketing is necessary to grow your photography business.
Before you head out on a shoot, you consider locations and choose which equipment will get you the best image. Take the same approach to create an online marketing plan for your photography business. Consistent execution, review, and revision of plans will keep you focused on who you are as a photographer, who your ideal clients are, and will help you decide which online marketing tools are best for you.
Your website is your online gallery
A website allows you to have an international gallery for sharing your images. There are many website platforms that are optimized for photographers. Since you now have a plan to grow your photography business, choose a platform that offers features that align with your goals and budget. Sites like SmugMug, Photoshelter, and 500px offer a simple way for you to upload and exhibit your work, personalize your site, and offer your images for sale – in addition to monthly fees, you may also pay a commission on your print/merchandise sales.
Have a knack or desire to build your own website and online marketplace? There are a multitude of themes to choose from with creative and effective features. Of course, if you prefer you can always hire a web designer to get everything set up for you.
Whatever you choose, avoid the common mistakes many photographers make with websites, such as uploading low resolution photos. The key to a great photography website is to keep your clients and customers in mind. It should be easy for them to find important information such as your image gallery, services, contact info, and online marketplace. Include clear calls-to-action: links or buttons for subscribing to your newsletter or blog and for buying photos, fine art prints, and other merchandise you offer.
Two excellent examples of photographer websites are wildlife and nature photographer, Megan Lorenz of Toronto and aviation, wildlife, and landscape photographer Moose Peterson of California. Their websites are full of amazing photography, useful information, and are easy to navigate. Another top photographer, Darren White, uses the platform from Fine Art America. It’s clean, straightforward, and allows visitors to quickly search photos and purchase prints.
Social media and photography
Once you’ve built your website, it’s time to get out there and get it noticed. For photographers, social media is an effective tool for sharing art, but remember social media is about being, well, social. Whether you post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any of the many other social media sites, it’s important you don’t “set it and forget it!” Avoid treating social media like an advertising platform and other social media marketing mistakes that many people make, not just photographers.
Craft your posts like you’re speaking to a room of interested people. Certainly sharing your photography is important, but take the extra steps…talk about the shot, describe your creative process, explain why you used certain equipment and ask questions of your audience.
Choose the platforms you’ll enjoy and be active on. Joe Edelman, photographer and educator, has a great YouTube video, “Social Media for Photographers Part 2 – How to Market your Photography Business” that breaks all of the platforms down. Looking for a cool example? Conservation photographer, Ben Von Wong, understands social media. With almost 300,000 Facebook followers, Ben shares his thought-provoking art, posts videos – like a recent “Where should I go next?” and really engages with his fans.
Blogging for photographers
Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, BUT it doesn’t always help with SEO and online relevancy. In other words, it’s words that matter for online marketing. There are tools to optimize your images, but having relevant keywords on your website will help more people find you.
Blogging is a useful extension of your online marketing, and it should be fun! Blog about any aspect of photography that sparks your interest. Think about all the parts of photography that you discuss with your friends and jot some down.
Do you have a knack for the technical aspects of lighting or exposure? That’s helpful information for a beginning photographer. Are you passionate about landscapes or cityscapes? Talk about how you choose your locations or the best equipment for the job.
Ultimately, the thing that matters most is keeping the theme of each post consistent, fresh and interesting. Structured and informative content will keep users on your website. Keeping users on your website shows search engines that your site is credible. Higher credibility results in more people discovering you and so on and so forth. Need some ideas on what a blog should look like? This list of “49 Film Photography Blogs Worth Following” should give you some good ideas.
All this won’t be built in a day, but follow the above online marketing tips and soon you’ll be connecting with the kind of clients you want to work with. You’ll be a leader in your area of expertise and your photography business will boom.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.