The economy may be in a slump, but your event photography business doesn't have to be. As a portable photographer, you can always grow your clientele if you're willing to pound the pavement and take on business away from your norm. Online ads, direct mail, personal referrals and more – every method can help if you use it properly. Whether you're a seasoned photo vet or just starting your business, these five tips will help you find plenty of new customers.
Build a website.
The Internet is the first place potential customers will look if they don't already know any photographers. Will you be on their radar? Gumtree, True Local and other classified sites can help – and you should certainly use them – but a personal site is by far the best way to generate business online. Even a few simple pages will help. Start with an “about” page, a description of your services and a few testimonials. Most importantly, compile your best shots into a portfolio that will wow your visitors. Last but not least, clearly display your contact information on every page. Make it easy for people to hire you.
Use word-of-mouth referrals.
Do your current clients know you're looking for more work? They should! Once you've established a good relationship with a customer, let them know you're open to new business. No matter how great your advertising is, personal referrals will always be more effective.
Consider direct mail.
It may seem old-fashioned, but a well-crafted paper mailing can set you apart from your competitors; a great postcard or brochure is hard to miss. You can also use mail to vividly advertise your finished product – a hard copy photo! If you do use the post, don't make the mistake of buying a mailing list. Save your money and take the time to compile a targeted list of businesses that might need your services. If you've already done multiple jobs in a specific industry or niche, target similar customers who will respond well to your samples.
Getting new customers is far easier when you target people who already need what you're offering. Try to team up with other event-focused businesses. Local hair stylists, venues, formal-hire stores, florists and caterers can all be a huge help. See if they'll display your business cards or brochures, and offer to do the same in return.
Always be selling.
The best business people in any industry are always selling their services. Mention your photography business to all of your friends, family and acquaintances, and always keep cards handy.
Keep an ear out for new opportunities, as well. A friend of a friend is having a wedding? A family member is attending an employee appreciation day? Local high school students have an upcoming graduation ceremony or formal? There are always people who will soon need photographers – if you know when (and where) to look.
To learn more about building a successful event photography business, download our complete strategy guide today.