Finding photography clients is easy.
That statement might sound crazy, I know.
If you've been trying to get clients for your own photography business, it might sound like the craziest thing anyone has ever said.
It's true, though.
Finding photography clients is easy ‒ if you know where (and how) to look for them.
Let's dive right in.
Photography clients book photographers based on the quality of their previous work. If you don't have a solid portfolio of photos that will impress potential clients, your chances of landing go down drastically.
So, before you build a web presence or start doing client outreach, you need to select the best pieces from your extensive catalog of pictures.
Here are a few tips to help you pull the portfolio-worthy images from the rest of the crowd.
Your portfolio is only as good as your worst picture. You could have 20 incredible photos that showcase your photography brilliance, but it only takes one mediocre shot to send the whole thing crashing down.
Potential clients want to see consistency across the board. To ensure your entire sales pitch isn't ruined by a single average shot, limit your portfolio to the pictures you're happiest with.
Your portfolio shouldn't contain more than 25 photos.
There are a few reasons for this limitation.
First of all, you don't want to overwhelm people with options. More photos may seem better at first glance, but the increased number of options will make it harder to differentiate the great photos from the good photos.
Also, the more photos you have, the easier it will be for a mediocre photo to slip into the ranks.
If you're starting out, don't rely entirely on your judgment to choose adequate portfolio samples. You should contact a professional who has been in the industry for a while and ask them which samples to use.
The best way to do this is by reaching out to a professional you know personally and asking for their advice. Other photographers who don't know you are liable to charge you for their time. And if you're starting out in the photography field, there's a good chance you don't have the cash to pay them.
To find clients over the internet, you're going to need to build a website. You're not just building any old rink-a-dink site, though.
As much of your success as a photographer is based on your ability to make ordinary things look beautiful, the design of your website will play a huge role in potential clients' perceptions of you.
The fastest way to build a beautiful photography website is to use WordPress and upload a theme created specifically for professional photographers.
The following resources will help you set all of this up.
Once you've got a nice website set up, you need to optimize it for SEO.
Many of your clients will find you through a Google search, so you must do everything you can to improve your rank in the search results.
Here are some actionable tips that will help your photography site land the number one ranking.
The headlines and titles you place on your site will tell Google what those pages are about.
Your home page should include your location and your specific photography niche (if you have one).
If you create blog content to attract business, you should write posts targeting specific keywords that people are already searching on Google.
If you don't know which keywords your potential clients are searching, no worries; figuring this out is a surprisingly simple process.
You can find the keywords people are searching for by using Google's Autocomplete function.
Take a base keyword you'd like to rank for, like wedding photography. A list of suggested keywords should appear below the search bar.
These are the most popular related search terms people are typing into Google. By writing content targeting these keywords, you're ensuring that your efforts aren't wasted on a keyword nobody is searching for.
Writing content about popular keywords doesn't automatically mean your website will rank for those keywords, though.
To give your site the best chance of ranking for these keywords, you need to optimize your whole website for SEO. The rest of this section will discuss how to do that.
A slow-loading website will impact your ability to acquire photography clients in two ways: it will damage your SEO and cause more visitors to exit your site.
As this section is about SEO, we'll cover that first.
Google wants their users to have the best search experience possible. If they direct people to sites that take ages to load, many of their searchers are going to get annoyed.
While there are many things you can do to boost the speed of your site, many will be specific to the framework or theme you're using. To get personalized tips from a trusted source, head over to the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, and see how you can improve.
While not strictly related to SEO, I also want to touch on how a slow page load speed can impact the number of clients you yet.
According to Unbounce, a 100-millisecond delay in page load speed can cause a 7% drop in conversions.
One hundred milliseconds is an unfathomably small amount of time, but it makes a world of difference to people surfing the internet.
The takeaway? Ensure you keep as many website visitors as possible with a fast-loading website.
As a photographer seeking clients, social media is your best friend.
Image-rich platforms like Instagram and Facebook are an excellent place to promote your services, and a professional network like LinkedIn can bring in a substantial number of business clients.
No matter which photography niche you're working in, Instagram is a social platform you need to leverage.
You should treat your Instagram feed like the portfolio you have on your website. Don't post anything you wouldn't feel comfortable sharing on your website.
Whatever you post on Instagram, it's important you give it the power to reach as many people as possible.
Hashtags give you that power.
Why do hashtags matter so much? Understanding this requires an understanding of how Instagram works. Instagram users follow #hashtags that represent their interests.
When a post is tagged with a particular hashtag, that post enters the hashtag feed.
So, if you were a wedding photographer, you would want to use hashtags like #weddingphoto or #bridepic to reach people interested in that content.
It's true that almost everyone you reach with a hashtag won't live anywhere near you, and therefore won't be able to hire you.
That's okay, though. Finding clients through hashtags isn't the point; the point is to build social proof and authority.
When potential clients who live near you check out your Instagram account, it's way more impressive to have thousands of followers than it is to have a dozen.
It's hard to quantify the effect having a high Instagram follower count and engagement rate will have on your business. However, it's undoubtedly useful, and you should strive to make your account as popular and high-quality as possible.
Many of the potential clients you'd like to be hired by will also have social media accounts.
If you find the account of a local business or person who you think would benefit from your services, there's no harm in sending them a message asking if they would like to hire you.
Even if they don't, you'll remain in their mind if they ever need photography services in the future.
You can also use Instagram to network with other professional photographers. There are two main benefits to this: you might pick up some referrals, and you can get some photography tips from people who have been in this space longer than you.
People love free stuff. If you hold a giveaway for something your followers might find valuable, many will engage with you, and you might attract some additional followers, too.
If you have a marketing budget to work with, you can use Instagram ads to promote your business to people who might be interested in hiring you.
There are too many elements to running an effective Instagram ad campaign to explain in full here. That being said, here are some foundational tips for running Instagram ads that bring in clients.
While Instagram may be the premier image-based social platform, there are plenty of ways to obtain clients on Facebook, too.
If you want new clients from Facebook, the first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page. Doing so will give you the ability to attract followers, engage with those followers, and run ads that target potential clients.
Whenever you take a batch of interesting photos, post the best of the bunch on Facebook. While posting your photos might not bring in new clients directly, it will help you maintain a regular posting schedule and engage more consistently with your followers.
Maintaining an active presence on your social media account is more important than you might think. Many potential clients will find you through social media. And those that don't may check your social media profiles before deciding whether to hire you.
If those potential clients come across abandoned social accounts that haven't been active in many months, it may impact their hiring decision. A rarely updated Facebook page shows that you don't always finish what you start, which will have an impact on someone who is considering paying for your services.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but it's important only to show your best work. The photos you share on social media are an extension of your portfolio. The last thing you want is for someone to back out of hiring you based on a few sub-par images shared on your Facebook page.
Facebook ads are similar to Instagram ads in that they can increase the reach of your posts and get your business in front of potential clients.
Because Facebook owns Instagram, both Instagram and Facebook ads are run through the Facebook ads platform. So, if you're already familiar with Instagram advertising, running Facebook ads should be a walk in the park.
If you're working in a professional photography niche, LinkedIn can quickly become your best source of clients. Once you set up your account and fill out all of the necessary profile information, you can begin connecting with local professionals in your area and attempting to win their business.
As LinkedIn doesn't rely on images as much as the other platforms I've mentioned, you'll likely find more success publishing blog content on LinkedIn than you'll find posting photos.
Not sure what to write about? I suggest starting with articles about why hiring a professional photographer is much smarter than hiring an amateur or attempting to do it yourself.
If you're trying to find your first few clients, asking your friends and family for gigs is a great way to get started.
Even if nobody in your social network needs your photography services, you can ask them to share your request with their networks.
As long as you've got at least a few people willing to put in some effort on your behalf, landing a client or two with this method should be relatively easy.
The most direct and cost-effective way to get photography clients is to reach out to local industry professionals.
Event planners, real estate agents, sports teams, politicians, interior designers, and many more professionals all have a consistent need for skilled photographers.
You must have your website and social media accounts completely set up before contacting anyone.
Most businesses won't hire you because of a single phone call; they're going to ask for your website address, your social media accounts, and a link to your portfolio. They may also ask for references, so be prepared to give those if possible.
If you're new to the whole professional photography thing, one of the best ways to start is by assisting an established professional.
Not only can they help you learn how to take better photos and manage a photography business, but they might also be able to set you up with some clients when you decide to give it a go on your own.
Finding a professional who is interested in an assistant can be difficult. I suggest starting off by asking photographers you know if they need any help. If this fails, reach out to professionals in the area and see if they'd be interested.
Running ads on social media can be effective, but many of the people you'll be targeting will be high in the sales funnel ‒ which means few of them will likely convert. To get the most out of your ad money, you should run ads targeting specific search terms on Google.
To see why PPC ads can be so powerful, here's an example.
Let's say you're holding a wedding. You're looking for several wedding-related services online, including a wedding photographer.
If you're like most people, you're going to start your wedding photographer search by typing "wedding photographer near me" or something similar into Google.
Unless you have an ad blocker enabled, the first few results you'll see will be ads for wedding photographers in the area.
By going to ads.google.com and setting up some ads for your business, you can easily target these low-funnel consumers who have a high likelihood of converting.