Are you new to photography and are wondering how you should get your first photoshoot clients? For Free!! I mean who wants to spend on Facebook ads / instagram ads/ google SEM to get clients when you haven't even earned a dime from your business. Correct?!!!
So here's my story and here's how I got my very first clients.
I literally stumbled upon photography by chance. Moved to the UK after marriage; was jobless for 5 years and then my daughter was born. It felt like the only thing that ever gave me joy was to take pictures of her. I would post those pictures on Facebook and friends would comment saying how wonderful my images were.
Literally that appreciation is all that encouraged me to start my photography business. But when I started, I had not a clue how I could get my very first photography clients. So here's what I did.
Now since it is indirect promotion and not a direct promotional post so the admins of the Facebook group would usually not delete it.
Also, because I shared images along with the question, it made the post even more attractive and encouraged people to respond.
Because people saw that I am specifically mentioning that I took these images, that means I am a photographer and that encouraged some of those people to reach out to me to ask if I take on clients. To which my answer always was "YES!!"
Doing this will not only help you build your portfolio. Keep your social media channels active and buzzing with regular posts but will also help you figure out your own personal style very early on in your career. Because the more you click, the more you become more comfortable in this marriage of you with your camera.
Just pick a story from your life. Or from the life of someone you know. Pick a story people can relate to. Write it in simple words with your images. For example if you have done a model call for a family photoshoot and have clicked some family shots that you want to share on your social media handles just write a simple story with it about that family. When my clients came over for their sessions, I would always ask them "so how did you meet each other?" That in it self would be such a great starting point for getting a peek into their life's story and I personally believe that everyone has a uniquely relatable story to tell.
Or if you don't manage to get an interesting story out of your model family then say something that you feel about your own family... something like "I am behind the camera so often, photographing all these beautiful families, I realised today that I had forgotten to be in front of that camera with my own little family at all. So I have promised myself and my little baby that we will be capturing our family portraits this weekend. I will miss having my mother in them. Because I never realised how important it was to capture our family portraits when she was alive. Don't leave it till so late like me." (PS: This is just an example of what I would write.)
Whatever you write in your captions, make sure to keep them very very interesting and engaging. But PLEASE DO NOT DO Direct Marketing EVER!!! like "100 images for $100. Contact me on [email protected]" I can guarantee you people will not pay heed to your post and that will only leave you frustrated. Its almost like cold calling. When you receive a cold sales call on your phone asking if you need accident insurance what do you do? You hang up the call and block the number where it came from. That's what direct marketing posts work like. They put people off. Never do that.
The only mantra I ever followed in marketing my work was "go ahead. Be shameless." Your hunger to succeed should be your biggest weapon. It should give you the freedom to be able to promote your beautiful work without fear of losing some friends along the way. There will be many who would think that your images are cluttering their social media feed and they might block you but then there will be others who will love what you are doing and will go ahead and book you for a family session they may not even be planning to have in the first place.
Don't wait for clients to come to you.... create your own market.
These are all free of cost tips and tricks of course and these are things that I followed to get my first work assignments. I am not saying these tricks will work like magic for you. You might have to reinvent the marketing wheel a bit to suit your comfort levels too and also your personality. As creative beings, most of us are very business shy people. We like to take photos but we want to leave the job of promoting that work to someone else. Unfortunately that doesn't work when your passion is also your professions. So do what your heart allows you to.
Ofcourse, if you have kids and they goto schools or nurseries then it also helps to spread the word around in the parent community that you are taking on clients.
I even went and pasted small a4 size banners in cash and carry shops around where I lived, when I was starting off.
However, in the long run, the few investments you cannot avoid making are:
1. Having a decent website. Now there are dime a dozen cheap and cost effective ways of creating free websites on Wordpress or zenfolio or even on behance/adobe. So go ahead and create a simple landing page for yourself.
2. Invest in learning. Make sure to learn photography by attending masterclasses of photographers whose work resonates with you. That will help you also meet other photographers in your community and that will not only help to learn from their experiences of running a business but also help you build a tribe of your own in this profession that can sometimes get really lonely and alienating.
If you need any more suggestions or help, then please feel free to drop me a line on [email protected]
You can find my photography workshops and other resources for photographers here
PS: Always read my blogs with the knowledge that these are my personal views only. I am a home maker-turned professional photographer and I pride in the fact that I created this thriving brand for myself in just little over 7 years. But, I don't think like a person who has walked out of a Management institute. So these might not be the conventional business marketing tricks. <3
Don't forget to subscribe to my VIP list!