Today, photography is one of the most accessible arts. Everyone has a camera in their pocket, that means anyone can technically become a photographer. For that reason, the profession can lose a bit of its value. At least in the eyes of people who think that taking a good photographer is just the press of a button.
Finding clients that not only appreciate the craft, but are also willing to pay money for it, can be very tricky. But don’t worry, in this article we will give a few tips on how to get your first clients as a photographer.
So let’s get started. The first thing you will need to do is…
Build your portfolio
This probably goes without saying. If you don’t have a portfolio and you start approaching clients, more often than not, they will want to see some previous work to see if you can get the job done. In the end, they are paying to get a specific result. Your portfolio will give them the confidence that you can deliver.
Don't think you need to have an extensive portfolio to get started though. If you like to be a portrait photographer, ask one of your friends and do one good photo session with them or photograph their party. If the results are good, you already have something to show your clients and earn their trust.
Now, if you like a lot of different types of photography and you are not sure how to start building your portfolio, here is another tip for you.
Specialize in one niche
When you do photography as a hobby, you probably like photographing many different things. Landscape, portrait, your friends, your cute dog, and your aunties' birthday party. That’s great. But when it comes to making it into a business, you should focus on one area and become better at it.
Many people think that showing their “versatility” and having pictures of many different subjects or areas will show that they can do any type of job. Well, while that might be true, your clients don’t really care how many different things you can photograph. They only care if you can do what they need well.
Just imagine you are taking your date out for dinner and you want to have a really nice risotto. Will you go to an Italian restaurant or to a restaurant that serves risotto, burritos, empanadas, pizza, kebab, and sushi?
So when you are ready to make a jump, become a professional photographer and start getting clients, choose your favorite food niche and stick with it. That doesn’t mean you will have to do just that, but by providing a specific solution to a specific problem, your chances of being hired will drastically increase.
Create a Professional Website
Once you have built your portfolio and chosen your niche, the next step is to create a website to show your photos to a larger public. A website is, in short, like a shop window where everyone can see the products you sell. A clothing shop owner shows the most beautiful clothes in the window to attract potential clients. Thus, by posting your portfolio on the website, interested people will find you and the service you offer.
Today you don’t need to be a web designer or an engineer to create your website. On the internet, you can find several platforms where you can create your professional website for free or almost. Here are some names:
Creating a professional website on these platforms is easy. You only need to choose the name, the template, the text, and the layout. Use your website to talk about yourself and share your portfolio. Write all the information people need, such as contact details, services you offer, pricing, and your location.
Although the website is a fundamental tool for your business, this will not allow you to attract people right away. Let’s find out why and what you can do.
Use Social Networks to Promote Your Portfolio
When you start a shop, you probably don't want your friends as your only clients. you want more and more people to know about your business. That’s why you need to use marketing and advertisement to promote your offer on your social media accounts.
Social media like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook are one of the best platforms to be noticed today. Unfortunately, opening an Instagram account and posting photos is not enough to get clients. What you need is a marketing plan. That means writing a schedule knowing the best days of the week and the best times to post your photos, as well as choosing the right hashtags, for example. Don’t be scared, you will find several free courses and information about social media marketing on the internet.
If you have some savings in your piggy bank, consider investing in targeted advertising on social networks. This is a really quick way to boost the traffic in your accounts and increase the chances of being noticed. Every platform has its tools, prices, and types of ads. As for the marketing plan, get informed on the internet or ask some friends to know exactly how to build a good ad campaign.
In addition to social networks, another good strategy is to take advantage of word of mouth. That means finding people who like your photos or friends who can help you in your job search through their acquaintances.
Join Communities and Build Strong Relationships
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
- Dale Carnegie
Having friends or acquaintances in your field is vital. The world is full of people with the same passions and hobbies. Some may have also succeeded in turning those hobbies into a business. So, be proactive and invest your time in building relationships. You will probably get helpful information for your business, as well as collaborations and clients.
A great way for networking is to join an online community. Communities are often specific. If you are a cook for example, you will find several communities of cooks and enthusiasts with whom you can build relationships, exchange recipes or advice. Photographers and creatives have their own communities. You just have to join some and start networking.
Beazy also has its online community. We organize several events for our members in various European cities, workshops, and shooting sessions with models in beautiful spots. If you are interested in our activities, come and visit us!
Focus on Consistency
In conclusion, getting your first clients and turning a passion into a job is not easy. You will need a lot of patience and perseverance. Once you have specialized and built your portfolio with high-quality pictures, post it on your website to engage visitors. Drive proactive marketing and ad campaigns on your social media accounts. Try to post your photos frequently, being honest and clear with the details you share.
Join communities to find new friends and collaborators. Ask members for information, participate in events and build a strong network to find new job opportunities.