Photography Marketing Guide: Top 10 Tips for Photographers

Want to brush up on photography marketing? Learn how to get more clients and promote your photography business with these marketing tips for photographers.

Marketing tips for photographers
Portrait for Ann YoungBy Ann Young  |  Updated July 11, 2023

Marketing is key for photographers who want to reach a broader range of clients, increase earnings and grow their business. From email marketing and social media to SEO and website optimization, there are many different forms of marketing that will enable photographers to promote their work and build a strong, recognizable brand.

How to Market a Photography Business

Whether you’re an experienced photographer or just starting out in the photography game, we’ve put together a guide featuring 10 marketing tips for photographers to help you get your work our there. Let’s snap to it!

1. Define Your Target Audience

Define Your Target Audience - Flat Illustration

Identifying your niche is a smart jump-off point for photography marketing. Identifying your target audience will help you to develop ideas that will work for a particular group of clients, and allow you to adapt your strategy to keep them engaged.

For instance, if you specialize in food photography, you should focus on targeting cafes, restaurants, culinary magazines, blogs, or any organization that may need high-quality images that revolve around food and beverages. 

Consider large companies, small and local businesses, as well as individual clients. You can also go further and segment your audience into more specific categories based on:

  • Location
  • Income
  • Specialization
  • Interests

There’s no universal method for categorizing your niche, as everything depends on your objectives, skillset and experience. Online tools like Google Analytics, Instagram, and Facebook Business Page Insights can make it easier to identify and define your target audience.

2. Create a Digital Portfolio

Create a Digital Portfolio - Example of digital photography portfolio

The next step is creating a digital portfolio. Our personal and professional lives have undergone significant changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and going digital is now a must. Having a print-only photography portfolio drastically limits the range of people who can see it, which is why it’s important to create an easily accessible digital portfolio. 

First and foremost, ensure that your portfolio is professional and high-quality. For some potential clients, this asset will be the first impression they have of your work, so make sure it represents what you can do. To ensure your work is edited to perfection, try improving the quality of your pictures with editing software and Lightroom presets to achieve saturated colors, flawless skin textures, and perfect lighting.

Another benefit of having a digital portfolio is that you can include more examples of your work and present them in a unique way to catch clients’ attention. It can be beneficial to experiment with different formats and layouts, and use mockups to make your work stand out. Not all platforms provide the resources to build your digital portfolio from scratch, but there are a ton of great portfolio templates available on Envato Elements to help your work shine.

3. Optimize Your Website for SEO

Optimize Your Website for SEO

Photography marketing relies heavily on search engine optimization (SEO), which directly affects website traffic. Simply put, potential clients won’t be able to find you or your business online if your photography portfolio, website, or blog isn’t optimized or searchable. Here are some ways to make sure your work is SEO-optimized. 

  • Choose the right keywords: Consider the keywords are phrases that people enter into Google to find you. Simply put, including the right keywords in website content will make your work easier to find. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz can help you choose the right keywords for your website. 
  • Optimize your page: After you’ve selected the right keywords, you need to include them in your website pages. The main keyword should be included in the H1 heading, text, meta description, URL, and throughout your content. If your website doesn’t include the correct keywords, Google will fail to understand what your website is about.
  • Compress images: It’s also important to add keywords to all the alt-tags and descriptions on your images. Make sure to compress all visual files, as the loading time of your website is directly affected by the size of your images. A good rule of thumb is to use images smaller than 500KB. If you need a free program to compress photos, check out Caesium. Or, if you’re looking for a tool capable of batch image compression, you can try an image compressor by Duplichecker or FileOptimizer.
  • Add links: Gaining links from external sources is also an important ranking factor. Google crawls millions of sites every day to evaluate every link, so the more backlinks your website receives, the higher Google position it will receive.

Another important aspect to consider is Domain Authority (DA). Partnering with local businesses, influencers, bloggers and other creatives can help to increase your domain authority as well as establishing mutually beneficial relationships. 

4. Use Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Statistics for Photographers

Social media is considered to be one of the most effective forms of marketing, and its visual nature makes it the perfect channel to showcase photography. Establishing an online presence is key for building and expanding your client base, so it’s important to invest time into social media marketing. You can use your social media pages as a portfolio by regularly posting your recent work and encouraging your followers to engage. Databox research shows that for SMBs like photography studios, increasing brand awareness in the top objective. It can also help to comment on others’ posts and regularly interact with your peers, potential clients and partners.

Using Instagram Stories and Instagram Live can be an effective way to reach followers and keep you brand front of mind. Since this content is ephemeral, you can treat it as a personalized channel for communicating with your clients and sharing updates. If you build loyal relationships with your audience on your social networks, chances are they will think of you for their next project.

Of course, constantly posting new photos can be tiring and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to create and schedule your posts and keep them well organized. Design your content with social media templates and then use social media management platforms, such as HopperHQ or Buffer, to share it on your socials. 

5. Improve your Conversions Using Email Marketing

Email Marketing Statistics

Email marketing can serve many purposes – from advertising products and services and promoting upcoming events, to providing discounts and offers to returning customers. Approximately 50% of marketers report that email newsletters bring them the highest ROI, and studies show that segmented campaigns can increase revenue by up to 760%. Plus, 63% of people state that marketing emails significantly affect their purchasing decisions.

Email Marketing statistics 2017 to 2021

Nowadays, personalization is a go-to strategy when it comes to email marketing. Something as simple as a personalized subject line or product offer can show your customers and clients that they’re valued.

Here are some more tips for optimizing your emails:

  1. Ask clients to include your email address to their contact list when subscribing.
  2.  Avoid wordy subject lines.
  3. Avoid writing using only capital letters. Also, you may want to steer clear from keywords such as “100%”, “Click here” or “Free” or your campaigns might end up in the spam folder.
  4.  Emails should be 80% text, 20% images. 
  5. Add a visible unsubscribe button to every email.

Using professional email marketing software can make it easier to get in touch with clients faster and expand your list of prospects. These programs usually contain tools for managing contacts, performing email marketing segmentation, and tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. The most feature-rich options are Constant Contact, Drip, and ActiveCampaign.

6. Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising for Photographers

Facebook Advertising can be an extremely beneficial tool for photography marketing as it allows you to target specific demographics and extend your reach beyond your known contacts. For instance, if you’re a photographer operating in a particular location, you can create an ad filter to reach only businesses located within your area.

This is great for efficiency and making the most of your advertising budget

7. Develop a Referral Program to Attract New Clients

Develop a Referral Program to Attract New Clients

Word-of-mouth marketing is perhaps the most effective way to expand your business – particularly in the creative industries. Creating a referral program can be a great way to encourage your clients to recommend your services. 

Offering discounts, free photo sessions, or other perks for referring clients can be a good motivator, and is a small investment that will pay off down the road. Make sure your business details and portfolio are easily accessible so that people can share info about your photography services.

Developing a functional referral program can be an arduous task without the right referral software. Referral Factory Tool’s program templates are adaptable for many different fields, and available in 18 languages.

8. Organize a Giveaway or Contest

Organize a Social Media Giveaway or Contest - Infographic

Organizing contests and giveaways on social media can be a super effective way to market your photography business. You can generate new leads and increase engagement by giving people an incentive to share your work.  

The simplest method to host a giveaway is to ask people to follow your page, share a specific post, and tag several friends for the chance to win a prize. Then, randomly choose a winner and live stream the selection phase. The main thing here is to select a prize that will appeal to your audience – such as a free photo session or exclusive print. 

9. Collaborate with Other Creatives

Collaborate with Other Creatives - Creative Professionals in a Meeting

In a creative field like photography, building a strong network is key to building your client base. Choose to connect with people who aren’t direct competitors, but who complement your services. Look for services and businesses relevant to the interests or lifestyle of your target audience – vendors, restaurants, hotels, photo studios, etc.

The simplest way to establish mutually-beneficial relationships is to include links to their websites or blogs and ask them to do the same for you. 

10. Use Video Content 

Use video for photography marketing - video statistics infographic

According to Forbes, 90% of customers say that videos help them make purchasing decisions, and 64% of clients claim that by watching a video, they feel more inclined to buy an item advertised. So, it makes sense to use video marketing to promote your work!

Today, there are lots of user-friendly software and online platforms – including video templates, Lightroom, Adobe Spark, and Animoto – that you can use to create high-quality video slideshows for your work.

Get Started With Marketing your Photography Business

We hope this guide has given you some great ideas for marketing your photography business. However, as a photographer — amateur or professional— the most important thing to focus on is the quality of your work. Learning new techniques or upgrading your equipment (camera rentals are a great option) can take your projects to the next level. 

Additionally, you may also want to consider actions such as updating your website, blog, social media channels, and – of course – keep networking. Happy snapping!

Guest Author: Ann Young

Ann Young is a writer-photographer, who lives in New York. She’s been engaged in writing and photography for over 10 years. After she graduated from New York University, she started to work as a photographer and freelance retoucher. Today, Ann teaches newbie retouchers how to use Adobe tools for photo and video editing. She also helps to analyse and provide advice on different strategies for photography business development.

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