I love photography. It is my passion. But if you're like me then you have a full time job and shooting is on the side. With that said, I don't have the advertising funds to promote photography work. The money I make from shooting helps pay my bills and that is about it.
So what can a person do to get customers without advertising? Good question. Social media is one way. With Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and so many websites growing daily social media websites is the easiest way to get your name out there. But you can over do it. Social media is a learning experience as well as a promotional tool.
If you tweet too much, you could loose followers. If you share too much on Facebook you will loose fans. If you post horrible photos on Flickr you will loose viewers. But if you learn from your mistakes you can get them all back.
So here are some simple tips to help you grow your brand, get your name out there and develop your photography skills.
Talk to people; learn from other photographers. Don't be afraid to ask questions, meet up and shoot, join conversations, comment on other peoples work and also ask for constructive criticism on your work.
Start a Facebook fan page. Share your work, links and helpful advice for your fans. Be creative and not spammy.
Share new photos on Flickr. Tag and title them correctly, then spread the word. If you share them they will come.
So now you're sharing, growing your brand and on your way. All for free right? There are buyers, models, couples and all types of potential customers checking out your work. You're not over doing it so you don't push anyone away… right?! You're listening to your friends, fans and followers. If they tell you to stop tweeting so much, or to stop tweeting useless things, make sure you pay attention. As your brand grows you must grow with it.
While you're doing all this social media stuff, you should also be posting on your blog. BLOG??? If you don't know what a blog is by now you need to learn quick and get moving on it. Actually, you're currently reading a blog. How about that! Blogs by nature attract search engines. Wait, isn't that free advertising? Sure is baby!
On your blog you should be writing and sharing photography. You don't need to write a long winded article like this one, but keep it consistent. Keep the articles flowing and build your brand.
Potential customers might read your blog and say “Wow this dude posts new photos from each event he shoots and they are awesome!” or maybe even “I want him to shoot our wedding”. I mean, that's what I thought when I first saw Seshu's documentary wedding photography!
Again, keep the blog posts flowing and be consistent but don't overdue it. If you post too much useless stuff it will push people away.
Now you're brand is growing still and you haven't spent a dime on advertising. Isn't that something?
So what about getting the gig?
That's where all of your hard work at sharing, writing, etc.. comes in to play. As long as you do it right and share great work, customers will come. The past few months have been busy for me shooting paid gigs. However along the way I needed to shoot many charity gigs or trade for CD gigs. We have to do what we have to do. But the key is to keep shooting, keep sharing and keep loving photography.
Do that and the customers will come. As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book by the same name, go on and “Crush It“