So you’ve got the knowledge and skill, you know your gear and the direction in which you want to go with your photography. Now it’s time to attract clients. You will inevitably do some shoots you won’t be too excited about, and that’s okay. But you should make an effort to attract clients you really want to work with. After all, doing the kind of shoots you like is what will make you really love your job and enjoy it to the max.
Rachel and Daniel from Mango Street have three quick and useful tips how to attract your dream clients. It takes time and effort, but these are useful guidelines that will take you to the point you want to reach with your paid work.
1. Invest in styled shoots
The first piece of advice could make some photographers hate both me and the guys from Mango Street, but I’ll take that risk. They advise you to invest in styled shoots, either by working for free or even paying from your own pocket. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should underestimate your (or other photographers’) work, but it will help you build up portfolio that will display the kind of photos you want to make, and thus attract the clients you’ll want to work with.
With styled shoots, you have the control over all aspects. You choose and put everything together yourself. All this will help you market yourself better, and attract the clients you’ll want to work with.
2. Be selective with your portfolio
From time to time, you’ll still get to shoot gigs you’re not really stoked on. That’s perfectly okay, and it will bring home the bacon, but you shouldn’t treat these photos the same way as those you use to attract your dream clients.
If you don’t generally want to do these kinds of shoots, don’t include these photos anywhere in your portfolio. Also, don’t show them on your social media pages and your website. If you aim to only shoot what you want, it’s important to only show what you want. You can still create unlisted pages with these shoots, though, and present them nicely to the clients.
3. Do spec work and cold emailing
Another good method is to find a medium-sized brand you like who aren’t effectively using Instagram to market themselves. Shoot 6-9 photos of their products and then photoshop them into a screenshot of their Instagram profile. This will show how their page could look like with the right content. This approach is undoubtedly a lot of work, it doesn’t always work, but when it does – it’s worth it.
Alternatively, you can cold email social media managers of the brands you want to work with and offer to create content for them. Smaller brands often rely on in-house social media managers, but they may not have enough time or skill to create the right content.
All these tips make a lot of sense (even though many photographers get the panic attack when someone mentions working for free). If you’re still in search for clients and filtering them, it takes some time and effort, even if it means you won’t earn money from every shoot. But in the long run, I believe it pays off. What do you think? And if you are a more experienced photographer – how do you attract the clients you want to work with?
[How to Book Your Dream Photography Clients | Mango Street]