Landscape photography marketing is one area that photographers often find particularly hard. But if you want your photography business to grow, you have to know how to market yourself and your work.
Why artists need to market themselves? So that, you the artist, wouldn’t starve to death.
No, but seriously. Otherwise, you risk ending up like Vincent Van Gogh who (in the words of Steven Pressfield) “produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life.”
A lot of artists have this notion that they’re the creative person, and marketing belongs to the business world. Some even think it’s evil or dirty to promote themselves, and they don’t want to have anything to do with this” filthy” world.
The truth is, it’s your job to market yourself. You are the artist, and you know how to spread the word about your work. After all, you created it. You can’t rest after creating your art; you need to start marketing it.
You don’t own your Facebook page. Yes, the page that you invested hundreds of hours to build, nourish and cultivate is not yours. It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s. The new Facebook’s Explore Feed feature works differently in Serbia and a few other countries than in the rest of the world. This shows that, by building a photography page, you’re actually working for Mark. You have to either pay, or forget about Facebook for business promotion and growing your audience.
When you say “branding” to most photographers and filmmakers, all they think about is how their logo looks. Branding, however, is so much more than a pretty logo. It’s what you want people to feel when they hear your name or see your work. Branding sets up a level of expectation to potential clients and customers. It’s what separates you from your competitors.
But how do you even begin to think about how you brand yourself and your work? This video from filmmaker Kris Truini helps to explain the basics with some tips to get you started. This is by no means a complete guide, but a good starting point to get you up and running. These tips will lead to more questions, but that’s a good thing. Questions make you think and push yourself. There are no shortcuts.
In my last article “Photography marketing: preparing the ground for your business to flourish” I pointed out how we can do our best to market ourselves and how — occasionally — coincidences or serendipity play a much bigger role than marketing.
Now I want to go through the habits that could significantly improve the chances for your photography business to flourish. Easy things that can be done to encourage those potential clients to work with us. You want those tips that are going to boost your photography business, don’t you?
Ready? Here we go:
A guy that started his career without even having a portfolio wants you to know what he finds important to consider when it comes to market your work.
After I published “What is decisive in a photographer’s career?” I got quite a few comments in a couple of Linkedin groups.
In my article I pointed out how opportunities, more than technical skills, creativity or experience, are a key factor to determine success. Someone suggested me to change the wording from ‘opportunities’ to ‘marketing’, because good marketing generates opportunities and, more often than not, photographers seems to lack that very skill.
I totally agree with the fact that effective marketing is essential, but my focus was on something slightly different. What I was trying to underline was precisely the importance of opportunities. And, actually, I believe that marketing doesn’t necessarily replace opportunities.
With all the social networks and plenty of ways to share your images online, the question is – do you really need a website? And the short answer would be – yes, you do. There are several reasons for that.
With social media, you can’t control how your photos look (just think of Facebook compression). Also, you’re just a part of the crowd, which makes it more difficult to compete for clients’ attention. So, social media websites should be only one of your methods of advertising, but not the only one. Your website (or your online portfolio) is the best way to display your work. And in this comprehensive and very informative video, Joe Edelman will give you many useful tips for choosing a domain name and website hosting. And there are plenty of clever tips and tricks in addition to that.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… When you start thinking about social networks, your head starts to spin. There are so many of them, and it’s not easy to decide which ones you should use as a photographer. Using them all takes a lot of time. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish what makes the use for business and what’s just for fun. In this video, Joe Edelman gives you an A to Z of social media use for photographers. Meet their pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to prepare images for social networks without wasting too much time.
They lost me at the “Cost of Doing Business” calculator.
You know, the formula everyone starts you out with: Your overhead expenses + desired salary = your total annual cost ÷ number of billable days = your CODB.
No matter how many times I played with it, the number of billable days that I desired was never as high as the number of days I actually worked. My desired salary never approached by my actual salary. So the calculator failed me. Lots of stuff they taught me in those photo business seminars failed me. I had to find a better way to price my work and survive as a new photographer.
I had a marketing and sales background that I could use as an advantage. If you don’t come to photography with my background, I suggest that you start by learning as much as you can from the established pro-photo business blogs and forums. Most are free and probably just as good as paying a lot of money to sit through a seminar. On the other hand, paying for a seminar might be worth it if you tend to drift into “multitasking” while reading at a computer.
In this series of short posts I’ll deconstruct what they tell you in those seminars and give you some of you guidance on how to survive as an independent freelance photographer in the 21st Century.
As an artist and as an entrepreneur, you need to actively position your photography business to work with as many high quality, profitable clients as possible.
That may seem a little obvious, but it is actually a lot harder than it sounds.