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13 Marketing tips for photographers


Written by Becky T

Published Feb 09, 2023

As a photographer, being behind the camera is at the heart of what you do. Honing your craft and moulding the world around you to fit your own creative vision. But in order to be successful, you must do more than take great photos; you must also learn to market yourself in order to get your name out there and attract photography clients for your business.

This can be difficult, especially in a profession so used to being behind the scenes. But the rewards of nurturing a brand identity are tenfold, so we've collated a list of 10 marketing tips for photographers to help you out:

  1. Promote on socials
  2. Build a wider online presence
  3. Create a portfolio
  4. Invest in physical marketing materials
  5. Identify your niche
  6. Build a network
  7. Cross-promotion
  8. Launch a referral programme
  9. Play to your strengths
  10. Escape your comfort zone

1. Promote on socials

Establishing a presence on social media is an easy way to get your name out there when marketing as a photographer. By using location-based tags on your posts you can draw in a local audience, and added hashtags will help to drive your content to your ideal clientele. Try adding things such as your specialty (e.g. portraiture, wedding photography, landscapes), as well as your specific style or niche (e.g. urban, gothic, classic).

image showing a man on social media on his laptop and phone, utilising marketing tips for photographers
Photo by Austin Distel

Not every social media platform will be the best for your business. Think about where your ideal clients will be engaging and target your efforts there. Instagram is the most obvious contender for its sheer reach and focus on visual content, but other platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest tend to draw in particular audiences, such as those searching for family photoshoots and wedding photographers. Sites such as Vero Social, Behance, and YouPic offer more specialised platforms for photographers, where you can better retain the quality of your photos

You can also use social media to run special promotions and giveaways, which will encourage your audience to engage with your content and share it amongst their own networks.

2. Build a wider online presence

Building an online presence is about more than just engaging on socials (as important as this is). Investing in a professional photography website will give your business credibility and offers your clients a chance to learn a bit more about you and your work. Include an 'about me' section to establish familiarity and trust with your audience, and give them a sense of your personality.

image showing woman smiling at her laptop
Photo by Brooke Cagle

From there, you can start writing articles or e-mail newsletters about your business, or more generally about photography as a discipline. This will help to display your expertise and accomplishments, as well as broaden your reach online.

The key here is to bring value to your audience, so think about what you can share online that will help them. People that come across your articles or newsletter whilst searching for product photography ideas or how to launch a photography business, for example, will then be driven to check out your work. Not to mention that you will have already established yourself as a voice of authority in their minds, so they'll be more likely to trust you as a business.

3. Create a portfolio

Starting a photography portfolio can be a daunting task. But when you are marketing as a photographer, your portfolio is your most important asset. It showcases your photographs to potential clients so that they can get an idea of what to expect should they choose to hire you. Lead with your best work and if your styles or aesthetics tend to be diverse, consider creating personalised portfolios according to these specific markers. Look to your favourite photographer's portfolios as inspiration for how to organise your own, and try out different photo editing software to refine your work

image showing a photo album containing black and white landscape photographs
Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland

If you're a commercial photographer, it's important to have a print portfolio as well as a digital one. Customers will want to gauge the quality of your photos once they're in a physical format, as this is likely how they'll use them should they choose to hire you.

It's never a bad idea to get external feedback on your marketing efforts, and this is particularly true for your portfolio. Sometimes we can be too close to our work to judge it fairly, so having a fresh pair of eyes to assess whether your portfolio best reflects your talent can go a long way. There are a number of photography forums that you can utilise for this if you don't want to ask someone you know personally.

4. Invest in physical marketing materials

It might seem a bit old school in the technological age we live in, but investing in physical marketing materials is still a beneficial way to invest in marketing as a photographer. From business cards to brochures and pricing menus, offering potential clients physical materials that they can hold onto helps them to remember you for longer.

image showing someone passing a business card to another person
Photo by Van Tay Media

This isn't to say that connecting online is any worse or better, but the digital world is vast and oversaturated, and your Instagram profile may face stark competition when trying to avoid getting lost in the scroll. We're more likely to remember people that we have met in real life, and even more so if they've given us a business card or pamphlet that we can read on our way home.

Have a look online for templates and inspiration, but if you have the resources, it's a good idea to invest in a professional graphic designer to best capture your brand aesthetic. Make sure that you provide clear contact details and link to your online portfolio.

5. Identify your niche

What is it that sets you apart from other photographers? Whether it's your grungy style, your creative couple shoot ideas, or your ability to capture candid emotion in your portraiture, try to identify your unique selling point and lead with it when going about marketing as a photographer. Homing in on the defining characteristics of your work will help to build a stronger brand identity and help you to stand out amongst the crowd.

image showing a bride and groom leaning against a car
Photo by Jessica Rockwitz

Often, when people are searching for photographers, they are looking for a specific requirement or style. Try to profile your ideal client and establish what it is that they are looking for. However, this doesn't mean that you have to box yourself into one specific genre - just make sure that you keep your work neatly categorised if you want to cast a wider net.

If you're struggling to find your niche, try looking at what sort of photography you personally gravitate towards. Use photography forums and sites like Flickr and Pinterest to identify the keywords that people use to describe different aesthetics. From there, you can take a mental checklist of those that you like, and cross-reference them with your own work to see if there is any overlap. If you're early on in your career, don't stress too much about nailing down your specific niche - the more work you do, the more it will start to fall into place.

Hire locations for your next photoshoot with Tutti

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

6. Build a network

One of the most important marketing tips for photographers is to build a network. As a photographer, it's important to establish professional contacts outside of the internet. Amongst other things, this will allow you to learn from those within the photography industry and will provide an opportunity for you to bounce ideas off of people who have genuine expertise. If you don't know where to start, try searching online for photography networking groups and meet-ups in your local area.

image showing two women smiling and networking
Photo by WOCinTech

This may come in useful should you need a second opinion regarding concerns about your business. Your contacts can also give you advice and pointers based off their own experience, such as recommending certain photography studios, or warning you against a mistake they made early on in their career. You may even be able to refer clients to one another if your services are not too much in competition.

Business benefits aside, it's just nice to have the support of people who get you. Being a photographer can be a challenging job, so it's important to surround yourself with a support network of others within the industry that can have your back.

7. Cross-promotion

Cross-promotion is a means of collaborating with other organisations to help you both promote to a wider audience. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, where you can use each other's networks to pull in new leads.

image showing tables at a wedding venue, with flowers on the table
Photo by Thomas William

You may want to organise strategic partnerships with companies that can provide you with props for your photoshoots, for example. Think florists for wedding photography shoots, or clothing companies for fashion photoshoots.

You can also cross-promote by linking to other organisations on your website or tagging them on social media, encouraging them to do the same in return. Just make sure that you do your research on the company beforehand, so you know that they are reliable and that their brand voice and principles are in alignment with your own.

8. Launch a referral programme

Particularly if you work in portrait photography, word of mouth is everything. People are more likely to trust past clients because they have little reason to sugar-coat their experience. This is a useful marketing tip for photographers to bear in mind since referral programmes are a good way to encourage previous clients to pass along the good word about your business.

image showing a photographer showing his clients a photograph
Photo by Antony Trivet

The foundation of any good referral programme is, of course, happy customers. As in any industry, offering a good service isn't just about sticking to a brief and producing quality products, it is also about providing excellent customer service. Make sure that you are polite, friendly and efficient when dealing with clients, regardless of whether you meet in them in person or communicate digitally. We're social creatures, and if people like you as a person, they're more likely to go out of their way to see you succeed.

Examples of referral initiatives include giving clients future discounts or gift cards when you successfully gain a new client from their recommendation. Make sure that you let your clients know how your programme works at the end of your session.

9. Play to your strengths

Obviously you take good photos - you have that in the bag already. But what other strengths can you pull from? Do you have a knack for wit and humour that you can leverage on socials? Perhaps you're better at evoking emotion through long-form articles or email marketing, or maybe you're a charismatic people-person that flourishes around new people.

image showing a group of people networking
Photo by Brooke Cagle

We can't have it all, and it's okay if you struggle with certain aspects of marketing as a photographer. Different tactics work for different people, because we all have our own unique talents and skillsets. The key is to play to your strengths and if something seems to be working, run with it!

If you have the resources, then you can also play to the strengths of others to make up for those aspects that you aren't so comfortable with. Lots of photographers hire professional marketers to help them build their brand.

10. Escape your comfort zone

Whilst it's beneficial to lean into the things you're good at, it can be easy to become stagnant if you never push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Hey, you might even surprise yourself and find a talent you never knew you had!

image showing a group of people looking at their cameras together
Photo by stux

For example, perhaps you avoid networking with other professionals because you are naturally reserved and uneasy around new people. However, not only is this an important part of establishing a name for yourself, but you may well find that your anxieties were holding you back from gaining fulfilling relationships with people that share a love for your craft.

Essentially, if you tell yourself that you can't do something, you make it prone to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, not least because you never even try! Don't let fear hold you back and try to dip your toes into every opportunity. At the end of the day, if something really isn't for you, at least you can say you gave it a shot.

Wrapping up

Self-promotion is a skill within its own right, and not an easy one at that! You might not get it right the first time but try to have confidence in your vision and your work, and allow yourself to adapt and evolve according to what you learn along the way. Consistency is key, so keep going and try to have fun with it!

Whether you're at the very beginning of starting a photography business, or you're a seasoned professional looking for ways to upgrade your professional arsenal, take some time to invest in these marketing tips for photographers to push your work into the rights circles.

Hire locations for your next photoshoot with Tutti

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

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