A 5-Step Guide to Finding Your First Photography Client
Starting your own photography business is an exciting and rewarding experience. As with anything else, the biggest challenge is getting started. Don’t be discouraged, though. Believe it or not, once you’ve established yourself in the field, looking back on your early days will evoke a hint of nostalgia and longing for your hobbyist days.
So, how do you successfully launch your photography business? And most importantly, how do you land your first paying client? Here are five steps to take toward your big breakthrough:
Take Lots of Pictures
“Really? You think?” It’s okay, go ahead and roll your eyes; you’d be surprised at how many photographers try to market themselves on a skimpy portfolio. Before you think of doing anything else, spend some time taking tons of pictures. Of everything. Everywhere. Until your friends think you’re crazy. Just make sure you’re shooting with a purpose, and make a conscious effort to hone your skills through the process.
Catalog Your Images
Now that you have some material to work with, separate your photos into different categories – landscapes, portraits, candids, etc. This is an early framework for your website and portfolio organization, and it’s also an exercise to get a feel for where your strengths lie. Don’t forget to get your photos printed so you can build an actual portfolio to show clients in person.
Write a Mission Statement and Create a Website
The great thing about being a photographer is that your work speaks for itself. However, you still have to make an effort to present yourself. A lot of photographers write a simple “About Me” and that’s fine, but we recommend writing a brief narrative that will make an impact on potential customers. Why should they choose you? What makes you awesome? Show your personality and give a glimpse into your approach.
Once you have your mission statement, it’s time to create your website. If you’re somewhat savvy, you can do this yourself by using WordPress and obtaining web hosting from a reputable web hosting company such as Monkey Mouth Web Hosting. But even if the thought of building your own website makes your head spin, some web hosting companies, like Monkey Mouth Web Hosting, also specialize in creating websites for creatives and small businesses and can give you a great price since your website project will be pretty straightforward.
Think of People Who Might Need a Photographer
So you’ve got your portfolio and mission statement, all housed on a nice, clean website. Next, it’s time for you to start looking for clients. At this point, the word “client” means nothing to you because you don’t have any. Instead, think of them as “people who might need a photographer.” This could be anyone from your Facebook friend who just got engaged to a small local business that has pixelated photos on their website. Right now you’re in an exploratory phase in which anything could be something. (Actually, you’ll always be in that exploratory phase from here on out.);
Go Where They Are
Once you’ve got your prospects, the strategy is simple: go where they are and introduce yourself. Send your friend a Facebook message. Call that small business. Go to sporting events. Connect with the photo editor for your local newspaper. Heck, call a corporation if you’ve got a pitch and some courage. It’s all about getting your name out there and creating possibilities. After that, it becomes a numbers game as leads get warmer.