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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> How do you market your photography business?
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05/28/2006 11:33:24 PM · #1
I recently got interested in shooting portraits as a business (I figured it would be better than getting paid $6 an hour to be a busboy which is pretty much the only job option for a 15 year old). I made a website, and told a lot of people I know that I was now offering this service. I have a few friends that posed and let me practice on them.

I have my first senior portrait booked for next month and am eagerly looking forward to it. This summer I am really trying to shoot as much as I can, and at the same time I am trying to figure out how to advertise and market myself. I put up a simple site that I am going to use until I have my real one up.

I put an add on craigslist but I am wondering what else you guys do to get business. Where and how do you advertise? How do you market yourself?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Charles
05/28/2006 11:51:57 PM · #2
Hi
First of all Charles i like to say it is great some one your age is enterprising. I mean at age of 15 when one wants to enjoy life you are very mature.

As regards how to market your business. few months ago i had read a fellow DPC member who had a great marketing skills. He would offer prints for time instead of charging for them. As a result he got a place to set up his portrait shop in small fair.

I dont remember the name of the member. I will try to search
05/28/2006 11:59:37 PM · #3
I found the the member's profile Profile
05/29/2006 12:21:12 AM · #4
Anyone else?
05/29/2006 12:32:54 AM · #5
I am the official photog for Hart Pony Baseball and Softball League.

This title also means that I am a Director for the league. Now, with this title I am restricted to pix for the yearbook only.

However, to market myself, I give small samples of my work to coachs and their teams. If they ask me to shoot more action shots, then I do so on their schedule, and not the leagues time.

I also make pocket books as gifts for my sons team, with my name all over it (Photography by....) for future clients.

I also have shot for free for pix of Homecomming games for a near by High School for their yearbook.

This is the same method I did back in the day when I was starting off in my current career, to get names of people and to network some 20 years ago.
05/29/2006 12:51:35 AM · #6
Do yourself a huge favor.

Buy this book. That's not an affiliate link or anything, I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Some of his advice may not be appropriate for you, since his goal is to be the most profitable studio possible, and you still have school to worry about. But the whole chapter on sales and marketing should be totally relevant to you.

I bought it and it totally changed the way I'm approaching my photography business.

Good luck!

---A
05/29/2006 01:11:03 AM · #7
does your town have a local farmer's market or crafts/art fair? local coffee shops? ask newspaper for article to be done on young aspiring entrepreneur...
05/29/2006 02:09:04 AM · #8
Whatever business plans you make remember onething they should be made keeping in mind your age. I mean you are 15 , young and lets suppose you plan to say shoot weddings , I am not sure how many people will be willing to hire a 15 year old as a photographer.

Some ideal place would be the ones suggested by amandalore or maybe you can offer to click product photographs for website
05/29/2006 02:16:50 AM · #9
Originally posted by General:

Whatever business plans you make remember onething they should be made keeping in mind your age. I mean you are 15 , young and lets suppose you plan to say shoot weddings , I am not sure how many people will be willing to hire a 15 year old as a photographer.


If he showed professionalism and a good portfolio, I really don't think age is an issue. Perhaps for some, but not all.

---------

FWIW, Charles, word of mouth is your best and cheapest form of advertising. Get people you do photos for to spread the word for you. Also, Myspace is a pretty darn good place to set up shop to advertise your wares.

Local beauty shops, hair salons, etc... all those should be considered as places to advertise. Just talk to the owners and ask if you can leave business cards or hang a flyer.

What I'm trying to say is don't go overboard with trying to buy advertising, it gets expensive quickly. Use the free channels available to you.
05/29/2006 02:30:55 AM · #10
Hey Im 16, and I'm going through the same thing as you right now.
Now, For senior portraits,I would try contacting your school, and asking them about advertising in the school newspaper or newsletter (if they exist).
Another way is myspace like fotomann forever said, take a look at mine,Myspace, it is basically just an advertisment for my website.
maybe try that out.

05/29/2006 02:48:29 AM · #11
business cards are a good way of letting ppl know about you (and they are not too expensive)...make sure to put your homepage address on it and then give it to everyone you meet .... good luck this summer :)
05/29/2006 09:34:30 AM · #12
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by General:

Whatever business plans you make remember onething they should be made keeping in mind your age. I mean you are 15 , young and lets suppose you plan to say shoot weddings , I am not sure how many people will be willing to hire a 15 year old as a photographer.


If he showed professionalism and a good portfolio, I really don't think age is an issue. Perhaps for some, but not all.


Thank you for that...
05/29/2006 09:54:06 AM · #13
I was very interested in seeing how many ppl would respond to this thread. It would seem to me that this is an area of photography with lots of pride.

This is what I am thinking. #1 if pple don't know your there, then people don't know where to go when they need you. #2 Target a customer, and find the angle. #3 Careful not to overwhelm yourself. In saying that, do not let the integrity of your work slip. I would Never want to get a bad name. Stick to what you can do, and do it well. At 15, or heck at any age, take time to learn. And the very best way to find unique angles to your customers, (become one of them), look for a photographer, and then define what it is that made you choose them.

Ex. of targeting customers

if you were doing glamour studio shots, obviously target your middle age women.

if you were doing sports, target your young males. o.k., sorry and females.

You get what im saying, because all these genre hang out at different places, how do you advertise to them if you don't know who they are?

One other thing I should mention, I don't do photography for money, just throwing out ideas.
05/29/2006 01:42:51 PM · #14
anybody else?
05/29/2006 01:45:50 PM · #15
What everyone else said and these two books:

Building Your Photography Business

Photographer's Market

Also Skip's Profile is an excellent read and anything he post in the forums.

Message edited by author 2006-05-29 13:46:40.
05/29/2006 07:29:02 PM · #16
Bump again.

I know there are more of you out there with with good ideas : )
05/30/2006 04:11:45 PM · #17
Charles, what I found to be a great tool for marketing yourself is self-made business cards. I make them in PS and print wallet-size. Whenever I do a shoot when the customer picks up their photos I have business cards ready with a photo from their shoot on them--their photo, my contact info. You can also add a catchy personlized line, something like: "my photographer was"... and then use your imagination for the design. People love giving those out. Parents normally "ooh" and "ahh" over the pictures of their kids, so when you give them a free wallet photo of their kids that they can share with their friends and family, they are more than happy to do so; same goes for couples. I have not heard a complaint yet. It is also a sample of your work.

And I do not believe that the age is an issue. I would rather hire a 15 year old who displays great skill and delivers great photos, then a 40 year old who lacks vision and skill but calls himself a professional photographer, and there are plenty of those. The earlier you start the better for you.
05/30/2006 04:30:27 PM · #18
Even though we'd like to think that age doesn't matter, it probably will anyway. Because of that, I'd try to market to the people your age. Convince the kids in your school that they want their senior portraits taken by someone who knows what it's like to be their age and won't take too many boring, stuffy photos (sometimes the parents need some boring, stuffy junk and they are probably the ones paying). Maybe market yourself to parents of younger kids the same way...stress the age thing as a positive...that you'll be able to interact better with their children.

If you've got some really nice work, or good portraits, see if local shops will let you hang them with a business card. I know a number of photographers here who started that way and got loads of business.
09/19/2009 02:57:13 PM · #19
Hey dog you are on the right track! Go to www.vistaprint.com and get lots of free promotional stuff like post cards, biz cards. I have done myspace.com, craigs list, just posted those! facebook, twitter, my local trading post paper that has free listings, put a door magnet on my car (the best so far) got an artical written up of me in the paper giving away one wedding photo shoot and portraits to one needy family that cant afford it once a month (depends on what they make)(boosted me like crazy!). Posting on myspace and all those sites looking for someone to give a free shoot too but make them buy the prints. Posting cards on the walmart ad board. You have to give a lot of free stuff out first before you can grow your biz and have a good portfolio to show! All this stuff works. Keep it up!

www.myspace.com/uziproductions
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