Hey, friends! Ever wondered how a gal with zero photography experience ended up running a full-time photography business? Well, today is your lucky day because we’re diving into all of that—plus, I’m sharing some of my go-to marketing strategies that helped get me here. So, let’s jump in! 🎉
My Humble Beginnings: Just a Gal and Her Camera
First off, let’s take a trip down memory lane. About 12 years ago, I had zero, zip, nada photography knowledge. Honestly, the harder part was having zero business experience. I had no clue. I picked up a camera simply because I wanted to document my family’s life and, bring in some extra cash for our one-income home. Fast forward through years of hard work, late nights, and countless learning moments, and here I am, blessed to call this my full-time job that I love.
So, if you think success comes overnight, think again! It’s been a journey of consistency, determination, and good ol’ fashioned hustle.
1. Word of Mouth: If They Love You, They’ll Tell Their Friends
Client satisfaction has been a huge focus for me since the beginning. Make the experience memorable, and guess what? Your clients become your biggest cheerleaders. The lesson here? Invest in your people, and they’ll invest right back in you through rave reviews and referrals.
2. Shout It From the Rooftops: Own What You Do
You know that electric feeling you get when you nail the perfect shot? Channel that energy every time someone asks, “So, what do you do?” Own it. Be proud of your craft. You never know which casual conversation could turn into your next big opportunity.
I know this probably sounds so simple, but when I was first starting out… it seemed intimidating to me to own it. It was easier for me to say, “I’m just a stay-at-home mom”, or something to that nature. If you are working photography alongside another job, don’t let the other job overshadow this one. While yes, the other job might currently be bringing in more income, be proud of the fact that you do photography as a job. The more you talk about it, and the more you take it seriously, the more other people will take you seriously too.
3. The Power of a Great Website: Hello, Digital World!
In the early days, my website was my secret weapon. I’m not just talking about a pretty portfolio, but an optimized site that shows up in search results. Trust me, get to know SEO like you know your favorite coffee order. SEO was the KEY for me getting clients outside of my circle of people I know. Your website will help you show up in Google searches, and that will help you so much when people are looking for what you have to offer. If you have a dating website, you may Buy Adult Businesses and have them linked to each other to promote brand loyalty and boost the traffic of your websites.
There are so many free resources on SEO. Don’t be afraid to dig into it, learn all you can, and implement what you learn.
I will say, this is hard because you don’t see immediate results. It usually takes a few months before your hard work will start to pay off.
4. Networking: It’s Not Just for Suits and Ties
Even though I started this journey solo, networking became my unexpected BFF. Those genuine connections you make at events, workshops, or even your favorite café? They’re more valuable than gold. So, put on your friendliest smile and start making those connections.
Don’t be afraid to make connections with other photographers. Trust me when I say, you will want other friends in the industry. Don’t look at the other photographers in your area as competition. They can be some of your biggest resources and friends.
5. The Social Media Game: Be More Than a Profile
Here’s the thing about social media—you’ve got to be social! It’s not just a place to drop your latest pics and run. Share your world, your behind-the-scenes, and yes, even your coffee adventures and messy workspace.
Remember, people aren’t just buying your skills; they’re buying YOU. Most people will get to know you through social media before ever inquiring. The only that sets you apart from anyone else is YOU. Be yourself. People will be drawn to you. Engage with other people, comment on things that interest you, be a cheerleader for other businesses. Get to know people and build relationships through social media with the help of Social Media Daily.
If you’re just starting out in business or even marketing yourself…. one thing I recommend is to choose one platform to be social on. Don’t get overwhelmed by feeling like you need to show up on every social media platform there is. Just chose one. Where is your ideal client spending their time? Where are you spending your time? That’s the place that you need to begin investing in.
6. Consistency: The Unsung Hero of Business Growth
Throughout this entire journey, if there’s one thing that’s been a constant, it’s consistency. Show up for your business like you’d show up for your BFF—reliable, supportive, and always there. So many people give up before they see the results of their hard work and efforts. Remember success isn’t going to happen overnight. Be consistent.
7. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
After all these years, if there’s one golden nugget I can leave you with, it’s this: building a successful business takes time. You gotta be in it for the long haul. But let me tell you, the view from here? Totally worth it.
Marketing is a lot easier many years later. The blog posts that I wrote 7 years ago are still performing with the help of free seo tools. The connections I made in the early days have been such an asset in sending me referrals, the photographer friends I made throughout the journey are some of my best friends and biggest supporters. It does get easier. Starting and sticking with it is the hardest part.
So that’s a wrap! I hope my story and these tips offer you a good mix of inspiration and actionable advice. Got any thoughts, questions, or maybe your own experience to share? I’d love to hear it! Drop it in the comments, and let’s keep this convo going!