New and Need Clients

Dear Stefanie Shutters,

How can I get clients? I’m a beginner and am looking to book sessions, but it’s hard! I’ve only gotten one paying client so far.

I put my photos on Facebook and Instagram, but what else can I do to share my business?


Dear Clientless,

If you’re simply putting your work on Facebook and Instagram and waiting for clients to flock to you, you will never have a successful business.  These are passive advertising mediums and in this age of oversaturation of photographers everyone knows someone with a good camera.

Yes, it’s important to have a strong online presence, including Facebook and Instagram (and don’t forget an actual web site) as part of a professional online storefront… but you need a true marketing plan that will let you reach beyond your small Facebook network. You have to find other ways to be visible and offline ways to get known.

And it’s going to be hard.

When you introduce yourself to a new acquaintance as a photographer, odds are good they’ll respond with “Oh, my cousin’s sister’s dog is also a photographer” {and they’re so much cheaper so the new contact isn’t interested in booking with you}

And this will hurt. But you have to realize that unless you’re charging a living wage for yourself you will never get the kind of clients that will actually let you make it in this industry as a business. You CAN’T compete and price match the “cousin’s sister’s dog” and expect to have a business that actually makes you enough money to not need to work some other full time job.

Not everyone with kids will be your client. Not everyone with ‘money’ will be your client. Not everyone will value your work at the price point you set.   Just starting out, this can be scary as you’ll be tempted to devalue your time and your work and your self to price match that dog to try and bring in clients.

But you won’t be bringing in income if you do this.  Instead, you’ll be losing money.  And sanity.  You will be getting clients that will expect Mercedes Benz work and customer service at the price of a used Saturn that needs new tires.

So what do you do?   Start here: a pricing discussion for those just starting out.

And then you need to decide what you’re worth, what your business goals are… and how you can reach those goals with ACTIVE marketing beyond Facebook and Instagram.

 Do you have a photography business question? ASK it! 
Client issue? Need a second opinion on what to do? ASK it!
Email and get an answer! 
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