It’s every photographer’s dream: to have a steady stream of clients who value their artistic vision and are happy to pay profitable prices.
You’re less stressed about making ends meet and paying bills because your clients know you’re worth your higher prices. Fashion photography is considered to be the most glamorous and better-paid genre of photography.
At times this can be true, but it’s important to say that if you’re in it for these reasons, you may be in for a bit of a shock. You have the freedom to shoot the type of photography you enjoy most rather than taking any job you can get.
Your clients trust your artistic vision, so you can do more of what you love without worrying about unhappy clients. If you’re still struggling to get enough clients, know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can do several specific things to get more clients that love your work and don’t complain about your prices. You’ll be put down more times in the fashion industry than you’ll be picked up in this industry called fashion.
If you believe in yourself and your work, create a unique style of your own; someone somewhere will give you a chance.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Find Your Clients
- 1.1 Understand Your Ideal Client
- 1.2 Ask For Introductions
- 1.3 Grow Together
- 1.4 Portfolio Work
- 1.5 Create A Website That Brings In Inquiries
- 1.6 Understand How Clients Make Decisions
- 1.7 Your Ideal Client
- 1.8 Collect Your Clients
- 1.9 Work With Good Models.
- 1.10 Go Above And Beyond To Get People Talking
- 1.11 Your Network Is #1
- 1.12 Get More People To Hear About You
- 1.13 Browse Instagram For Local Brands
- 1.14 Get Out There
- 2 Conclusion
How To Find Your Clients
Not all of us are going to be world-famous, but what’s wrong with that. Keep your goals realistic, and you have no idea where it could take you! Here are some helpful tips for those of you budding fashion photographers out there.
Understand Your Ideal Client
The more clearly you understand precisely who you want to work with, the easier it will be to get them to hire you. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and think about their lives.
- Where do they shop?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What websites do they frequent?
These questions are just a starting point. The better you can understand your ideal client and their lives, the more effective your marketing will be.
To be effective, your marketing strategy should be based entirely on who your perfect client is.
What works for one client type will be very different from what works with other types of clients.
For example, how you market newborn photography should be entirely different from how you sell headshots for CEOs because you are trying to attract two very different types of clients.
When you understand your ideal client inside and out, you can create a marketing plan that makes them feel like you completely understand their needs.
This makes them much more likely to book you.
Ask For Introductions
One of the quickest ways you can find your first client could be through someone you already know.
We hear it all the time: It comes down to who you know! Well, it’s true.
No word of a lie; being introduced to someone when you‘re trying to get your first few clients is far easier than anything else.
So think: do you know anyone who might know people who they think you could be helpful towards?
We guarantee that you do. Grab a pen and paper, and begin to write down everyone you feel could introduce you to someone.
It might be as easy as asking your parents who they know.
Then, all you have to do is get in touch with them and ask.
Meet with ad agencies, other photographers who are further along in their careers than you, stylists, art directors, etc.
Don‘t be shy about asking your circle of immediate family or friends. It could open so many more doors than you would have thought.
It’s easier for stylists to work with a styling letter because they can rent better brands/clothes at PR agencies instead of shopping for all the stores’ clothes.
Maybe you can find stylists that are on the same level as you so that you can grow together.
They can rent clothes from brands they know or buy the clothes at the stores and return them after the shoot.
It is so important to find team members with the same style and mindset so that you can help each other.
Not only to create beautiful editorials together for your portfolio’s but also to introduce each other to clients.
Work with a creative team to create beautiful editorials to extend your portfolio without earning any money.
Doing a lot of portfolio work is essential to discover your style and create an exciting portfolio for your future clients.
Sometimes people don’t understand why we are working for free, but we just do what we love!
The best thing about this kind of shoot is that you can create what you want because there is no client set to tell you what to do.
Create A Website That Brings In Inquiries
Your photography website is a helpful marketing tool that many photographers take for granted.
Your virtual storefront is where clients form their first impression and decide whether they’ll hire you or someone else.
You need to be intentional about how your website is structured to turn more visitors into inquiries.
If you only blog client sessions, show your portfolio and have a contact page on your site, you’re losing questions you could be getting otherwise.
Understand How Clients Make Decisions
If you don’t understand how clients decide who to hire, you may be unintentionally turning away clients who might have loved working with you.
When you know how clients choose a photographer, you can adjust your marketing message to make sure you’re giving them the information they need to make the right decision about working with you.
You’ll attract the kinds of clients you want to work with, and you’ll repel the types of clients that don’t value you and are stressful to work with.
For example, if you educate your client about what to look for in a photographer, they’re going to see you as an authority.
They’ll be thankful that you helped them understand how to make an informed decision, making them more likely to choose you when they’re ready to select a photographer than someone else who hasn’t helped them in any way.
Your Ideal Client
Write down what your ideal client would look like.
Maybe you like to shoot for fashion designers, webshops, or you want to open a portrait studio where you make beautiful portraits of all kinds of people or your preferred weddings.
The next step is to find out where they are located and how to reach them, write a good and personal email or give them a call and follow them on social media.
Tell or note them who you are but mainly what you can do for them. People are more interested to hear what is in it for them, so don’t make your talk about yourself too long.
If they don’t have a job for you the first time, they will remember your name next time they search for a photographer.
Make sure your website is up-to-date and update your social media daily or a few times a week with new work or a personal update.
Collect Your Clients
Create a list of the clients you would love to work with. Write brands/stores/designers an email to tell them what you do and possibilities for collaboration.
You’d discover new brands on Instagram by walking in the shopping streets and reading other blogs and websites.
Work With Good Models.
A model can make or break your photos! You can send an email to the modelling agency with a link to your website together with a bit of introduction about yourself and ask for models who need to extend their portfolio as well.
You can work with them for free because they are pleased with your good pictures!
Go Above And Beyond To Get People Talking
When someone hasn’t hired a photographer before, it can be overwhelming to decide who to hire.
People trust friends and family’s opinions, so they look to them when deciding on a photographer.
People are much more likely to book you if they know that a friend or family member had a positive experience with you.
When you go above and beyond to create a remarkable experience for your clients, they’ll be happy to recommend you when they know someone is looking for a photographer.
Your Network Is #1
The most important thing in photography is your network. Even think that your network is more important than your photography skills.
Of course, you need to be a good photographer, but a fantastic portfolio without knowing anybody in the industry makes it very hard to be a working professional.
Also, be kind to other photographers and ask them about their experience; I’m sure all photographers have the same doubts.
Maybe when they cannot do a job, they will give your name, and the job is for you. Your network is more extensive than you first think!
Once you‘ve got a bit of a network, it‘s time for you to start using it efficiently. How do you do that?
First of all, keep a database of everyone you know, how you know them, what they do, their contact information, and when you last contacted them.
This is key! If you don‘t keep track of who you know, you‘ll forget about someone. Even someone who you think is fantastic to understand; they‘ll get forgotten about. To create that database.
Once you‘ve got your database set up, start to check in with them every couple of months.
You aim to stay in front of your mind. Send an email to people every 3-6 months, depending on who they are and what they do.
If you know them personally, it‘s generally a quick catch up, an update on my last few months, sharing some work, and asking how they are.
Always ask them if they think there‘s anyone they know that you should be introduced to.
If you don‘t know them personally, and they‘re more of a business contact, do something similar, but be more mindful of how many times a year you email them and what you ask.
Our goal as business owners should ALWAYS be to try and get repeat clients. It‘s far easier to work with someone who knows you already than to try and get a whole new client.
Another way you can use your client network is to ask them to refer you to anyone they think would also like your services.
If you had a good time working with them and wanted the work you did, there is no harm in sending your client an email asking them if they know anyone they think would also like to work with you.
Sometimes they don‘t, and that’s ok, they‘ll just tell you that they don‘t know anyone.
But sometimes, they do know someone, and they‘ll send an email introduction. That is a golden way to get work as a fashion photographer.
Get More People To Hear About You
Fantastic photos aren’t enough to get you, clients if nobody sees them.
Word of mouth advertising is a great way to get new clients, but it’s limited by the number of clients you have. You need more people to hear about your business so they can hire you.
Here are a few ways to get people to hear about you:
Optimise Your Website To Show Up In Search Results.
Many people look for photographers by looking them up in a search engine.
The better you understand how search engines display results, the more likely you’ll be able to show up at the top of the list.
When you build relationships with vendors, businesses, and other photographers, you’ll be the person they rave about when prospective clients ask them for recommendations.
Social media is powerful if used in the right way. Each platform has a different purpose, so you have to understand their differences and what works best on each one to make sure that you’re not just wasting your time.
Unless you know precisely what you are doing, paid ads are generally a waste of money.
That being said, paid ads can bring in many clients for very little money when you understand how to create ads that appeal to your client and how to make sure only your ideal client sees them.
Browse Instagram For Local Brands
On Instagram, the app we love to hate but cannot live without! We can‘t ignore that -currently- it’s the number one platform for photographers to be on.
It‘s where everyone is looking, all the time. The app continues to grow faster day by day. Guess what? That‘s great news because it means that your ideal client is on there!
One of the quickest ways you can get your first client is literally by picking up your phone, searching the Geotag of your town/local area, and browsing what boutiques/brands are in your area.
Follow the ones which resonate with you and feel like a good fit, and begin to engage with them! Leave them some comments, watch their stories and reply to the odd one here and there.
After a week or two of engaging (honestly and authentically – don‘t be comment just for comment’s sake – that looks spammy), find their email address (it’s probably in their Bio, or on their website – if not, ask them for it in a DM) and introduce yourself!
Tell them about your work, what you love about the brand/shop and that you‘d love to help them out with photography. Trust me; if you don‘t ask, you don‘t get.
Get Out There
The person behind the ‘brand’ makes it even more personal. When you start to see photography as a business and a brand, it starts to grow.
Don’t be afraid to show yourself or tell a little bit more about your love for photography on the about page on your website or your social media channels.
Maybe you don’t understand why this can be important to find paid jobs, but the client is hiring you for a big job and a long day and they want to know who you are, or what you look like (are you friendly and pleasant to work with all day?) and what your style is.
When you apply these tips to your business, you’ll get better clients and more of them. You’ll be able to charge profitable prices and only work with the clients you want.
However, there’s one mistake that guarantees all your efforts will fail. It can be hard to find time to focus on marketing when there are so many other things to do in your business, but if you don’t take the time to do any marketing, you won’t see results.
Creating a marketing plan helps to ensure you set aside time to put these marketing strategies into practice.
The marketing plan outlines what you plan to do and gives a game plan to reach your goals. It helps you decide exactly when you’ll be doing each task so you can schedule a time to work on marketing.
To make sure your marketing plan attracts the clients you want, it must be customised to your ideal client and market.
Treating yourself as a business is something you may not have thought of; however, as a freelance fashion photographer, this is precisely what you are! The most fundamental part of your marketing is showing what you can do.
This can only be done by producing work. So you must arrange your shoots as often as you can when starting. By making work you can begin marketing yourself.