Landscape and travel photography marketing is one area that photographers often find particularly hard. But if you want your photography business to grow, you have to know how to market yourself and your work.
When discussing work with my colleagues, a question that almost always comes up is: “How did he or she get that job?” In a word: marketing.
I talk about two major points in my photography marketing workshops.
Marketing in a Nutshell
The first point is that your photography skill level is often of little importance when it comes to your marketing. The best photographers often don’t end up with the best jobs; this has more to do with the photographer’s marketing skills. If the right people don’t see your work, it doesn’t matter how good it is.
The second most important point I discuss in my courses is to not believe the hype of other photographers. Follow your own path. Don’t compare your journey to that of someone else, as it will lead to disappointment. This doesn’t mean shouldn’t admire other photographers or let their work inspire you—it’s about not entering into a private battle for success.
So here are 7 pointers to improve your photography marketing. These are strategies that I have used for many years to get new clients and keep existing ones.
I’m going to kick off with social media. It’s the option discussed most often when it comes to marketing your photography.
There is a belief that social media is the key to success; I no longer believe that it is. That is, unless you are one of the few travel photographers who already have hundreds of thousands of followers.
But you can still use social media for some moderate success. The usual tips you hear about are to post and interact with other users. But I’ve found these methods to be far more successful:
- Only post your best work
- Tag brands and companies that you think will benefit from seeing what you are posting
- Interact with potential client accounts (i.e tourists boards, hotels, guide books etc) that will appreciate your work.
- Approach companies that you see advertising on social platforms directly. Provided they are a brand or product that would benefit from your skills.
- Try to produce fresh and original content that hasn’t already been seen a thousand times before.
Pitch Ideas to Magazines & Blogs
Another option is to come up with new ideas or unique topics, and pitch those ideas to magazines. The key is to target publications that you would like to work with and would most appreciate your idea. Most magazines would prefer a complete piece of written and visual content, so it helps if you are able to write well.
In the past, I’ve teamed up with a writer to produce the copy, but with budgets getting tighter this isn’t always possible.
Most people only approach publications in their country, but don’t be afraid to submit to foreign publications as well. They often have an English site and are happy to translate the piece if it is good enough.
Set Goals and Objectives
Set yourself a clear set of goals and objectives, and outline how you plan to achieve them. A business plan is a good start, but I tell my photography marketing students to produce a creative business plan as well. This helps keep your creativity and vision on track when things around you get a little hectic.
5 E-Mails Per Day
This is an approach I discuss in great detail in my workshops. It has been one of my most successful techniques over the years. Whilst it’s not always possible once business picks up, it is always worth keeping up; for those travel photographers who starting their business or looking to grow it further, it has proven very effective.
The technique is to email 5 companies that you would like to work with every day and pitch your services. Of course, it’s important that you’re approaching the correct companies and have put together a great pitch, but once you get it dialed in, work will start to flow. If your first attempt doesn’t get any responses, experiment with slightly different pitches until you hit on something that works.
Once you have a client, it’s important that you keep them. Build a relationship with them. This means keeping in touch at regular intervals to see if they need anything else. Send a Christmas card or even a bottle of wine for a good client. One trick I have used is to send a framed print of my work to them. This means that I am always on the wall of their office or their home to remind them of our working relationship.
This type of personal connection is dying, but it’s still incredibly valued by many people, and keeps you at the forefront of their mind for the next job. As a bonus, building a personal connection with a client makes it harder for them to justify playing hard-ball with you on price.
Produce a Brochure
Many prospective clients receive tons of speculative emails looking for work, so you need to make sure your pitch stands out from the crowd. A lovely e-brochure looks much more professional than a form email. This is something that is often overlooked by people in landscape and travel photography.
Trade Shows and Events
In the UK alone, there are tons of yearly travel market shows. Add in Europe, the USA and Asia, and you are looking at hundreds of opportunities to shake hands and make connections. Of the 195 sovereign states in the world, you can probably find at least 100 tourist boards that have a stand at any given major event.
You need to get yourself down to your local travel expo and pitch your work in person. If you plan ahead, you can often arrange a meeting with someone in advance, allowing you to make a personal connection and use your time at the show more wisely.
Make sure to research your potential clients and tailor your pitch to their individual needs. Have your brochure or literature and business card with you at all times. This is a very important and a fantastic tool for marketing yourself.
About the author: Jordan Banks is a full time travel & location photographer with over 20 years experience shooting high end content for both editorial and commercial clients. You can find information about his work and workshops on his website, or by following him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This post was also published here, and is being republished with permission.