Print advertising is a thing of the past… right? Not exactly. Print ads can still be an excellent way to get your name out there and draw in business. Given that this is likely one of the most expensive forms of marketing (next to the exhibition, of course), you want to make sure you do it right.
It is very important to make sure you are going after your target audience with your advertising. When placing your ads, make sure they are in speciality or trade publications. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you are a wedding photographer based in Atlanta. Placing an ad for your services in the local paper isn’t a bad idea, but it is seen by a very broad audience and many readers won’t necessarily take note of the ad. Putting an ad in Atlanta Wedding Magazine, however, will likely be more successful in generating leads and actual work.
There is also the issue of print quality to consider. If you place an ad in a local newspaper, it will likely have to be black and white and any images you use will be heavily distorted by the low quality paper and ink. A magazine will allow you more options for image selection as they use higher quality paper and it will likely be in color. That being said, newspaper ads will be significantly cheaper than a magazine ad of the same size.
Finally, be sure to track your expenses in comparison to the number of new leads you get. Don’t just throw money at it and hope for the best. Be smart, run the numbers, and test different publications to ensure you get your money’s worth.
Exhibitions are a great way to get your work seen in a local community and also offers you the opportunity to sell prints on-site. So while this is realistically one of the most expensive forms of marketing you can do, it also offers the opportunity for immediate returns.
Planning your own exhibit can take a lot so here’s a basic break-down of the steps you’ll need to take.
- Select the work you wish to display. Consider how the photos relate to one another. You shouldn’t show a bright, colorful photo of a county fair right next to a black and white landscape next to a portrait of a grungy musician. You’re putting on a show and thus there should be a narrative or underlying theme.
- Set a budget. This needs to factor in money for prints/media, venue rental, food/drinks, marketing material, and transportation costs.
- Choose a printer. Look at your options both locally and online. You aren’t on a deadline yet so if you can save money and/or get better quality from a printer across the county and just have them shipped, do it.
- The Venue. This is a big step as it puts you on a deadline. Start your search online– reading reviews, looking at pricing, and checking for available dates. Then go visit the venue in person. It’s important to have a real idea of the space you’ll be working with. Remember: the space should fit your work, not the other way around. When you’ve found the right place, book it. Be sure to get a receipt, a copy of the terms and conditions, and a floor plan.
- Logistics. You have to get your images from your home/studio to the venue and back. You also have to get the food and drinks to the venue. If you have a car or truck, make sure you can safely transport everything (no broken glass on arrival!) and then figure out how many trips it will take you to get it all done. If you can swing it in the budget, consider renting a UHAUL (or something similar). It will save time and is often cheaper when you factor in gas as you’ll only have to make one trip each way to move it all in a car.
- Marketing. Yes, you have to market your marketing. Make sure you look at your target audience. Your friends and family are support, not the target. They’ll come if you ask and that’s great, but you really need to look for people who might buy or further promote your work. Use the social media network you have established, put up flyers in your local coffee shops, reach out to any and all media outlets who might be interested in coming, and ask the venue if they have a marketing list. Invite more people than the venue can hold because, on average, only a third of the people you reach out to will actually make it to the event.
- Once there, have business cards on hand as well as a short intro you can use when talking to people about your work. You are a not just the artist at this event, you are a sales person too.
We hope this helps you get started. Planning an event can be stressful to those who are new to it, but the pay-off, in both sales and publicity, is well worth it.
Entering a competition is a great way to get your image(s) seen and entering is not difficult. A quick Google search will bring up a lengthy list of contests from National Geographic to your local photography societies. You can then narrow these options down based on entry fees, location, content, and the like. While some contests offer cash, equipment, trips, etc. to winners, don’t let that be the deciding factor in entry. Winning a smaller contest is not only something to be proud of, but offers a great opportunity for promoting yourself through a respected photography source.
If you’re less confident in your work, this will serve as a great way to receive constructive criticism. If you’re serious about making photography a career, it is important to be able to accept and use these critiques to become better. So put yourself out there. Worst case scenario, you gain exposure in the photography community and learn how to improve your work. Best case scenario, National Geographic thinks you’re the next big thing.
The internet is great tool, but it’s also something of a vast abyss. If you’re trying to build a following in your local market, it is important to get out there and shake some hands. Go to an exhibit or a local art show and pass out your business cards. Don’t just target potential clients either. Building relationships with other photographers and artists is a great way to get referrals. No matter what type of work you do (events, landscape, etc.), being a known part of the local art community is a great way to build your reputation and brand.
An important thing to remember, however, is that you are there to make connections, not sell photos/book shoots. Don’t hijack someone else’s show. Simply engage people in conversations about the art and photography and exchange cards for later contact.
If you need a little inspiration for designing your card, try this awesome article from Photojojo.
As always, visit our website or give us a call at 1-888-756-5447when the jobs start rolling in.
Have you ever bought something online? Textbooks or a minor repair kit for your smartphone screen, perhaps? How much research did you do prior to check-out? It’s easy enough to pull a scam on the Internet and this makes people hesitant to purchase. That is why testimonials are a smart addition to your portfolio site. Like checking seller reviews on Amazon, people just want some reassurance.
Adding testimonials is simple enough– all it takes is contacting former clients (or waiting until after your next job) and asking if they would mind giving a brief two or three sentences about their experience with you. Then, add their comments as a side bar in your gallery. You can, of course, allow people to say as much as a few paragraphs and have the testimonials on a separate page of your site, but that’s a personal preference.
As the expression goes, “our clients are our best advertising”, so don’t hesitate to use them. And to ensure they’ll be satisfied, make sure you give them the best quality prints available without breaking the bank by visiting our site or giving us a call at 1-888-756-5447.
In our previous post, we discussed the importance of having a portfolio site. This is a site that shows the very best of your work, but a blog is also a great addition to this site.
It is less formal and allows you to keep something of a running journal of current projects. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple WordPress (or Blogger or Tumblr, etc.). Blogs require less upkeep than most people think and most major sites have mobile apps which make it even easier to update when on location.
In regards to attracting clients, a blog allows people to see your process and get a feel for you as person. Blogs, unlike Facebook or Twitter, allow you to go into much more detail about jobs or ideas you may have. You can post behind-the-scenes shots, before-and-afters for editing, and sketches or short essays about project ideas you might have. By allowing people to see more of the creative process, they will feel more comfortable in reaching out to you with work.
Finally, you can interact with other photographers online and develop a network of professional contacts.
As always, visit our website to learn how we can fulfill all of your printing needs when the jobs start rolling in.
People like to see what they’re buying, simple as that. Having a portfolio site allows people to see samples of your work and get an impression of you as an artist before ever meeting you.
Website Formatting: The site should be very simple in design as it is there to highlight your photos, not HTML skills. You don’t want some elaborate background distracting the visitor (and potential client) from your work. As a starting point, the site should include the following pages: ABOUT, GALLERY, and CONTACT. You can, of course, add pages like SHOP and BLOG and different categories of work (i.e. Commercial, Travel, Wedding, etc.), but the first three are absolutely critical.
- The ABOUT section should be a short bio about yourself as a professional. You can include details like your hometown, family, etc., but keep those parts brief. You should primarily focus on things like education and experience.
- The GALLERY should show your best work. It doesn’t need to be a chronicle of every job you’ve ever done. It should feature the highlights and exemplify the diversity of your portfolio.
- The CONTACT page is pretty straight forward– list every way they can get in touch with you. While you should have links to your social media sites on every page, emphasize them here.
If you don’t have experience with making websites, don’t panic. There are lots of online resources to help you. Click here for an overview of some of the most commonly used sites.
As always, be sure to visit our site or give us a call at 1-888-756-5447 for all of your printing needs as the jobs start rolling in.