We all have to start somewhere when starting out in any industry, and it can be hard to not only get your foot in the door, but also have the confidence to back it up. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given by a fellow photographer was to just be myself. I decided to embrace myself, my story and the unique perspective I was able to give to my audience. You can read my blog on dealing with imposter syndrome here, which goes into more detail.
Once you’ve done the talented part and created some stunning creative photography; the hard part is marketing yourself, especially when you are a newbie. Credibility attracts followers and more importantly clients, but it can be quite daunting stepping into the unknown between starting out and gaining the trust of clients. But there are four themes I would stick to gain credibility and they evolve around authenticity, transparency, being helpful and getting your work featured.
If you’re not sure on where to start in order to establish credibility as a newer photographer, here are some ideas:
The first most compelling action we should do is showcase who we are. Start with the photo you choose to display first on your website. Have the first photo people see of you be camera aware; make sure you’re making eye contact and connecting with your audience. It shouldn’t be a photo of you holding a camera to your face, looking off, pretending to take a photo; it should be a photo of you looking at the camera; making your audience trust you. Eye contact is such an important thing whether that be in real life or online. Next, show up on social media. If your ideal client is on Instagram (they probably are if you’re a photographer), show up on Reels, Stories, and IGTV. Video content is where it’s at these days! Showing up in video format will allow your clients to get to know you and it will increase that know, like, and trust factor.
Have your work featured in magazines and online sites. You can then show badges of the magazines you’ve been featured in by displaying them on your website (like I’ve done on my wedding photography website here). This also gets other websites and platforms linking back to your site and again opens you up to being seen by a bigger audience.
Gather testimonials and reviews from clients, editors, stylists or other professionals you’ve worked with. Asking for honest feedback is really beneficial if given as constructive criticism, which you can make improvements on. Then their testimonials can be showcased on your website. You don’t need millions; be selective and choose 2-3 main standout quotes. Powerful, genuine testimonials could be the last persuasion needed for a client to move forward with you.
Enter your work into competitions. Entering with personal projects is a great way to not only gain exposure but also potentially opening up doors to new clients. I always recommend shooting personal projects, as it’s a way to develop your style (with no outside pressure). Competitions can give you themes to work with if you’re stuck for inspiration. Winning awards, even if it’s an honorary mention, will look great on your website to build your credibility.
This not only gives you the opportunity to connect with people, but also portrays you like an expert. Writing helpful articles around location hunting, equipment, shooting weddings, and client education can be used as blog material on your website and shortened down to be used on social media. It also helps if they can be correctly written with SEO optimization in mind. This makes people feel like they can trust you and can lead into potential bookings. Open up the dialogue with your followers. You could also do this on Instagram via IGTV (video), Reels, asking questions and giving answers.
Show a starting price for different packages; don’t force people to dig for it, it’s not a good user experience. If you want to increase the number of prequalified leads, put a starting price on your “info” or “investment” page and increase the chances that someone who can afford your services will actually reach out. Having as much clear and concise information as quickly as possible on your website could be the tipping point for someone to book with you.
Be transparent in all communication with your clients. You need to be clear and professional at all times. Convey on your website how easy a shoot would flow with you and demonstrate your desire to create beautiful photos for people. Be easy to work with from the get go. People will be more likely to recommend you if they feel working with you was a positive experience and the workflow is smooth.
‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’ – Oscar Wilde
Hello there! I'm Alex! I teach hobbyist photographers how to take better photos and professional photographers how to build a thriving business. Here I share tips and resources to help you grow. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!