Mar 28, 2022 | 9 min read

5 Clever marketing tips for photographers

You’ve always had an interest in taking pictures, but now you’re planning on turning your hobby into a business. As you begin crafting your photography business plan, think of how you’ll attract new customers to your business. To start crafting a brand that can be discovered, you’ll need to focus on your marketing efforts that help bring in potential clients. 

The good news is, you’re not alone. For many people, marketing a business, especially a new business, is fraught with anxiety and indecision. Should you invest more time into your social media marketing strategy or focus your attention on word-of-mouth marketing and building your email list?

If you are looking to attract new customers to your small business, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll discover a few clever photography marketing tips to get your photography business off the ground and attract more happy clients. 

Tip #1: Stun with social media

Many photographers and other small business owners use social media platforms to market their brand. Not only does social media marketing give you another outlet to showcase your work, but it also greatly increases exposure.

That said, although many photographers have a large social media platform presence, they may not be utilizing their social platforms in the most effective ways.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to craft the perfect marketing strategy.

Emphasize emotion

Although some people come to social platforms purely for business reasons, others are attracted to them because of the emotional response they get when scrolling through each image and post. 

To emphasize emotion and capture your ideal client audience with each and every post, consider doing the following:

  • Stick to a consistent theme and vision
  • Post your most breathtaking content
  • Utilize both traditional photography and video

While art can incite emotion in a variety of different ways, the key is to inspire your ideal client with positive emotion. Posting content that induces feelings of anxiety or stress might not be the best way to keep followers coming back to your page.  

Let hashtags (and other tags) help expand your reach

In the world of social media, hashtags are an invaluable tool. This is because they function as navigation devices, helping you get in front of prospective clients who are already searching for content relevant to your business. Hashtags help organize your posts so that a wide audience may be able to find them.

For instance, suppose you’re a burgeoning landscape photographer working in Wyoming and updating your social media accounts with photographs of the expansive local landscape. 

Rather than simply posting your photo with a short description, adding a hashtag such as #WildWyomingPhotos will enable those interested in Wyoming landscape photography to quickly find your professional photography business.

When developing your hashtag strategy, consider including a few from different categories such as:

  • Industry and niche hashtags
  • Location hashtags
  • Celebration hashtags
  • Branded hashtags

In addition to hashtags, you might also consider tagging friends, family members, organizations, interest groups, and other businesses in your photos. This may encourage sharing across a number of pages, thereby boosting your overall engagement.

Utilize all the platform’s capabilities

Although most social media platforms were created for a single purpose, that purpose has expanded over time. If you are wondering how to get photography clients, then use all that social media has to offer. For instance, even though some social media apps were created primarily for photo sharing, you can now upload pre-recorded videos or connect with followers via a live stream. These new capabilities give you new avenues through which to market your business.

Here are a few other ideas to consider:

    • Expand your reach by sharing across a variety of platforms – Almost all social media platforms have options that allow you to post photos. The more platforms you post on, the more eyes that will come across your business.

    • Create a video series and take followers behind the scenes of photoshoots – This “behind-the-scenes” tactic adds a human element to your brand. Customers want to feel connected, so the more you can include them in your day-to-day, the more clients you will attract and retain.

    • Post a “micro-essay” that tells the story of your journey in the photography business – Providing more information about your business and how you got started will help clients understand your goals and vision. This will help attract prospective clients who feel as though they can connect with you.

    • Create a photo series featuring a popular subject – This is a great way to show off your successes. Think of one of your best projects or popular photo subject and show off your great work! 

In short, the more creative you are on social media, the more likely your photos will reach a diverse audience.

REAL BUSINESS EXAMPLE: Located in Greenville, SC, Josh Wilson Photography is a small-time business that uses social media in a big, creative way. Their social media page includes photos and videos that appeal to followers through a romantic aesthetic and taps into relevant hashtags to help make new connections with their target audience. 

Tip #2: Network, network, network

It’s almost always advantageous to increase your networking strategy. But this doesn't mean only networking with other photographers. Instead, network with individuals and businesses both inside and outside of the industry.

For instance, suppose you’re a commercial real estate photographer based in Scranton. You may opt to network with fellow commercial photographers in upstate Pennsylvania or you could broaden your business’s reach by networking with real estate industry professionals such as realtors, brokers, or real estate publications. Offering to photograph properties for their listings could not only land you a new client but could provide a stepping stone into their own network of home buyers and sellers. 

For many people, an effective way to network is to schedule meet-ups with relevant contacts. Consider arranging a meeting or attending events with the following:

  • Artist collectives
  • Chamber of Commerce groups
  • Young professional groups
  • Alumni groups 
  • Trade publication editors

But remember that networking doesn’t end after the first point of contact has been made. Instead, continue to grow your relationships by reaching out to them over the next several months. To this extent, Nextdoor can really help.

A leader in connecting small businesses with their neighborhoods, Nextdoor makes it possible to build strong online relationships with neighbors near your business. To get started, claim a Business Page. Then, update your profile with essential business information, such as services, operating hours, contact information, and a mission statement.

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Tip #3: Boost engagement by blogging

For most photography businesses, simply posting outstanding pictures isn’t enough. They also maintain blogs that provide clients with valuable information and offer their business increased visibility on search engines. 

Maintaining a blog comes with many benefits. Not only do they help keep current clients updated about your business, but they can also entice potential clients who may not have been searching for a photographer originally.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you might consider keeping a blog that covers a variety of different wedding-related topics. This way, you can reach audiences who may not necessarily need a wedding photographer, but who are, nevertheless, interested in wedding planning. If they find your content useful and memorable, chances are, they’ll be more likely to think of your services when their big day comes.

REAL BUSINESS EXAMPLE: Naperville, Illinois’s Leslie Lemons Real Estate Photography is a local business that understands a good blog’s marketing potential. Their blog - which can be found on their website - discusses everything from trends in real estate photography to the benefits of hiring a real estate photographer. Do some research to find out some of the current hot topics in the photography world and consider framing your next blog posts around them. 

Tip #4: Get creative with giveaways

Most people love promotions, contests, and giveaways. Excite your community by offering chances to win free photoshoots. Or, consider running a photo-themed contest. Whatever you decide, marketing through promotions can really help take your marketing strategy to the next level. 

Examples of creative promotions include:

  • Photo-caption contests
  • Discounted photoshoots for referrals
  • Special limited-time offers during the holiday season
  • Buy one photoshoot, get another half-off 

In general, when it comes to giveaways, the more creative you can be, the better. Offering an exciting, unique promotion or contest can help raise awareness for your brand and encourage your followers to join in on the fun. 

Tip #5: Build your email list

Building a strong email list is another fantastic way to market your photography business. Once you’ve acquired an email list, you can easily keep current and potential clients apprised of what’s going on with your business. You can also use email to inform clients about trends in the photography industry, as well as discounts and promotions you’re offering.

To effectively market through email, consider doing the following:

  • Differentiate your emails – When it comes to email marketing, a one-size-fits-all model rarely does the trick. Instead, send different emails based on the type of clients you’re trying to reach. For instance, if a new client subscribes to your email list, greet them with a “Welcome” email containing an “About” section and a list of services. For long-subscribing clients, consider sending routine “Check-in” emails or a monthly newsletter. You can also send holiday-themed emails offering limited-time, seasonal deals. 

  • Keep the tone consistent – Regardless of email type, it’s important to keep a consistent tone across all of your email campaigns. If your photography business sports a carefree, chic attitude, for example, construct your emails so that this tone shines through. Your brand voice should help build familiarity with the audience you’re interacting with. 

  • Keep content engaging – Let’s face it: most people receive tons of emails throughout the day. Make your emails stand out by incorporating exciting content into each one. As stated above, promotions and contests are savvy ways of keeping clients engaged with your brand. However, don’t underestimate the power of an enticing subject line. In order for your audience to benefit from the promotions you’re offering, they’ll first need a reason to open the email itself. 

When it comes to marketing photography, a strong email list could be the tool your business needs to maximize profits and foster long-lasting relationships with your clients. 

Clever marketing starts with Nextdoor

For many new businesses, marketing is an essential, yet ever-evolving process. What are the best avenues through which to reach your audience? How can you be sure your brand stays relevant?

Fortunately, there’s a simple answer to questions such as these: Nextdoor. By claiming your Business Page, you’ll be able to reach nearby neighbors who are eager to support and recommend small businesses. With Business Posts, you’ll be able to engage with neighbors to get a sense of their photography needs and identify any trends. Nextdoor makes it possible for your photography to reach those who matter most—your local community.

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Blue Fountain Media. 10 Advantages of Social Media Marketing for Your Business.

Instagram. Josh Wilson Photography Homepage.

Leslie Lemons Real Estate Photography. Homepage.

Socialnomics. Importance of Hashtags in Social Media Marketing.

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Author image Nextdoor Editorial Team At Nextdoor, we love local. The Nextdoor Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of local businesses, providing product education, and sharing marketing best practices to help businesses grow.