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Hey, All - I was very fortunate, as a part-time photographer with a full-time job, to have worked 40 events in 2017 (5 volunteer). I have a website, got found in 2017 by Internet search (6), responded to Craigslist (3), and the rest were either through Thumbtack, Smartshoot, or regular clients.

At the end of July, I will be retiring from full-time work (early, I am lucky and fortunate to say), and with that I will be looking to increase my business just a bit. If I could get to 4 jobs per month after retiring, I will be very, very happy.

This year hasn't been so busy thus far, just one gig at the end of January, and only two booked for February. I know stuff will be coming along from my three "regulars", but it is pretty slow right now.

Any advice or suggestions as to how to throw out a wider net and get more business? I have been emailing past corporate clients, telling them I have now added on-site head shot photography (way to touch base with them as well). I've heard back from a couple, but nothing concrete.

Around here in Boston, at least what I can see from Thumbtack, the type of stuff I do is (corporate events) VERY competitive. So if I step up my marketing, I would have to somehow stand out a bit.



  • SkipperlangeSkipperlange Member
    edited February 2018
    I think word of mouth and networking is the best -- once you get enough clients that word will begin spreading as business people seek recommendations from their colleagues and friends.

    I'd get a Facebook page if you haven't already. But make sure it looks good and make sure you update it often. Ask your FB friends to "like" your page so that they see your posts. Use FB as much as possible as it reaches so many people and is free if you don't advertise.

    But I think FB advertising would be worth a try too. You can target your audience for that and set a budget you do not want to exceed. If it doesn't seem to drum up business you can abandon it. Definitely get business cards as people will expect that and you can hand them out at every opportunity. I wouldn't bother with traditional advertising like post cards and print ads.

    Not sure that's worth the cost anymore. (I use post cards for high school seniors and that is effective but I think it's one of the few areas where they are -- as they go directly to the people I know need photos -- high school seniors.) I'd join any professional groups in your area like PPAM, professional photographers of Mass., they have a good annual conference (it might be in February) and other resources.

    If you need to do some free or very low cost headshots and events to get a nice portfolio going, do that. But don't start doing free stuff just to "get your name out there" or get "exposure". That does not lead to work. I am not a fan of emailing anyone, even past clients. I hate getting advertising emails from anyone even if I've done business with them.

    Just my preference but I think you run the risk of alienating potential clients if you email them. Don't try to disguise email ads as special announcements or some other name or gimmick that's trying to dress up an ad. I will say that since you did 40 events last year, when you do make this career switch and go full time I think one email to all your past clients saying you are now full time would be OK but no more after that.

    I would not ask them to refer clients -- I don't think that looks good. I'd just announce that Dbruno is now a full time photographer and looking forward to working with them again, blah, blah..... 
  • Skip - I think a lot of this is great advice, and I thank you for taking the time to write it all down.

    I've done the no-cost/low-cost head shots, and have a good number of samples from the few companies I've worked with; I Never ask for a referral, and I even shy away from asking for reviews for Thumbtack (and they strongly suggest it); I've done some low-cost/no-cost events for exposure early on, and it did lead to a few jobs, but not a lot; I have business cards, hand them out, and attach the image to my emails; I will keeo in mind what you wrote about emailing past clients.

    As far as FB, I think I'm going to wait until July, and then look into it. I know, from this forum, there can be issues with it, but that's all I recall.

    Again, many thanks - Dave
  • You're welcome. Good luck. I think you're smart to look critically at FB and look at the pros and cons. I do think it's a useful tool for marketing and more but, I agree, you need to do it right and use it wisely.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I briefly tried Thumbtack, but it really seems geared towards a clientele that wants the cheapest. 

    As SkipperLange said, word of mouth is still the best. 

    Try your local Chamber of Commerce, or any similar local networking group. Also look at BNI (though it can be expensive.)
  • Thanks. As far as Thumbtack goes, I have learned my lesson as far as which jobs to bid on, as their quoting prices are now determined by some algorithm, and some of them can be expensive. The problem with the algorithm is that it weighs the length of the job way too heavily, and I have pleaded with them for a while to take it out of the equation. But all in all, last year about 60-70% of my work came through Thumbtack.

    What is "BNI"? I can look it up, but if you can tell me, thanks.

  • Found it. Holy Crap, $700 per year :o
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