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How to Make a Great Photography Marketing Plan

17 min read

If you want your photography business to grow, you need a long-term marketing plan. Here’s our long list of ideas for building an unforgettable brand!

The BIG List of Photo Marketing Plan Ideas

When it comes to marketing for photographers, there are a number of approaches you can take. Marketing is very important in your photography business. You cannot start up a business and expect customers to magically find you. Your brand will want to be able to sell your products and services to potential customers through various marketing mediums.

A man and woman are photographed from above as they smile at each other

Franzi Annika

The Best Photography Marketing Strategies

But what are the best marketing mediums for photographers? We’ll go through different approaches to marketing your professional photo business. The most important part of building up any marketing strategy is to experiment. You’ll want to try different things and see what works well for your business – what may work well for one brand does not necessarily mean it will work well for another.

Digital Marketing & Social Media for Photographers

There are plenty of digital marketing opportunities that are for photography professionals. Out of having your website, social media marketing is also valuable. There are also different platforms where you can pay to advertise your photography products and services digitally. When it comes to digital marketing strategy, there is plenty of room for experimentation and error.

Social Media Marketing

There are plenty of platforms available on social media for photographers to use. One of the most well-known platforms for photography professionals is Instagram. You can easily find potential customers and other professionals to connect with her via Instagram is highly visual platform.

Read more about Instagram marketing strategies here.

Photography Marketing Plan on Pinterest

Pinterest marketing can also serve your photo business with a lot of value. As an inherently visual platform, this tool is more like a search engine been a social network. Promote your website and blog content using interests straightforward platform. You can make plenty of variance of your pins as well, so you can test and see what content resonates most with a broad audience.

TikTok Marketing for Photographers

Many photographers these days are also trying out TikTok, a newer social networking platform. Although much of the primary base of TikTok users tends to be in the high school range, this could greatly benefit you if you are a senior or headshot photographer. Use TikTok to give a glimpse behind the scenes of your photography business, and let potential customers get to know you in a more personal manner.

If you are a wedding photographer, it’s also beneficial to experiment with this platform. We don’t know how long the lifespan of TikTok will last, but if it is here to stay as a primary social platform, you’ll want to be able to meet new customers where they are at. With such a predominantly Gen Z audience, these are the people that will grow into your customers as they move out of high school and through their different stages of life.

A Black man and a White woman sail on a sailboat

Franzi Annika

Drive Engagement on Social Media

Social sharing can be a fantastic part of your business strategy. You can also implement methods to drive engagement. If you have a large follower count on social channels but no engagement, then your followers definitely aren’t converting into customers. Drive engagement with fun ideas like giveaways, calls to action, and social story sharing.

Build Trust with Your Audience

Many photographers also use social media to give a behind-the-scenes look at their business. People often want to invest in products and services that they personally connect with. Building that personal relationship with your audience through stories and posts will give your audience more motivation to invest in your product or service.
You want your brand to make an impression that will last with your audience. Whether it’s the first time that they’re seeing your brand, or they’ve known you for years, leave an impression that will last. Open up your business and give personal glimpses into your process. Show off some gear, or the editing process from your last session.

Marketing with SEO on Your Website & Blog

One of the most effective strategies to market your photography business is to implement an SEO strategy. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is how businesses get found on Google and other search platforms. Social media marketing is fantastic, but when potential customers are using a search engine, they’re searching with intent.

This will typically revolve around blog content for your business. This should be a major component in your photography marketing plan. Make sure to do keyword research to see what kind of content will resonate with your audience. Sharing your work on your website is great, but you need to also be able to reach your customers in places that they can find you.

Answer Your Customers Questions Before They Have Them

Look into what questions your customers may be asking when they’re trying to invest in photo services. In the wedding industry, for example, much of the engaged couples in your area are looking for wedding day timelines, shot lists, posing tips, and so on. Try and answer their questions before they even have them.

SEO is a fantastic, organic opportunity for photographers to drive sales in their digital marketing plan. Your potential customers are all using search engines on a daily basis. Meet them where they’re at by implementing this free photography marketing strategy. Figure out how to make a blog post series that caters to their questions and needs.

A White woman and a Black man sail on a romantic cruise

Franzi Annika

Email Marketing for Photographers

Marketing photo businesses can be great over email. You can deliver a targeted approach to your customers by using email as an approach. As a business owner, you need to figure out what your target market is and who your ideal client is. Find opportunities to deliver value to their email inbox.

Draw in new customers by creating Lead Magnets, which are often free changes to build an email list. If you’re a portrait photographer, for example, offer people a guide to posing for headshots in exchange for their email. Send value right to their inbox and then keep on providing them with value.

Targeting Clients with Email Marketing

This will build up your know, like, trust factor in your brand. Your potential customers want to know you, like you, and trust you to invest in your brand. That is why it’s so important to ensure you are targeting with your emails. You don’t want to be sending out irrelevant content to the wrong customers.

Search Engine Marketing

Many professional photographers use search engine marketing to reach a wider audience. If you can’t be at the top of the list because of your SEO, you can at least use SEM. This abbreviation stands for Search Engine Marketing, a method for photographers to easily be at the top of the radar for new clients.
When marketing on search engines like Google, especially for photographers in saturated areas, you need to figure out marketing tactics that will make you stand out. Having an ad at the very top of a search result is a strong strategy to make an impression on clients.

Paid Advertising on Social Platforms

There are also a variety of digital advertising opportunities on social platforms. One of the biggest spaces for photographers to fit advertising into their marketing plan is via Facebook Ads. These ads can bring in new clients from Facebook and Instagram feeds, messenger and more. Plenty of photographers use social advertising because there are fantastic targeting qualities on these platforms.

A Black man sails on a sailboat with his wife

Franzi Annika

Re-marketing to Clients from Search to Social

You can use search engine marketing and social media marketing to tie together a marketing plan. You’ll have to consider how much to spend based on how your traffic is going. The prospective clients who may find you on search can easily be retargeted through social advertising. If they find you on search, they may have found 10 other photographers and then forgotten about you.

Re-marketing through social media advertising is a great approach to stay on your client’s radar. If they’ve visited your website and you re-market to people who have done that, you can keep showing up in their feeds and remind them. Keeping your brand top of mind for potential customers will allow your brand to continue to thrive.

Keep Up a Plan of Action for Paid Advertising Opportunities

You must always have a plan of action when it comes to paid advertising. Keep on experimenting and trying out different things. If one plan doesn’t work, switch up your copy or images. You’ll have to keep testing and see what is successful for your photography business.

Also make sure that if you are using images in advertising that your clients are comfortable with it. Typically, photographers own the copyright to their images. That being said, despite having all rights reserved, you may want to check to make sure it’s okay to use their likeness. Many photographers include this in their contracts to ensure that there are no issues.

Try Out Vendor Directories

There are some major vendor directories for photographers who are looking to expand their business. Many of these directories cost money to have any sort of spot on. Niche directories are especially beneficial for your brand. Large vendor directories with big names like the Knot and WeddingWire are great, but listing on niche directories will help you get specific with your ideal clients.

Word of Mouth Referrals

Word of mouth referrals play a large part in any photo marketing plan. Including your photography in marketing strategies online is great, but at the end of the day, clients who enjoyed working with you are your biggest advocates. Check in with clients and make sure that they write reviews for you.

A White woman sits on a sailboat kissing a Black man.

Franzi Annika

Keep Up with Your Clients

A great idea to get word of mouth referrals is to keep up contact with your clients after you work with them. Don’t just look at them as a sales number – look at them as the wonderful people they are. Send out holiday greetings to remind them you exist. Keep up on social media channels to stay in touch.

Staying at top of mind for past clients will draw more word of mouth referrals. If they really loved working with you and trust you, they’ll be sure to recommend you to friends. This is especially important in family and wedding photography. These are special moments that need to be taken by a trusted source.

Getting Photography Business Reviews

Ensuring that your clients write reviews is also very important to your photography marketing plan. Any business owner knows that a review can make or break your business. Ask your clients shortly after you work together to leave you a review on your preferred platforms. Make sure you get the clients to review you while the feelings are still fresh.

Much of the online review platforms you’ll utilize can easily generate sales. People are more likely to buy from businesses that they read a positive review from. Gather reviews on your platforms but also on your website. Share testimonials of clients who have loved working with you. Show your potential customers right off the bat that your brand is loved and trusted.

Networking & Local Business Referrals

There are plenty of local opportunities to network and gain business referrals. If you’re a food photographer, try reaching out to local restaurants and see if you can create some food content for their social platforms. Being able to share this local content will help the restaurant, but also help you. Ensure that your clients are tagging you when you take photos for them to build even more local trust.

In the wedding photography business, local vendor referrals are a massive source of clients for photographers. Your marketing efforts online can take you far, but having other professionals refer you can be a golden ticket. If you are close with venues and wedding planners, those are two huge sources of referrals for your local photography business.

What Kind of Digital Content Gets Shared?

If you’re looking to keep building up notoriety, you have to make content that is easy to share. This will keep spreading your website among your community and create a greater web of people to get to know your brand.

Questions to Answer Before You Start Marketing Your Photography Business

Before you start marketing your photography business, there are a few things that will help you decide on a marketing plan. Consider these questions before you start to begin your marketing efforts. If you can’t define your brand and business on a deeper level, you need to do this to be able to market successfully.

Portraits of a Black man and a White woman on a sailboat

Franzi Annika

Who is my audience?

Figure out who your audience is. Who do you define as your ideal client? Who are you trying to market to? You need to be able to define who it is that you want to purchase from your business.

If you are a wedding professional, you’ll want be able to define beyond “engaged couples” – get granular with your audience. Be specific about who your engaged couples are that you’d like to market to. What neighborhood do they ideally live in? Where do they buy their groceries?

For family photographers, consider the people who are going to value your services. Can you think of day cares that your ideal clients use? Try to figure out who you want to be sitting on the other side of your lens.

What is my unique selling point?

What is it that makes your business unique? You’ll want to be able to devise a photography marketing plan around something that makes your business interesting to customers. Start your plan around your unique selling point.
Think about the things that make your photography business stand out from other professionals. Other marketing photographers are using a unique value proposition to set themselves apart from the rest. Consider what makes your business special. If you’re having trouble thinking of this, ask your family or friends what it is they like about your photography business.

Is my website in fantastic shape?

Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile. As more people shift into a mobile space, having your website optimized for that experience is crucial. Make sure your website is running smoothly overall. Check on the speed and different methods to improve how your website performs.

Make sure that your website features a blog as well. Some of the best blogging platforms for photographers to consider in your marketing plan are WordPress, Squarespace, and Blogger. Write your blog posts from the heart, but make sure to keep SEO in mind so your content can be found on search engines.

A Black man and a White woman sail together at sunset

Franzi Annika

How Many Clients Do I Need This Year?

Consider how many customers you need in a year to keep your business moving. If you only plan to cater to a select number of customers at a higher rate, you don’t need to implement a super aggressive marketing plan. On the other hand, if your business survives at a lower price range with more clients, your marketing needs to be more aggressive.
You’ll want to spend the time figuring out how much you want to make ahead of time. If your business relies on a certain amount, you need to market accordingly. Base your advertising dollars and organic efforts on how much you need to make overall.

Don’t forget to factor in how much time you’ll spend on marketing and editing in your business. These time-consuming activities also need to be compensated beyond the actual photo shoots you’re doing as a professional. Factor in the time it takes to even implement these marketing strategies and include that in how much you need to make every year.

Unique Ways for Photographers to Market Themselves

Spend some time thinking outside the box is a great way to generate more leads for your photography business. Find ways that other photographers in your area aren’t marketing their brands. Get your name out there in unconventional ways.

Start an Online Magazine or Blog

One method of marketing your photography in an unconventional way is to start an online magazine or blog. This is different than your website blog where you’ll be building upon your SEO strategy. Instead, you could create a space for other creatives to also display their work. Creating a platform for other working creatives is one great way to show your taste making abilities.

This will help bring notoriety to your business amongst your community of peers. Favoring community over competition will end up helping you in the long run. It may also help you with your backlinking strategy for your search engine optimization. Building links back to your website can help you with your rankings.

A Black man in a denim shirts and a White woman in a white shirt hold each other close on the dock of the bay

Franzi Annika

Try Hosting a Podcast

Got a lot of knowledge to share in your niche? Try hosting a podcast! This is a great way to get your name out there, not just within the photography community, but in other niches. For example, if you’re a family photographer, you could spend time interviewing customers about family life. In the realm of wedding photography, a podcast about planning in your area could be super helpful.

Guest Blog for Other Websites

Write guest blog posts for other websites. This will also assist with your backlinking strategy for your business. Drive traffic back to your website in areas of your expertise. This is a unique strategy to get in front of audiences that you may not have otherwise reached. Reach out to blogs that are within your niche to see how you can assist them with your experience and guidance.

Host an Event for Industry Professionals

Host an event in your area for industry professionals. Events are a fantastic spot to make new connections and connect with other customers. You can also attend events like bridal shows, trade shows, and so on to access more potential leads. Bringing people together, or coming together, as a community will increase your notoriety and your potential sales.

Always Rethink with Your Photography Marketing Plan

When creating your photography marketing plan, be sure to experiment and figure out what works well for you. You must make sure to spend time monitoring your marketing efforts for both long-term and short-term growth. Whether you’ve decided to start a photography business, or are a seasoned professional, a marketing plan will serve your business well.

Create a marketing plan for your photo business to be able to reach more customers. Like we had mentioned, don’t just sit and wait for customers to come to you. You need to be able to strategically bring clients to your business.

Devise a marketing plan across the many areas of opportunity. Start with social media marketing because this is a great organic method to attract customers. Work on creating blog content for your photography site to be able to bring in more traffic. Open your business to the idea of an advertising plan once you have stable funds to spend on ad opportunities.

Be Personal & Personable

Find ways to think out of the box with your photography marketing plan. This industry is saturated with amazing talent, and you must be able to find ways to stand out from the other photographers. Define your personal brand and create your marketing plan based around it.

Most importantly, don’t forget to bring yourself and your personality into your marketing plan. There are plenty of opportunities to build a personal connection with your audience while marketing as a photographer. Let your audience like, know, and trust you.

A man and woman walk along the dock of the bay with yachts and sailboats in the background.

Franzi Annika

Keep Experimenting!

Finally, always remember to change things up if they aren’t working out. There are some marketing plan strategies that are long-term and short-term. Consider which strategies need to change, and when they need to be dealt with. Your marketing should be a fluid process with lots of experimentation. Try out different marketing strategies to see which will be most successful for your business.

Written by MEGAN BREUKELMAN | Photographs by FRANZI ANNIKA

Megan Breukelman is a Brooklyn-based photographer, marketer, and host of the Photo Opp Podcast. She aims to eat cupcakes and help photographers build on their passions.

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