Terra Galleria Photography

Ten proven ways to promote your photography

3 Comments

It is often said that a photographer with great work but no promotional plan will make less money than a photographer with average work and great promotion. So if you are trying to make a living in photography, promotion should be a priority.

Here are ten ideas to promote your photography which have worked well for others:

  • Submit to publishers. Do you think they are going to find you by chance ? Send unsolicited as well as list-based submissions of your best work to newspapers, magazines, calendar, greeting card companies, and anybody you’d like to publish your work.
  • Mail promo pieces and newsletters Your prospective clients need to be reminded that you exist. Use both regular mail (more attention-catching if well designed) and email (less expensive so you can send more).
  • Follow-up with calls and visits to show your portfolio. Personal contacts cannot be replaced, as personality is key to many hiring decisions. The portfolio is the key to show your vision as a photographer and prove that you can deliver the goods.
  • Attend portfolio reviews. At those events, you will be able to show your portfolio and get feedback from several dozen people of influence in the fine-art or commercial world within a couple of days. There is a fee, but it would take you much more time to be able to see as many people outside – assuming you have access to them.
  • Network. All of this still does not replace personal recommendations, which is how most jobs are landed.
  • Get an agent. Agents have the industry knowledge, connections, and trust of art buyers. They can get you jobs that you’d never land by yourself and help with negotiation of terms.
  • Appear at events. Many venues are interested in hearing about your photography: camera clubs (particularly good if you are doing workshops), industry conferences, but also more mainstream media related to your photographic specialties. They may not pay you, however that’s a good opportunity to get your name out there and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
  • Purchase advertising. This is how almost all companies get their name out there, so why would you be an exception ? These days advertising does not necessarily means magazine ads or sourcebooks, but is shifting to sponsored links on webpages and search engine results – the only way for most to guarantee top-page placement.
  • Enter photo contests. Won’t it be great to be able to call yourself an “award winning photographer” ? Some contests even provide opportunities for additional exposure. For instance, an honorable mention in one of the categories of Nature Best guarantees inclusion in a (group) exhibit in the Smithsonian. The “most awarded photographer in history” didn’t miss the opportunity to headline his website with “Mr Lik goes to Washington”.
  • Post images on photo sharing sites. Their feedback mechanisms, large user base (Flickr’s more than 40 million accounts in 2010), provide you with a tremendous amount of views and peer recognition if your images rise to the top of the rankings.

I did none of this.

Yet, I’ve sold or licensed images to a few small clients in more than thirty countries. Publications as diverse as National Geographic Explorer, Parks Magazine, and the Boston Globe (among many others) have written articles about my work – which by the way, is quite a bit more than them “featuring” an image. During my last visit to Haleakala National Parks, rangers at two sites recognized me.

What does it mean for you – besides the fact that you may be interested in following this series to see what I did 🙂 ? Be aware of what others have done, study and understand what has worked and what didn’t for them, but don’t automatically try to copy their efforts. Your photography is what it is because you are unique. So should be your promotional efforts. In the future, to succeed in the business of photography, you will have to be as creative in your promotional efforts as you are in your photography.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | To be continued

3 Comments

  1. P. Chong says:

    very interesting read…thanks.

  2. jack says:

    Thanks for sharing those helpful tips, I must try some of your tips.

  3. Manojit Mohanta says:

    I am not a professional photographer but I am tray my best….

Leave a Comment