How to Get Photography Clients (10 Ways That Work)

by David Em

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Clients are the foundation of a successful photography business. Learn tips to get photography clients and mistakes you must avoid.

Person smiling and holding a camera.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Technical skills are one aspect of building a photography business.

The other essential aspect is getting photography clients, which you do through marketing.

Examples of marketing include referrals, advertisements, and discounts.

The following covers everything you need to know about finding clients. You’ll also learn mistakes to avoid, preventing setbacks.

1. Identify your ideal client

Family on a couch hugging and playing.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Before you take on photography jobs, you must figure out who you want to serve.

Knowing your ideal client is essential to success in the photography business.

Do you want to photograph people, products, animals, landscapes, or something else?

Once you find a niche, you can learn about demographics to help you market your services.

The best way to find your ideal client is to think about prior clients or models.

Who did you enjoy working with the most? Then, you can dig into their interests, hobbies, and values.

Learning about your ideal client allows you to market your photography business well.

2. Create a portfolio website with resources

Photographer at their desk and holding a camera.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Your photography website serves as your portfolio and digital business card.

It’s often a potential client’s first impression of you. So, make it memorable and easy to use.

It must have your best pictures, an about and contact page, and resources.

The resources can be guides and blog posts. You can cover posing, what to wear for photoshoots, and other topics a client will find helpful.

3. Create a brand on social media

Hands holding a tablet.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Social media is an excellent way to showcase your portfolio and get clients.

Around seven-in-ten Americans use social media, meaning you can reach many people.

Your social media profiles should be professional and have contact information.

The content is also essential. Share professional imagery regularly.

The pictures must align with your style of photography and attract your ideal client.

Since social media is free, you have a lot of competition. Also, followers and likes don’t correlate with paying photography clients.

Social media should be an extra marketing tool rather than the main one.

4. Local search engine optimization (SEO)

Person typing on a laptop.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Local search engine optimization (SEO) takes effort but is essential.

It helps your photography business be visible in local search results online.

If you have a photography studio or serve a geographic area, use local SEO.

It’s powerful because it ranks high in search results and is free.

The following are the top local search optimizations for photographers:

  • List your photography business on Google Business Profile.
  • Post on your photography social media pages.
  • Create local content on your blog.
  • Get links from local businesses and organizations.
  • Get positive reviews.

Optimize your photography website, and you can get organic traffic to it. It leads to more potential photography clients.

Screenshot of examples of PPC ads on Google.
Screenshot by David Em/Portraits Refined.

The first spots on search engine results are for advertisements. Authority and local SEO takes time to build.

So, you can use paid advertising to be at the top.

Social media also shows ads while users are on the platform.

Google, Facebook, and Instagram are excellent platforms to target ideal clients. The Knot and Wedding Wire are perfect for wedding photography.

Your ads must have a compelling description and eye-catching graphics.

Advertise with images of what you want to shoot and include a call to action.

After launching ads, review the performance every one or two weeks. Then, optimize your campaigns.

Before starting, think about your budget and how much you want to invest in ads.

6. Volunteer as an event photographer

People networking at an indoor corporate event.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

One of the best ways to get photography clients is to get out of your home. Go out into the community and connect with people.

Become a volunteer at local events. It allows you to serve your community and meet potential clients.

Networking events, block parties, marathons, and fundraisers are all excellent opportunities.

Carry your business cards to pass out as you meet people.

You can give back to your community while promoting your photography business.

7. Offer a referral program

Person holding a camera.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Client referrals are one of the best forms of marketing. You get more clients through personal recommendations.

You must provide an exceptional experience and pictures, but it may not be enough.

Give people a reason to share your services, as the chances of a referral increase with an incentive.

Offering a discount for referrals is an excellent example. It can encourage clients to return while booking new clients.

You can also provide gift cards, free or discounted prints, or a points system.

Regardless of the referral system, only give the referrer credit after the new client books or completes a session.

8. Build a client database

Computer, camera, and plant on a desk.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

A client database has information about a client’s session and information.

It’s an excellent way to maintain a connection with previous clients. Also, you can reach out to them when business is slow.

You can build it in a spreadsheet or customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Also, you can have more than one database. One can be for previous clients and another for potential clients.

A client database is essential and valuable. It allows you to have returning clients and keep in touch with those who may need your services later.

9. Attend networking events

People eating food and talking at a networking event.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Photography is a people business, meaning you need clients to thrive.

Networking events are an excellent way to make connections. You can meet professionals in your area and industry.

When attending networking events, focus on meeting new people and not booking sessions.

The people you meet are potential clients or may know someone to refer.

You may also meet other business owners that may cross-promote your business.

When exchanging contact information, make a note to help you remember the conversation. It makes you stand out from others.

Take time to attend networking events. It can lead to more photography clients.

10. Ask for feedback

Photographer and model looking at a camera in a studio.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Feedback is essential for growth. So, ask your clients about their experience.

The truth may be difficult to hear, but it helps you improve and grow.

Feedback leads to spotting things you must change to get more photography clients.

It also results in better client experiences, ensuring you get better reviews.

Frequently asked questions about getting photography clients

What kind of photography sells best?

Candid photos sell the best. So, build a portfolio focusing on candid shots to attract more clients. Authenticity is essential, and clients will pay for pictures with genuine interactions.

How can beginners make money with photography?

Beginners can make money the same way professional photographers make money. The difference is that a beginner will start with lower rates. You can increase your prices as you gain more experience and build a brand.

How do photographers get social media clients?

Photographers get social media clients by building a brand. Create a public profile with high-quality and cohesive images. Also, post consistently, share contact information, and write appealing captions. You can take it to the next level by growing your following by networking.

What are common mistakes when looking for photography clients?

The most common mistakes when looking for photography clients include reducing your prices, thinking marketing is optional, and not networking. It takes time and effort to grow a photography business. Be firm in your pricing, target your ideal client in your marketing, and meet new people.


It can be challenging to find quality photography clients. As you get momentum, it becomes easier.

Try the different methods to build momentum and become an established photographer.

Then, focus on delivering an exceptional client experience. A good reputation is essential in the long run.

Related: How to Open a PSD File

Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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