The best ways to market your photography business in 2024

Use the helpful links below to skip to the marketing subjects you’re most interested in.

Key Highlights

  • Consider whether to handle marketing internally or hire external help.
  • Prioritise tasks that offer the best return for the smallest effort.
  • Identify the 20% of customers generating 80% of sales.
  • Leverage Facebook’s precise targeting based on demographics and interests.
  • Create emotionally resonant ad copy and visuals for high-value customer engagement.
  • Utilise retargeting to maintain visibility with engaged audiences.
  • Optimise on-page and off-page SEO techniques for improved website ranking
  • Benefit from Google Ads’ search intent, targeting users actively seeking services.
  • Consistent posting on social media platforms builds trust and humanises the business.
  • Newsletters are opportunities for client education, updates, and potential upsells.
  • Attend trade shows and networking events to build industry relationships.
  • Stay informed about evolving marketing trends and algorithms.

Marketing as a professional is difficult, not to mention time consuming. When venturing into the business of photography, many underestimate the other responsibilities of running a well oiled machine. Marketing often becomes an afterthought or an “I’ll do that later” task.

Try to set aside a specific time and day to focus on marketing. You need to get into the habit if you want to grow your business. If you can manage this weekly, your business will thank you!

So where should you focus your efforts?

Marketing is very broad and involves many different systems, processes and software.

You also need to think about how you’re going to apply your marketing – are you going to do it, or will you hire external help?
If you decide to do it yourself, you should consider which items will give you the best return for the smallest amount of effort.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is also known as the 80-20 rule. It’s the idea that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customer base. If you can identify who the 20% customer base is demographically, you can start looking at targeting that market.

2 pie charts depicting the pareto principle (80-20) rule. It highlights to identify the 20% of effort that yields 80% of the results.
Identify the 20% clientbase that yields 80% of returns

Let’s take a look at all the different avenues you can explore when marketing your photography business. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, offer family and newborn portraits or dog photography, you’ll be able to find something useful in this article to help you get your marketing off the ground.

 

Facebook (Meta) Advertising for your photography business

Facebook offers a robust platform for tailored promotion that allows precise targeting of audiences based on demographics, interests, and online behaviour. The platform allows you to create adverts by uploading ad graphics and written content. This means you can target that 20% of high value customers with ad copy that will resonate with them.

How to use Facebook Ads as a photographer

As a photographer, you need to be creating copy that tugs on the heartstrings of your ideal client. Use emotional language and relatable images for your advertising graphics.

Another great feature of Facebook Ads is that it allows for retargeting too. This is useful for advertising to previous visitors to your website, meaning you can keep advertising to those that are engaging with your adverts but haven’t acted upon them yet.

Pros of Facebook Ads

Cons of Facebook Ads

SEO for your photography website

Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website to increase your website’s search engine rankings. In turn, this increases your organic website traffic.

There are many techniques involved in SEO including things you can do to your optimise your content (on-page seo) and things you can do off your website (off-page seo). There are also a number of technical items you can do to help with your SEO.

SEO is a longer marketing strategy. Search Engines like Google, use “crawlers” or “bots” to look through your website’s content and structure. These bots then determine how helpful your content is and decide where to rank your site in their SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

How to use SEO as a photographer

A few of the biggest mistakes I see with photographer websites, is a lack of location in page titles. Having your location in your page titles gives search engines a better understanding of where you’re based – it sounds obvious, but it’s often missed!

Another recommendation I have for photographers and their websites, is to make sure their images are optimised and have Alt tags. Alt tags are brief descriptions of what the image entails. These are used when images don’t load and for visually impaired web users.

An infographic detailing aspects of off-page, technical and on-page seo for photographer websites.

Pros of SEO

Cons of SEO

Google Ads to generate leads to your website

Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertising platform where businesses bid on keywords to display their clickable ads in Google’s search results and partner sites. One of the main advantages to Google Ads is the search intent – ads are displayed to users actively searching for relevant products or services. The fact that you can answer a problem with your product to someone actively in need of a solution really helps click through rate (CTR).

 

The platform offers measurable results, allowing advertisers to track their campaigns, analyse performance, and refine strategies in real time. Google Ads’ flexibility accommodates various budgets, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes. With the potential to increase brand visibility, drive traffic, and boost sales, Google Ads stands as a versatile and powerful tool in the digital marketing arsenal.

 

How to use Google Ads as a photographer

Google Ads works best for photography like Wedding Photography. Although Wedding photography is technically a luxury, it is something most people would regard as ‘needing’.

Other forms of professional photography, like Dog Portraits, newborns and cake smashes are more “luxury” and the need is lower. For these types, you tend to need to tell people they want the service by dangling the carrot in front of them visually on Facebook Ads.

Pros of Google Ads

Cons of Google Ads

Social Media

Social media platforms are fantastic places to market your photography business. Often these platforms are visual and they offer a great way to engage with your following and potential customers.
Social platforms help build trust and to humanise your business, that being said, only if you’re posting regularly. If you have a page that you’re not being consistent with, it can look a little sad and certainly dated. Let’s explore a few social media platforms.

Facebook (meta)

Facebook is a funny one. Over the years I’ve definitely noticed a decline in usership – I rarely post on my personal account or interact with brands anymore. Facebook certainly feels like a necessity but I don’t feel it’s the most important platform for you. It may interest you in knowing, that the biggest age group of facebook users is the 24-35 range. This is perfect for photographers. People at this age are generally settling down, getting married, having kids etc.

Instagram

I love Instagram, probably because I’m a visual learner. Images take centre stage on Insta’. It’s very simple to use; upload your image, give it a caption, throw in a few hashtags and click ‘Post’.

Due to its visual nature, it’s perfect for photographers to show off their work. The introduction of Reels, their video upload feature, has certainly shaken things up, but allows for really cool behind the scenes content.
As a personal observation, I have seen image content not performing as well anymore. Images are definitely getting found less and engagement is down. If you’re able to create a community behind your business and encourage people to follow, that should give your page more engagement.

There are some loose rules to having a successful instagram page though:

  • Images should be in a consistent style
  • Post consistently but don’t over post
  • Post content inline with your brand and message
  • Engage with comments

 

TikTok

Many people are still avoiding TikTok thinking that their demographic isn’t on there, but you couldn’t be more wrong. TikTok now has over 1 Billion monthly active users. 80% of those users are between the ages of 16 and 34. The prime demographic for wedding and newborn portraits is within that! Females also make up 60% of the demographics.

TikTok is primarily used as a video entertainment platform, however you can create image slideshow posts. If you’re not a fan of being on camera, this may not be the app for you, however I strongly urge you to give it a try – it’s only going to get bigger!

Buffer

Posting on all these social media platforms can be really tedious – trust me, I know! Luckily there’s always a solution for any problem you have on the internet. Buffer is one of those awesome solutions for this problem.
It allows you to schedule all your posts for the indefinite future. So if you’re like me and dislike loading up an app, typing out a post and doing this multiple times a day for different apps, try scheduling a shed load of content!

Screenshot of Buffer's social media scheduling software
Image of Buffer, courtesy of Buffer.com

Email marketing

Email marketing comes in a number of variations; newsletters, promotional, retention and transactional. Email is great because it’s direct to the end user. The downside is the stigma email marketing has and the ability for people to ignore or push them aside for later…and we know later never comes.

 

What email marketing should professional photographers do?

Every business, including photographers, should have a newsletter, but it’s also a good idea to have some transactional and retention emails in place. You can use platforms such as Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign to create specific email paths depending on a person’s interactions. 

 

Newsletters

Having a newsletter assumes that you already have a database of clients. If you don’t have a database yet, start building one! Ask every client if they’re happy to opt-in. Newsletters are a great opportunity to educate your client base, inform them of news you have going on and could lead to upsell opportunities.

Networking

Trade Shows

Trade Shows are awesome. They’re great for learning about your craft, learning your industry and connecting with valuable people. You can meet many different people at shows, so be sure to take along a few business cards!

Networking Events

There are networking events everywhere. They come in all sorts of varieties; paid, industry specific, women-only but what most have in common, is their intentions. Networking isn’t necessarily about making sales, but more making relationships. You should be approaching events with the aim to build trust and rapport with your networking counterparts.

Building trust increases your chances of referrals.

Dan, The Lead Source's SEO expert and Director presenting at the Graphistudio roadshow.
Dan talks SEO at the GraphiStudio Roadshow 2023

Referrals/ reviews / word of mouth

I shouldn’t have to tell you that you need to be treating your customers right. You should have it ingrained into you that people talk. Word of mouth is a fantastic, effortless way to market and all you have to do is offer a great service and experience.

Word of mouth can lead to quality referrals, especially if they’re from your ideal customer. If they’re praising your work within their circles, those people listening will likely be ideal customers too.

You should also try and get reviews when you can. Google loves reviews as they prove that you’re trusted, you’re an expert and you have experience. If you can, try to get 10 reviews on your Google Business Profile.

 

Educating yourself

Marketing is always changing. Algorithms get updated to stop exploitations and meet demands, so it’s really important to stay educated on the marketing you want to pursue. There are many educational platforms out there including Skillshare and even YouTube!

At The Lead Source we’re currently building a marketing education platform tailored for professional photographers. Sign Up to our newsletter for our latest news.

Frequently asked marketing questions by photographers

Many say that a healthy marketing budget is 20% of your total revenue. This is not a rule you have to stick by, but you really should be investing into marketing.