How to Market for Portrait Photographers | Sue Bryce

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I’ve worked in a Portrait Studio for 26 years. The first 12 years we were Wedding and Portrait. It always amazed me that people called us for wedding bookings but we called them for portrait bookings. This I feel is where photographers often get mixed up. Wedding photography is Event based marketing example: Are you available, are you in my price range do we connect. But Portrait Photography is not an event its one of those things that all people want but never get around to do it. Usually it’s Mom saying can we have a family portrait trying desperately to herd everyone together for a bad photo.  Lets face it she has been doing that since you were babies. You have a product that everyone wants they just don’t know it.

Since there is no life event around updating your portrait our clients get confused about when to do it and why spend the money. So your job as a Portrait maker is to market to the WHY? do I need this. The target there for me has always been Mom. Obviously I specialize in a Glamour Beauty genre so my marketing has always been to the ‘Girls Day Out’ or the classic beauty brand message that all Women know “Because you are worth it” or the “Have you ever wanted to look and feel like the Models in magazines” The Mom marketing sell has always been easy for me as we are photographers and we stop time. “You are someone that I love I want to capture you for all time”

Remember first find the WHY, not in what you do . .  but in WHY your clients want you and need you. Then speak to them through those needs. Marketing is not about getting noticed it’s about giving service. Too many photographers are marketing on price and competition instead of value and at the end of the day the person paying needs to be excited, educated and then treated with exceptional service.  Then they will tell 10 friends and you will be in business. In business you need to take a step back from your website and see it like someone who does not know ANYTHING about our industry. Ask yourself these questions Does my website accurately and clearly portray what I do and what I sell? You would be surprised how many do not.  What is the need my clients have? What is stopping them from getting this need met? Do I value what I do and what I sell?

Every time I see photographers with hurdles it’s alway about ‘Putting themselves out there’ that is not marketing that is personal confidence you need to develop into your own power in this area if you are struggling here. The best marketers i’ve seen are natural connectors, but do not be discouraged as connection is something that can be learned enthusiasm connects more people than BS or slick snake oil sales pitches. Even an introvert becomes an extrovert when they talk about what they love. Be open, learn to promote yourself with your enthusiasm for what you create and focus on giving service not getting paid you’ll be amazed at how that flips over night
– Sue Bryce
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