Focus On Results: A Guide to Online Marketing for Photographers

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Key Takeaways

  • You’ve found a way to develop your passion for photography into a rewarding career.
  • Your ongoing success requires that you merge your creative abilities with a focus on marketing your business.
  • Online marketing for photographers requires unique tactics and can be a highly effective and affordable way to build your client base and your business. 


Annie Liebovitz, one of the most iconic and prolific photographers of our time, is well-known for her award-winning celebrity portraits that have appeared on the covers of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Time. Although she has dedicated her life to photography, Liebovitz says that her craft is less of a job and more of a calling. “One doesn’t stop seeing, one doesn’t stop framing,” she says. “It doesn’t turn off and turn on – it is there all the time.”

As a photographer, you are a creator at heart and your profession allows you to express yourself on a daily basis. You know better than anyone that to continue to do what you love means bringing marketing and sales into the equation. Merging the artist in you with a business focus is important. How can you find the right type of clients and sustainably market your business? Because of its cost-effectiveness and relative ease, online marketing can play a key role in your ongoing success. Here are some ideas for bringing your business goals into focus. 

Develop a Website That Reflects Your Brand

A great website is the focal point of your brand and the hub of your business. As a photographer, you have solid creative instincts and building and designing your own site will probably come easy to you. makes the process simple and affordable with an array of website packages to choose from. When you are ready to begin, here are some tips to get you started. 

Showcase your work.
People will select you as their photographer based on your style, approach and the quality of your work. This is all reflected in your photographs and having an outstanding selection for prospective customers to view on your website is essential. What is your primary area of focus – weddings, landscapes, portraits, nature, architecture, sports or something else? If you have a variety of topical photos in your portfolio be sure to segment them by category on your website to make it easy for your audience to find what they are looking for. 

Have a great bio section. 
Although your photos will speak for you, having a bio section on your website will allow prospective customers to get to know you a bit better before making a decision. This is your chance to talk about your experience, approach and your training, along with what you enjoy most about your job and working with clients. Adding a bit of humor never hurts either. Typically clients are looking for someone who has a great eye, knows what they are doing and is easy to work with. Let all of that shine through when creating a bio and in other sections of your website. 

Make contacting you easy. 
When people are searching for a photographer, they want the process to be fast and simple. Once they reach your website, make it easy for them to contact you by including your contact information prominently on every page. You can still have a contact page with all of your details, but be sure to include your name, email address, phone number and studio address throughout your site. You never know which section will inspire someone to take action. Give them all of the details to do so.

camera lens

Put a Sharp Focus On SEO

You’re in a competitive industry. How can you stand out from the competition when potential clients are searching online for photographers. A search engine optimization (SEO) keyword strategy can be an effective resource. When you use SEO keywords in your website content, search engines take notice and help your business rank higher in online directories where customers are searching for your services. To generate an SEO plan, here are some things to consider.

Use the right keywords. 
Think like your customers and determine what terms you would use to find your photography studio. If your focus is on family photo location shoots, an online search would be something like “family portraits”, “family photo sessions” or “family photographers”. An online resource like Google Keyword Planner can show you which variation of keywords are the most searched so you can adjust your SEO keyword strategy accordingly. 

Think local first. 
When a potential customer is looking for a photographer in San Francisco, they probably won’t choose one in Chicago. Search engines understand this and when a Google search is conducted for “photographer,” local ones show up first followed by review sites. Play to your SEO strengths by maintaining a presence on Google My Business which will boost your local search rankings. Also, encourage your satisfied customers to give you positive online reviews after a successful photo session. Good reviews on sites like Yelp and Bing will help you rank higher in online local searches. 

Apply descriptive filenames. 
When loading photos into the portfolio section of your site, be sure that the file names you use are descriptive and SEO friendly. For example, instead of leaving the filename “img339.jpg” change it to “wedding-dress-1.jpg”. Descriptions like this on your photos give them an opportunity to be ranked and discovered in online searches and provide another valuable way for you to attract more website visitors – and business. 

Looking for more information, assistance and advice? can help you with all of your SEO needs. 

Have a Vision for Social Media

Keeping your photography business in the spotlight is important to attract new clients and gaining repeat business. Social media is a great way to accomplish this and developing a solid strategy will help to make it a productive experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Choose the right sites.
When posting on social media, go to where your customers are looking for you. Because of its focus on photos and visuals, Instagram is one place you should definitely be active. Over 4 billion people interact on this platform each month (about half the earth’s population) and it’s fast and easy to create an online portfolio of your work that you can link to your website (be sure to do this in your profile section). But don’t stop there. Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day and this gives you a chance to show quick videos of you “behind the scenes” so your customers can get to know you even better. 

Flickr also allows you to showcase your photos in an environment where people often search for good photographers. Finally, don’t discount Facebook, which has mass appeal and gives you the opportunity to connect with potential customers on local community threads. 

Have a social strategy.
Posting great photos on social media is not enough. What is your overall strategy and what do you want to achieve? Include captions with all of your posts that help people understand your approach, how you think and why you are different. Most importantly, use the right hashtags to help your work be seen by the people you want to connect with. For example, if you want to capture more real estate business, be sure to tag your posts with “#realestatephotography” or “realestatephotographer”. Narrowing your niche will help specific audiences find you. Here are some tips for determining the best photography hashtags by niche.

Create a social calendar. 
Once you build a social following, you need to post consistently to stay top of mind with your clients and prospects. With your busy schedule, it can be hard to find the time to post every day – a social media calendar can help to keep you on task and organized. Online resources like Loomly and Sprout Social will help you organize your thoughts and approach and you can even schedule posts to automatically go live on dates and times you choose. Staying active on social media will help you stay closer to your clients.

wedding photographer

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Most photographers love what they do and you are no different. Aside from all of the ISO settings, f-stops and focal points that are now second nature, ultimately it’s just you and the camera. How you interpret what’s through the viewfinder is what sets you apart from anyone else. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your creative career. 

Stay nimble. 
Like any business, things can shift in the marketplace that may cause you to have to quickly pivot and rethink your approach. The coronavirus (COVID-19) economy is one of those times. Adapting to challenges like this may require you to apply your creativity and business skills in new ways. For instance, in this time of social distancing, some family portrait photographers are scheduling outdoor sessions in parks and other venues that allow them to keep a safe distance while making use of zoom lenses to successfully accomplish their jobs. Staying ready for any situation will serve you well throughout your career.

Stay accessible.
Your website allows your clients to view your work and learn more about your business day or night. Adding features like an eCommerce page will make it even easier for customers to pay you and will help you generate greater revenue. An online store also gives you the opportunity to sell your photos and means that you are always open for business in every situation. As contactless payment becomes the new norm for small businesses, offering a remote payment option will also encourage more business as well. 

Stay focused.
As the old adage says, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” You’re a photographer who has found a way to turn a passion into a business – use this to your advantage. Like any industry, there will be ups and downs but staying focused on your vision of creating outstanding photos that people love will keep you on course for a productive future.

Gain a Fresh Perspective With Online Marketing

When you’re ready to take the business you love to new levels of success, online marketing can help you get there. After partnering with over 3 million small businesses like yours, has the expertise to make it happen. Let us know how we can help.


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