Marketing Your Photography Business: The Best Checklist of 2023

By Narrative Team

Running a photography business is a juggling act of photo shoots, endless culling and editing, plus all the admin – including marketing yourself. The challenge is to stand out in a saturated field, especially when time and resources are tight. To help you out, we’ve created a checklist of 10 fundamental photography marketing tasks you must continually revisit and refine to grow your business.

1. Understand your target audience.

Ask yourself, “Who is my ideal client?” Defining your target sharpens your brand and shapes your story. Your photography business isn’t just a service; it’s a personal experience based on who you are as a person and an artist. Your clients want someone who gets their vision and has the expertise to execute it. As time goes on, your target audience may become more defined or narrowed, so it’s essential to check in and ensure your marketing efforts continue targeting the right people.

2. Consistent content marketing

It’s all about the blog. Maybe you started one, and after a few posts, it faded into oblivion as other tasks seemed way more important. But statistics show that businesses that blog get 97% more links to their website and 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t. Tools like Narrative Publish make it effortless to create beautiful, image-heavy blogs that blend into your website seamlessly. Show off your recent shoot or educate people on how to nail a perfect sunset shot - plus, it’s a great way to show your personality. You can offer your clients a sneak peek of their images before you deliver the final package - if they share it, more exposure for you.

3. Optimise your SEO

Look, some experts spend long hours mastering SEO. You don’t have that kind of time. But you can boost your SEO ranking by using words and phrases to help your photography business appear higher on the page in local searches (a whopping 75% of people don’t scroll past the first page of search results). Regularly refresh your SEO keywords by using Google Trends to identify what people in your area are searching for. To save time, use Narrative Publish to quickly create blog posts that include SEO keywords and image metadata.

4. Tailor your email marketing

Sending targeted, personalised emails to clients keeps you on their radar. Position yourself as the go-to expert and they’ll come back to you (and refer you) for all their photography needs. The ROI – that’s Return on Investment – for email marketing is around $40 for every $1 spent. A few hours of scheduling well-timed newsletters featuring your latest shoot, a peek behind the scenes, or a seasonal offer could reap huge rewards. For expert tips, check out How to Leverage Email Marketing as a Photographer.

5. Connect on social media

Some say Facebook is dead. It’s true daily users are declining, but it is still the most popular platform globally with over 3 billion users. Instagram and TikTok each have over 1 billion users. Wherever you focus your efforts, your socials are a way to tell your story and show your personality to a broad audience. Being your authentic, genuine self lets people feel connected to you. Posting regularly ensures people that you are active, so don’t let this task fall by the wayside. For ideas on improving your current social media marketing go to Social Media Marketing for Photographers.   

6. Curate your portfolio

Let your work tell the story you want people to hear. Your portfolio is your rapid-fire pitch, so take time to update it with your best work. Here’s a hot tip: only include the type of work you want to do more of. If the thought of another baby shoot makes you scream internally, remove all evidence you’ve ever done it from your portfolio (no matter how cute). Make it easy for potential clients to see your style and know that you are the right photographer for them. Photographer and Business Coach Jai Long has some awesome advice in the article 5 Expert Tips for Building a Killer Photography Portfolio.

7. Network

People do business with people. Put yourself out there and connect. Get to know your local venue owners, wedding planners, floral designers, and other photographers. Participate in relevant Facebook and Instagram groups to make online connections but, to really make an impression, take advantage of opportunities for face-to-face meetings. A cup of coffee might be all it takes to book your next big gig.

8. Cultivate word-of-mouth referrals

Giving an exceptional experience can turn your happy clients into your photography marketing squad. People trust recommendations from their friends and family above anything else, especially for something as personal as photographing an important life event. Regularly review your services and identify areas you can refine to deliver the ultimate experience for your clients. It doesn’t hurt to send a thoughtful gift to clients who refer you as a thank you, and it just might keep the word-of-mouth wheel turning.

9. Amplify client testimonials

Almost 90% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So every glowing testimonial is marketing gold, whether on your Google My Business page, via Facebook, or another app. Feature testimonials on your website, your socials, and everywhere you can. If you don’t have great online reviews, just ask! A friendly email after the event can work wonders – be sure to include the link to where you’d like them to leave the review. Get the ball rolling by asking past clients, friends, and family.

10. Invest in paid advertising

While more of a nice-to-have than a necessity, you don’t have to drop a ton of cash to gain ground with paid social media ads. One of your best wedding shots targeted to the recently engaged or those searching for wedding-related content is an easy way to increase your visibility. If you have some money to spend here, Google Ads is a simple way to ensure you get seen by people near you. 

Capturing the perfect frame is one thing; ensuring the world sees it is another. Revisit these photography marketing tasks regularly, and watch your business get the exposure it deserves.