It’s no secret that to operate a successful commercial photography business in your community, you must market and promote your name and services. Of course, marketing and advertising can be an expensive method to maximize the number of people who are likely to contact you when they need general and senior high school portraits, weddings, family and corporate events and other digital photography services.
One of the easiest ways to put your name first in potential customers’ minds is to promote yourself as the digital photography expert in your community. People are more likely to trust and turn to the professionals who they perceive as being the experts in their field. The methods and means to elevate your status to that of THE professional photographer in your community are rather simple. Some of these methods will take a bit more work to be beneficial, but they are worth it.
1. According to “Digital Cameras: A Global Strategic Business Report” from Global Industry Analysts, Inc., there is approximately a 95% penetration of digital cameras in all North American and European households. GIA also predicts there will be 155 million digital cameras throughout the world by 2017.
The point is almost everyone has a camera of one type of another, which means there are many people who would love to learn more about how to use those cameras and take great pictures. If you are the professional who helps them, then they will perceive you as an expert and someone with the skills and experience to provide professional quality photography services when they need them.
The first method to reach these people is to become your local media’s featured photography expert. Newspapers are struggling to retain readership and most major newspapers now maintain companion Web sites to the printed version of the news. Approach the appropriate editor of your metropolitan and/or community newspapers offering to write a how-to photography column.
Most radio stations on the AM band are now talk-oriented. They need to fill 24 hours a day with programming. Many local stations will have regular weekly programs about gardening, fishing and other topics that appeal to large groups of listeners. Obviously, many of them are also photographers; in fact, probably more than the number who are gardeners and anglers. You can propose a weekly digital photography show to the stations’ program directors.
Local TV stations, especially those that provide 24 hours of news (often a service of the local cable TV provider), are also in need of original, local programming. Since TV is a visual medium, you have the opportunity to show photos and camera functions and techniques.
Ask the radio and TV stations for permission to use audio and video recordings of your digital photography show as podcasts on your Web site.
2. Offer yourself as a speaker to local clubs and other organizations that, again, are always looking for someone to host a program. You can speak about a recent photography trip to shoot landscapes or wildlife in exotic locations, or local locations where audience members could also take pictures with the tips you provide during your speech.
3. Become a digital photography educator. Approach your local school system and offer to start a photography club at one or more schools.
4. Organize and promote a free photography workshop through the local parks and recreation department. Schedule a monthly workshop in a natural setting, where you can help beginners or amateurs improve their photography of landscapes, wildlife, flowers, macro images, etc. This is particularly good idea during the summer when parks and recreation departments need activities to attract children.
An alternative of this idea is to propose a digital photography day camp for children and/or adults. With most parents working, they need activities for their children that will occupy them all day.
5. Create a how-to photography newsletter that you send regularly to a list of local email addresses. You can also invite readers, listeners and viewers of your media show, guests of your speeches and workshop participants to submit their email addresses to receive your free newsletter.
You are more likely to be taken seriously by newspaper editors, radio and TV program directors, local groups, school system superintendents and the parks and recreation department if you prepare a concise document outlining your plans for a media show, speech, workshop, etc. You first must convince them that you are a professional photographer of merit and integrity before you’ll have the opportunity to promote your expertise to the general public.
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Photograph by Photography Talk member Riyas