As a product photographer, you know that finding clients is essential to your business. But where do you start? How do you find those clients who need your services and are willing to pay for them? In this article, you will discover 10 steps on how to get product photography clients.
Ready? Let’s begin!
#1. Identify Who Your Ideal Client Is?
The first step to finding clients is to know who your ideal client is. This means understanding what type of businesses or products you want to photograph, and what kind of budget they have.
This is an essential step because your entire client acquisition strategy will be based on the portrait of your ideal product photography client.
If you’re not sure who your ideal client is, take some time to brainstorm. Make a list of the types of businesses or products you want to work with and what budget they would likely have.
For example, some product photographers specialize in a specific type of product, such as jewelry photography, beauty products photography, or food photography. Others prefer to work with a specific type of clients, such as small businesses or start-ups.
No matter what your preference is, make sure you know who your ideal photography client is before moving on because without knowing it, you will be struggling to create a precise client acquisition strategy.
Here are 8 questions to help you identify your ideal photography clients
- What are the top 10 brands that you would love to work with?
- What do all these brands have in common?
- What type of products do you want to photograph?
- What industries are you familiar with and have an interest in?
- Who are your favorite clients so far and why?
- Which clients were the most challenging to work with and why?
- What is the size of the company you want to work with?
- Do you want to work with local businesses or are you open to working with companies from anywhere in the world?
Answering these questions will give you a good starting point for identifying your ideal photography clients. Remember, the more specific you can be, the better.
#2. Build Your Product Photography Portfolio
Your portfolio is one of the most important tools you have for attracting new clients. It’s your chance to show off your skills and style, and to demonstrate what you can do for potential clients.
Below are two ways how you can quickly build up your product photography portfolio.
Take Creative Photos of the Products You Own
If you don’t have any paying clients yet, that’s okay. You can still build up your portfolio by taking creative photos of the products you own. This is a great way to practice your product photography skills and experiment with different lighting techniques, angles, and compositions.
Here are some product ideas you can photograph at home:
- Home decor items (candles, vases, home fragrances, etc.)
- Beauty products (creams, shampoos, cologne, lipsticks, etc.)
- Fashion accessories (watches, bracelets, earrings, sunglasses)
- Consumer electronics (headphones, cameras, etc.)
- Food items (coffee beans, tea boxes, spices, whisky bottles, etc.)
Offer Free (Or Highly Discounted) Product Photoshoots to Local Businesses
In the beginning, it’s a good idea to offer highly discounted product photography rates or even work for free to build up your portfolio. This is a great way to get experience working with clients and to add some variety to your product photography portfolio.
To find potential prospects, refer back to your “ideal client portrait” and search for a local company that fits your criteria. For example, if you decided that you want to focus on brands that produce home decor items, such as candles, you can go to Etsy.com, type in “handmade candle” in the search bar and filter the results by the city you live in.
Once you’ve found some potential clients, reach out to them and explain that you’re a product photographer and you’re looking to expand your portfolio. Show them your current product photography portfolio and offer discounted rates for your services or even do it for free.
Keep in mind that when working for free, you should still treat the project as a professional gig and deliver high-quality photos that meet (or even exceed) your client’s expectations. You never know, maybe this company will eventually become one of your best clients or will recommend your product photography services to other potential clients.
#3. Create a Professional Looking Website
After you’ve built up your initial product photography portfolio, it is very important to invest resources in creating a professional-looking website for your product photography business.
Having a professional-looking website is essential because it will be one of your main marketing tools to attract new clients.
Your website should include:
- A portfolio of your best product pictures divided into categories
- Information about your services and pricing
- About section
- Client testimonials (preferably in a video format)
- Your contact information
- Blog (SEO content, case studies about your completed projects, etc.)
Creating a professional-looking website is a great way to show potential clients that you are serious about your product photography business and that you are an expert in your field.
There are many different options when it comes to creating a website for a product photography portfolio. Squarespace in our opinion is the easiest platform for creating a professional-looking website for product photography for a non-technical person.
It has a very intuitive user interface, great customer support, and tons of online tutorials on how to quickly set up a photography portfolio website using Squarespace. It will literally take you a day (or even less than that) to set up a beautiful portfolio website.
However, if you don’t have the time or skills to create a website yourself, you can hire a freelance web designer to do it for you. Just make sure that you give them clear instructions on what kind of website you want and that they understand your vision for your product photography business.
Here are four excellent product photographer websites for your inspiration:
Related Content: 14 Best Product Photography Portfolio Websites to Inspire You
#4. Utilize Your Current Network
If you have a network of friends, family members, or acquaintances who own businesses, ask them if they need product photography services. This is a great way to get your first paying clients and to add some professional photos to your portfolio.
Even if you don’t know anyone who owns a business, maybe someone in your network knows someone who does. Ask around and see if you can get in touch with the right person.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn and ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people are willing and happy to help you, especially if they know you’re just starting out as a product photographer.
Remember, the goal here is to get your first paying clients and to add some professional photos to your portfolio. Once you have a few happy clients under your belt, it will be much easier to attract new clients and grow your business.
#5. Leverage The Power of Social Media Platforms
In today’s day and age, social media platforms are a powerful marketing tool that can help you attract new clients and grow your business. If used correctly, social media can be a great way to showcase your work, connect with potential clients, and build relationships.
Here are some tips on how you can use social media to attract new product photography clients:
Use Hashtags to Reach a Wider Audience
When posting your photos on social media, make sure to use relevant hashtags so that your photos can be easily found by potential clients. Here is an article we wrote with a comprehensive list of the best hashtags for product photographers on Instagram.
Post Behind The Scenes Photos and Videos
Potential clients love seeing behind-the-scenes content because it gives them a peek into your process and how you work. If you think that your work isn’t good enough or that nobody is interested in the process of your work, we recommend you get yourself a copy of this book: “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon. It is a fantastic book that will change your perspective on your work and on how you should be marketing it.
Engage With Potential Clients
When you come across a potential client on social media, make sure to engage with them. Like their photos, leave comments, and start a conversation. The more you engage with potential clients, the more likely they are to remember you and reach out to you when they need product photography.
Share Testimonials and Reviews From Past Clients
Nothing speaks louder than happy clients. If you have any positive reviews or testimonials from past clients, make sure to post them on your social media platforms. This will show potential clients that you’re a reliable and trustworthy photographer.
#6. Register on Freelancing Services
There are many freelancing services that you can use to find new product photography clients. These platforms are a great way to get your name out there and showcase your work to potential clients from all over the world.
5 Freelancing Services for Product Photographers
When registering on these platforms, make sure to fill out your profile completely, add some of your best work, and write a catchy headline that will grab the attention of potential clients.
Here is an example of a great profile description of a product photographer on Fiverr
My name is Alina, I am a professional product photographer from Latvia. I specialize in creating engaging product photography and lifestyle photography for e-commerce, social media platforms, and commercial needs. I have a background in digital marketing and sales, which I utilize in my photography work to create product photos that not only look great but also increase conversions and sales for my clients. I am always open to new and exciting projects. If you are looking for an experienced commercial photographer with knowledge in digital marketing and sales, I will be glad to assist you!
If you’re just starting out as a product photographer, we recommend you start with Fiverr.com. It’s a great platform to get your feet wet and build up your portfolio.
#7. Register on Behance.net
Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work.
If you’re a product photographer, Behance.net should be one of your go-to places for finding new clients. By submitting your photos to Behance’s creative network, you’ll instantly gain exposure to a vast community of creatives from all over the world.
To get started, create a free account on Behance.net and upload your product photography portfolio. Make sure to include a link to your website or blog so that potential clients can easily find you.
Take some time to browse through the portfolios of other product photographers on Behance.net to get an idea how to better present your work.
Here are a few product photography portfolios on Behance to inspire you:
#8. Start Client Outreach Campaign
Once you have your product photography portfolio in place together with a professional-looking website, it is time to start an active client outreach campaign.
An outreach campaign is a process of reaching out to potential clients through e-mail, social media, or phone and offering your product photography services.
The first thing you need to do to start a client outreach campaign is to create a list of the companies to whom you will be pitching your product photography services.
Please create a separate Google Sheets (or an Excel document) where you will be collecting information on potential clients before we dive into the places and techniques where to find new and prospective clients.
3 Places to Search for Product Photography Clients
Instagram is an ideal place to search for product photography clients. Here’s how:
Use hashtags to find potential clients. Instagram hashtags are extremely useful to find new prospects for your product photography business. Let’s say you want to find new and emerging brands that are selling beauty products. All you need to do is come up with a list of descriptive hashtags that are likely to be used by beauty brands (e.g. #makeup #skin #skincareroutine #natural #oil #personalcare #cleansing #cosmetics).
Use the “Suggested for You” section. Suggested for you function allows you to quickly find similar Instagram accounts and expand the pool of your potential clients.
Amazon is another great place to look for potential clients. Pick a niche or a product, for example, “Matcha tea”, and simply type it in the search bar and hit enter. You will be presented with various brands that are selling matcha tea. Copy and paste the names of these companies into your Google Sheets document. Don’t worry about the specifics for now; simply note down the names of the firms and in the next step, you’ll learn how to obtain email addresses.
Etsy is the perfect place to look for smaller brands that sell hand-made products. As we mentioned previously, you can filter Etsy results to show you only local businesses that offer the items you’re searching for.
For example, go on Etsy.com and type in “leather wallet” in the search bar and hit enter. Below the search bar, you will see the button called “All Filters”. Click this button and scroll down to the filter “Shop location”. Enter your city and click the button “Apply”. The results page will only display retailers from your city.
This is a great way to discover smaller brands that might be interested in your product photography service.
The next step is to gather the email addresses of the decision-makers at the companies on your list of potential clients.
How to Find Email Addresses of the Decision-Makers
- Log in or create an account on LinkedIn.
- Type the name of the company in the search bar at the top left corner.
- Click the link which says […] employees to see the list of the people who work for the company.
- Find the Name and Surname of the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), or someone who is responsible for marketing and content creation within the company.
- Use service Hunter.io to find the email address of the person. Hunter is the leading solution to find and verify professional email addresses.
The next step is to create an email template that you will use to reach out to potential clients. Remember, you should invest time to personalize each email to the specific client instead of copy-pasting the same message to everyone.
5 Tips to Create an Effective Client Outreach Email
- Reference the first name within the subject line and email. It’s a fantastic idea to include a person’s name in the subject line and email body as it makes emails considerably more personal and increases their open rate.
- Find something unique about the brand you trying to reach out to and use it in your introduction. This will help you to capture the attention of the receiver and increase your chances of being noticed. For example, “I have been following your brand for a while and I really love your latest collaboration with […]”.
- Approach commercial clients with ideas, not just your photo portfolio. Create a few suggestions for campaigns that would be appropriate for the client. This is an excellent method to show that you grasp the brand’s vision. It will also put you a step ahead of other photographers who only rely solely on their product photography portfolio.
- Define what you can offer that no one else can. Maybe you can serve as both photographer and stylist, or perhaps you have a background in marketing that allows you to better understand client needs and tailor photo campaigns to match these needs. Try to find something unique about yourself that will differentiate you from other photographers and will also allow you to charge more for your product photography service.
- Keep your emails short and to the point. No one wants to read a long email from someone they don’t know. The shorter, the better.
Product Photography Outreach Email Example
Today I came across your Star Wars limited edition key organizers and I think they are absolutely awesome!
I’m reaching out because I’m a commercial photographer and I have some great photo ideas for your new collection of key organizers.
Do you have 10 minutes on Thursday for a quick call to talk through some of my ideas?
P.S Attached you will find a .pdf document with my commercial photography in the everyday carry niche. If you’d like to see my full portfolio, you can check it here: [link].
Pro tip: It’s essential to have a goal in mind for how many potential clients and individuals you need to pitch within a certain time frame, such as a month or a week. Set yourself a modest goal at the beginning of each week that will motivate you to move forward. With time, you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly comfortable interacting with people and may even be able to sell your services without any difficulty. As you keep extending your reach, things will get easier and easier, and before you know it, you’ll be working with the ideal clients.
Remember that pitching isn’t “send an email and forget about it”. You need to follow back if the person hasn’t responded to your original email. Plan your client outreach as a proper marketing campaign, and schedule your follow backs in your agenda or a CRM tool such as Trello or Monday.com.
#9. Start a YouTube Vlog
If you’re not the outgoing type or simply don’t like the idea of reaching out to clients, there is another way that you can get your name out there – by starting a YouTube vlog or podcast about product photography. This method may take a bit longer to gain traction, but it’s a great way to build an audience organically and show potential customers your knowledge about the subject.
When creating content for your YouTube vlog or podcast, make sure to include tips and advice on product photography that your viewers can use in their own businesses. This will not only make your content more valuable but also help you to position yourself as an expert in the field. You can also use your vlog or podcast to showcase your work in a more informal setting and give potential customers a taste of your style.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas for topics that you can cover in your YouTube vlog or podcast:
- Product photography tips and tricks
- Behind the scenes, videos showing the details and processes involved in making a beautiful product photography shot
- Post-production videos and tips
- Client testimonials
- Product photography gear reviews
- Interviews with local business owners on the importance of high-quality photos for e-commerce sales & other topics
- Interviews with fellow product photographers
Pro tip: Don’t be discouraged from starting a YouTube Vlog if think that you aren’t very good on camera. Every single popular YouTube creator was starting with really simple and imperfect content. As a matter of fact, go on YouTube, pick any creator you admire, and watch their first YouTube video. With time the quality of your content and presentation will definitely improve and your audience will grow exponentially providing you with great exposure to new clients and opportunities!
#10. Invest In Paid Advertising (Google & Instagram)
Paid advertisement is one of the quickest ways to get in front of new potential customers. The two most popular platforms for product photography are Google and Instagram.
Google Ads allows you to create text, image, and video ads that will be displayed on the search engine results page when people search for terms related to your business. Google Search Ads are especially effective because you can specify which keywords will trigger your ads on Google and only pay Google when someone clicks one of your Ads.
For example, you can bid on the term “product photographer in Berlin”, which will ensure that your Ads will only be shown to those people who enter this exact phrase in Google. Thus, your Ad on Google will be very relevant to that person and if your landing page (website) is designed and structured well, there is a high chance that the person will leave an inquiry on your website.
Pro tip: Don’t use paid advertising on Google, Instagram, or Facebook unless you have created a professional-looking website with a well-thought-out structure and content. Otherwise, you will be spending money without getting any results and eventually will be disappointed with Google, Instagram, and Facebook. Also, if you don’t have any background knowledge in digital marketing, we highly recommend you invest your time to learn how to properly set up your Google, Instagram, and Facebook campaigns.
- Digital Marketing with Google Ads (AdWords) Taught by a Former Googler – Certificate Included!
- Facebook Advertising – Facebook Ads 2022 – Crazy Hacks for Cheap Clicks – Facebook Marketing
This will definitely save you time and money in the long run as well as help you create effective campaigns that will drive new clients to your product photography business.
Instagram and Facebook Ads work differently because they display Ads in a feed to the target audience which you specify when you create an ad. For example, you may specify that you would like to show your Ads only to women aged between 20 and 45 years old, living in Berlin, and whose job title is related to marketing and advertisement.
It is impossible to tell which of these platforms will deliver a better result for you, because it depends on many different factors and we recommend you to test both Google and Instagram (Facebook) ads to see which one works best for you.
To Sum Up
In this article, we discussed 10 steps that you should undertake to create steady stream of new clients for your product photography business. Let’s recap all of the steps we discussed:
- Identify who your ideal customer is
- Build your product photography portfolio
- Create a professional-looking website
- Utilize your current network
- Leverage the power of social media platforms
- Register on Freelancing Services
- Register on Behance.net
- Start client outreach campaign
- Start a YouTube vlog
- Invest in paid advertising (Google Ads & Instagram Ads)
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful. If you have any questions or would like to add something, please leave a comment below!
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