Travel photography marketing is one area that photographers often find particularly hard. But if you want your photography business to grow, you have to know how to market yourself and your work.
When discussing work with my colleagues, the topic that always arises is “how did he or she get that job?”. In my workshops, I always talk about two major points in my travel photography marketing workshops.
In a nutshell
The first is that your photography level is often of little importance when it comes to your marketing. The best photographers often don’t end up with the best jobs. It’s more to do with the photographer’s marketing skills. Because if the right people don’t see your work then it doesn’t matter how good it is.
The second most important topic I discuss in my courses is to not believe the hype of other photographers. Instead, you should follow your own path. Don’t compare your journey to that of someone else as it will lead to disappointment. This doesn’t mean shouldn’t admire other photographers or let their work inspire you. It about not entering into a private battle for success.
7 tips to improve your travel photography marketing skills
So here are 7 pointers to improve your photography marketing. These are strategies that I have used for many years to get new clients and keep existing ones.
I’m going to kick off with social media. It’s the option you will see most when discussing marketing your photography.
There is a belief that social media is the key to success. I no longer believe it is. That is unless you are one of the few travel photographers who have hundreds of thousands of followers. Yet you can still use social media for some moderate success. The usual tips you hear about are to post and interact with other users. But I’ve found these methods to be far more successful:
- Only post your best work
- Tag brands and companies that you think will benefit from seeing what you are posting
- Interact with potential client accounts. i.e tourists boards, hotels, guide books etc that will appreciate your work
- Approach companies that you see advertising on social platforms directly. Providing they are a brand or product that would benefit from your skills
- Try and produce fresh and original content that hasn’t already been seen a thousand times before
Pitch ideas to Magazines & blogs
Another option is to come up with new ideas or unique topics and pitch the idea to magazines. The key is to target publications that you would like to work with and would most appreciate your idea. Most magazines would prefer a complete piece of written and visual content. So it will help you if you are able to write well. In the past, I have teamed up with a writer to produce the copy. But with budgets getting tighter this isn’t always possible these days.
Most people only approach publications in their country. But don’t be afraid to submit to foreign publications as well. They often have an English site and are happy to translate the piece if it is good enough.
Set Goals and objectives
Set yourself a clear set of goals and objectives and how you plan to achieve them. A business plan is a good start. But I also tell my photography marketing students to produce a creative business plan as well. This helps keep your creativity and vision on track when things around you get a little hectic.
5 emails a day
This is a technique I discuss in great detail in my travel photography marketing workshops. It has been one of my most successful techniques over the years. Whilst, it’s not always possible once business picks up, it is always worth keeping up. For those travel photographers who starting their business or looking to grow it further, it has proven very effective.
The technique is to email 5 companies a day that you would like to work with and pitch your services. It is important to approach the correct companies and get that pitch correct. But once you get it correct, work will start to flow. It’s also important to experiment with slightly different pitches if your first attempt doesn’t get any responses.
Once you have a client, it’s important that you keep them. Build a relationship with them. This means keeping in touch to see if they need anything else. Send a Christmas card or even a bottle of wine for a good client. One trick I have used is to send a framed print of my work to them. This means that I am always on the wall of the office or at home to remind them.
This type of connection is dying. But it is still valued by a lot of people and keeps you at the forefront of their mind for the next job. Building a relationship also makes it harder for the client to negotiate on price. As it feels more personal by that stage.
Produce a brochure
A client usually receives tons of speculative emails looking for work. So you need to try and make sure you stand out from the crowd. A lovely e-brochure looks much more professional with a pitch than just an email. This is something that is often overlooked by people in travel photography.
Trade shows & events
In the UK alone there are lots of yearly global travel market shows. Include Europe, the USA and Asia, and you are looking at hundreds. Of the 195 sovereign states in the world, you would probably see at least 100 tourist boards that have a stand at any given major event.
You need to get yourself down to your local one and pitch for work in person. You can often arrange a meeting with someone in advance as well. This allows you to have contact and use your time better at the show. Make sure to research your potential clients and tailor your pitch for them. Have your brochure or literature and business card with you and ready to leave with them. I discuss my methods and techniques in great detail in my travel photography marketing courses. This is a very important and a fantastic tool for marketing yourself.
Jordan Banks is a successful travel photographer with almost 20 years of experience shooting assignments and campaigns for some of the worlds leading brands and companies. If you would like to learn more, why not join one of his travel photography marketing courses.
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