Photography: Corazon girl
Jonathan Fields, a writer at FreelanceSwitch.com, a site for freelance anythings, has a great story about a marketing opportunity he came across in a pumpkin patch recently. Visiting with his children, he wanted to take pictures of them frolicking in the field. Not being a photographer though, he had nothing on hand but a friend’s camera phone. Fortunately, a woman with a Nikon D2000 offered to shoot him together with his daughter, and email him the image.The woman, it turned out, was a professional portrait photographer. The photo was waiting in his inbox when he got home, together with a link to her website.So simple. So effective. So how can you do the same thing?Go Where The People Are… And Don’t Pitch
The photographer’s approach worked for two reasons: she went to where lots of people who wanted pictures were likely to be; and she didn’t make a hard sell. Instead she simply created a sample that cost her nothing but time, and left the potential client with a good feeling and a debt they might want to repay.
Both of those things are easy to copy, and you don’t have to hang out in a pumpkin patch and wait until Halloween to do them.
Playgrounds Are Full Of Children Too
Playgrounds, for example, are always filled with children running around and having fun. They’re also filled with bored parents who want photos of them.
It’s best to turn up on weekends and late afternoons — peak times for play — so pack your camera, take a kid if you can get hold of one, and run off a few shots.
And while you’re there, ask other parents if they’d like some photos of their children on the swings too. You’ll be getting the little ones when they’re naturally happy so it should be a relatively easy children’s shoot.
Win At The Sports Ground
Sports grounds can offer exactly the same opportunity as playgrounds. Many parks turn over part of their green space each weekend to organized children’s sports so take your camera and watch the game.
Unless you’ve got a kid on the field though, don’t shoot until you’ve started chatting to a parent on the sidelines and offered them an image. It won’t be long before they’re pointing out which one is theirs… and you’re writing down their contact details.
You Can Shoot Adults Too
Of course, you don’t have to limit this sort of marketing to children’s photography. Adults are fair game too, you just have to prepare well and pick your locations a little more carefully.
Take your camera to a bar where business people hang out, for example, and your gear will give you a good talking point. Take pictures of the people you meet and send them the image with a link to your site. Just make sure that you have Web pages that explain the importance of good business portraits or that show off your corporate photography first.
The Bride And Groom Aren’t The Only Couple At The Wedding
For event photographers, it’s even easier. Most weddings will contain couples who aren’t married now but might be in a year or two’s time. As you’re shooting the tables keep an eye out for pairs, snap them together and run off special prints with your contact details on the back. Ask your client to pass them on and they’ll be getting a free couple portrait while you do some no-cost marketing to people who could need your services soon.
Snap Your Meal
Food photographers could even use this approach in a restaurant. Order a meal and when the dish is delivered take a picture. When you tell the waiter what a great meal you’ve had, offer him a copy for the restaurant’s publicity material.
Again if your website has samples of your food photography, you’ll be leaving an impression on a part of your market.
As long as you follow the principle of identifying someone who could use your images and finding a way to leave them a sample in a way that feels like a favor, you’ll be in with a great shot at increasing your sales.Read Jonathan Fields’ article here and tell us if you’ve ever tried this form of marketing.
UPDATE:This post generated a fair amount of feedback both here and elsewhere on the Web, so we thought we should explain a couple of points.First, the idea of the post is that you can pick up clients by shooting sample images for people in the places and times they need them most. It’s not a replacement for the shoot; it’s simply a chance to show people what you can do. We stand by that. It sounds like a pretty good strategy.The other point regards taking images of children. We had hoped that warning not to shoot images of children at sports grounds unless your own is playing would have been clear enough. Lots of people have warned about this, so it appears it isn’t. If you’re using this strategy to promote children’s photography, it’s best to take your own child with you. If you don’t have a child with you, then talk to parents and make what you’re doing clear. We didn’t really need to spell that out, did we?
[tags] photo marketing, photography marketing [/tags]