Photography: David Davies
It’s the first step for any budding photography business. It’s the task that every photographer has to accomplish if they’re going to sell pictures and earn from their images.And it looks like the toughest one of all.You have to get people to see your photos.Here are 12 creative ways to do it…
1. Stick Them in your Email
You’ve seen these sorts of emails before. You might even have passed them on before. If the subject is weird, wacky, funny or interesting, people will pass them on to friends to share the giggle.
And if you’ve got the URL of your photography website embedded in the picture, they’ll stop by to see more.
Obviously, this isn’t going to work for every picture. Sunsets aren’t going to cut it, however beautiful; it’s the subject that counts, not the technique. And you can only send them to friends, not to everyone on your contact list. You don’t want to be accused of spamming. But once people receive the photo, they’ll pass them on to their friends. And when those friends they reach your photography site, your photos should be good enough to keep them there.
2. Print them on Products and Give them Away
You can put your photos on just about anything these days from magnets to mousepads. You can sell those products once you’ve done that, but you could also put your Web address on them and give them some of them away. (Yes, this will cost money, so if you want that money back, you’ll need to make sure that you have proven systems in place to turn your new visitors into buyers).
Where you give your products and who you give them to will be crucial. Put a landscape image with an environmental slogan on a bumper sticker, for example, and give it out at green events, and you can expect your site to sell landscape posters and animal prints. Put a picture on a mousepad and offer it as a freebie to stores selling business computers and you might be able to offer stock images.
However you choose to make the sales, the gifts will get you seen.
3. Put up Wallpaper
One sort of freebie that’s easy to give away — and costs much less than a mousepad to produce — is wallpaper. The challenge is that there are so many of these things floating around the Web, including giant databases stuffed with them.
While you can often submit photo to wallpaper websites, there’s no guarantee that they’ll keep your marketing details on the image when they release it. A better bet then is to target specific websites. If you like photographing cats, for example, offer wallpapers (or screensavers) to your favorite feline site. If you shoot cars, make them available to an automobile website. Include the site’s own logo and URL together with yours and you’ll seal the deal while targeting a niche market.
4. Talk to Galleries
For most photographers, getting their photos seen in a gallery is the ultimate prize. Nothing brings greater respect — and few things bring higher prices.
Unless you’re already known though, touting your pictures to gallery owners is rarely fun. That’s because you have to offer more than just good images (although you’ll certainly need to offer that).
You’ll have to bring buyers too.
If there are people in your area who buy your photos on eBay or from your website, ask them if they’d like to see an exhibition. If you can find enough people willing to buy your art in person, gallery owners will listen… and you’ll get a chance at showing your photos to the public too.
5. Have a Cup of Coffee
And if you don’t have buyers yet, try coffee shops. Lots of café’s today are happy to host artworks on their walls in return for a temporary upgrade in their interior design. You’ll even be able to stick a price tag next to the print.
Café owners are much more approachable than gallery owners and you won’t have to persuade them that you can sell. You might not get the ego boost that comes with a gallery exhibition, but you’ll get seen and that’s a start.
6. Chat on Flickr
Of course, you can always put your photos on Flickr. But it doesn’t matter how good your photostream is if no one knows you’re there. Marketing on Flickr is pretty simple but requires a unique approach.You have to network.You have to leave comments on other people’s photos, join groups and chat in the forums. Do that and you won’t just have good photos on Flickr. You won’t just have new photography-loving friends either. You’ll have new photography-loving friends who like looking at your wonderful pictures… and telling you how wonderful they are
.7. Attend Art Fairs
Now, why didn’t you think of that? Probably because you saw the word “art” and thought “That’s not me…”
Wrong. That can be you. Photography is an art and your photos can be shown at your local art fairs. All you have to do is find out which shows are taking place in your area, give the organizers a call and ask them how to exhibit. It might cost you a little, but no more than a few sales will cover.
8. Do the SEO
Yes, it’s boring. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it has about as much to do with photography as taking the dog out in the morning has to do with exercise. But it gets results.
Optimize your photography site, get links around the Web and selected keywords riding high on Google and you’ll get people looking at your photos. And that’s where the pleasure will be.
9. Create a Design Team
It’s not always easy dreaming up new ways to show off your photos — especially when you don’t have a marketing budget, a studio, a gallery or even a website with more viewers than you and your cat.
So find someone who can dream up ideas for you.
Designers, both interior and graphic, have imagination but lack images. Get in touch with a designer near you and suggest that he or she offers your prints to their clients. You’ll get seen, and if you get bought, you’ll get a fee too.
10. Join a Wedding Team
It’s not only designers that need good photos though. Wedding planners do too. While it’s up to wedding planners to organize the big day, no one expects them to take the pictures as well. Ask a wedding planner in your area to look at your portfolio and, more importantly, show it to clients. They might have their own system in place already, but if your photos offer something unique, you could attract their interest and pick up some new buyers.
11. Hold Charity Exhibitions
If you’re still dreaming of your first gallery exhibition, but don’t want to face the gallery owners, try talking to a non-profit. If you can shoot a collection of images that relate to the group’s theme, they could be interested in organizing a show for you. You’ll get a venue and a show while they handle the marketing and the publicity. You won’t make money from the show itself but you can hand out cards and programs.
12. Submit your Band Photos to a Fan Site
Music fans will snap up any images of their idols. Put them on your own site and you’ll have to bring people in to see them. Send a few of them to a fan site, with your attribution and link big and clear, and you’ll make someone else do the marketing work while you pick up the views… and the rewards too.
Putting your images in front of people might be the first step in building a photography business, but it’s not as difficult as it loos. There are lots of ways to show your images — you just need to be ready to turn them into cash once you’ve done it.
Read our 52 Ways to Monetize your Photos and tell us how you show off your images.
[tags] photography marketing, getting photos seen [/tags]