Finding Your First Five Photography Clients

After years in the business, sometimes its difficult to think back to the very first day you opened your doors, and waited patiently until the first client came in. blue eyes portrait

Chances are even if you’re brand new, you’ve started out with friends and family. I remember doing a ton of friends, just to gain experience and to get my portfolio up to where we had something to show other prospects. That’s the best way to start.

I remember one of our dreams was to do love portraits, or photographs of two people in an image that portrayed a scene of romance. In order to get exactly the right look, Andrew photographed his brother and myself in a variety of photographs, which we used to show potential clients what we had in mind.

You have to have samples of what you truly want to do. A potential customer can’t read your mind, and they can’t picture what you describe. They have to see it to believe it, and want it.

You don’t need dozens of images. Just one or two to get your ideas across.

Then its time to get out and network. Bring your image with you and head out to a networking group. You can find dozens of them around your local area. Look in newspapers, call you chamber of commerce, or jump on Meetup.com. I had a list of a couple dozen networking opportunities after just a few minutes on Meetup.

Then go out and talk to people. It may take you several groups to find your first customer, so don’t get discouraged.

The funny thing is the more you network, the more you run into the same people again and again. I attended a lunch group yesterday and met someone new, and ran into the same person at an evening event. People at networking groups are out doing the same thing as you. You will run into the same people again and again. This builds trust and familiarity. Even if they don’t need your services, they may talk to someone later in the event and say, “You have to meet this photographer I just met…”

It will happen, just stick with it.

photo source rockesty

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About Virtual Photography

We're the co-founders of VirtualPhotographyStudio.com and have been writing on this blog since 2004. We started Virtual as a way to help photographers stretch beyond a part time income, and develop strategies to become a Five Figure Photographer or a Six Figure Photographer. Ultimately its all about lifestyle, and if your goal is to live as a photographer 24/7, we think you should have the knowledge and the tools to do so. Welcome!

Comments

  1. Loved your advice. I’m starting a videograpy business and needed more expert advice than I’m finding on video sites. Maybe they are still young. This blog is full of true down to earth information that you can use. Thanks

  2. Virtual Photography says:

    Rosa – Thanks so much for your comments. We have worked with amazing videographers over the years, but I have always been amazed at the lack of information being shared within the industry. I’m glad you’re finding some useful tools here. Really, its always about marketing.

  3. I’m a new reader of your website, but I’m quickly becoming a huge fan. This article really is appealing to me for many reasons. Can I ask a question though? In the article you mentioned bringing samples to networking groups. Does it make a difference if they are prints or not? I have this great app for my iPhone that will display the galleries on my website. Is that a suitable way of showing my samples or should I have prints in a portfolio instead?

  4. Hi Fred

    It depends on who you are meeting and what they expect. If you’re heading off to networking groups, an iPhone app is a perfect way to introduce people to your work. If you’re meeting a bride to show her your album quality, you have to have an album to show her. Corporate clients also like to be able to see and touch your work. It’s really about knowing who you are meeting and what they prefer. But the iPhone app is the best place to start, and build from there.

  5. Hi loved your advice, I’m just starting out as a photographer and have been having trouble finding clients. It’s easy to get the odd job on chance but in terms of a constant stream of customers it’s just very hard. Please check out my webpage and let me know how I can improve. Thanks!

    (www.rachmartin,carbonmade.com)

  6. Rachel, hi! I saw your post and took a look at your site. Hope you don’t mind my input! One bit of advise I could give is not to branch out too much. You may be able to do any kind of photography, but you need to be recognized in your niche. When you are too diverse in what you can do you wont be the first person to come to mind when someone thinks “I need a wedding photographer”, or whatever they are looking for. Its not to say you cant mention it, but just to create a more specific image of what you want people to think of when they think of your business. Also think demographics. What is your most likely customer base? Probably women from middle class + income levels. Guys don’t usually plan family portraits and whatnot its the woman of the house. So I recommend if your going that route to have a warm fuzzy feel on your site and advertising. Totally different look than if you were wanting to do say.. product shots for companies. Anyway, hope that helps a little.