by Scott Bourne
Let's start with the basics. You can't find customers when you're playing video games or watching TV. Get off the couch. Nobody will hire you while you eat popcorn and watch Jerry Springer. Start knocking on doors right now - today - this instant.
Here are seven things you can today - now - to start getting more business.
1. Make a brochure or flier - on your own computer if you don't have the resources to get it done professionally, and place them under the door of every business in your zip code offering to make executive portraits or headshots. If you are faithful to put one under EVERY door, you'll have calls the next day in most cases.
2. Ask your local library if you can teach a free photography class there and announce it in your local newspaper. The public relations opportunity will get you in front of many people and establish you as the expert when it comes to photography.
3. Ask local doctor's offices if they'd be interested in a "leasing" program that keeps them in fresh artwork on their office walls, with free installation, maintenance and rotation. Then come up with a monthly lease fee that is roughly one fifth the price of your usual fine art prints. At the end of the year you'll have made more than double your usual fee and you'll still own the prints.
4. Have an open house of your studio or host a chamber of commerce mixer there. Letting people see your work is the number one way to get new business.
5. Personally telephone each and every one of your past clients and offer them a free print or sitting fee if they come in for new portraits. Also ask them for referrals.
6. Meet vendors who work in your space. If you are a wedding photographer, meet all the cake makers, limo drivers, dress makers, etc. If you photograph pets meet the people who run the local animal shelter, pet food stores and veterinarians. Ask them to do cross promotion with you.
7. Search Twitter and other social media sites for locals who are asking photography questions. Be helpful and answer without making a sales pitch. This will help establish your credibility as a professional and potentially yield you news prospects.
Selling your photography is about taking action - doing something - not just planning it, thinking about it, dreaming about it, etc. You have to do it to get paid. Good luck.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.