This post was last updated on May 12, 2020.
Today, the internet is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. The same holds true when it comes to promoting your photography business. In the 21st century, the chances are huge that new clients will find you through a Google search, an Instagram post, or a positive review on Facebook.
By harnessing the power of these online tools, you too will be able to bring more eyes to your work. This comprehensive guide includes the best free tools to promote your photography business online, and bring more potential customers to your photography website.
Here are the best free tools to promote your photography business online:
Create a unique photography website
Do your SEO
Start a blog
Send good old newsletters
Master the power of social media
Experiment with PPC promotion
Get featured on photography blogs
Register on online directories
Enter photography contests
Personalize your email signature
01. Create a unique photography website
Your professional photographer website, also known as your online portfolio, is the place where people can discover who you are and what current projects you’re working on. You should see it as the center of your photography promotion strategy, as you’ll be sharing its domain name everywhere, from your social accounts to the business cards that you proudly hand to potential clients. It goes without saying, but this site needs to look as good as your images do.
Don’t know where to start? You can create your own outstanding portfolio using professionally-designed photography website templates. With an intuitive interface and offering a wide array of sophisticated features, the Wix website builder meets the demands of photographers. You’ll be able to craft a unique website that truly showcases your art in its best light.
Create your account in one click, add the Wix Pro Gallery, put your name and practice in big lettering on the homepage, and create a contact form to get your business rolling. You will also be able to sell photos online, both as digital copies and prints, with the Wix Art Store. Finally, make sure your photography website is mobile-friendly, and you’re good to go!
Expert tip: Want to know more? Here is our step-by-step guide on how to create a complete photography website.
02. Do your SEO
These three simple letters, which stand for search engine optimization, may just be the most powerful tool to promote your photography business online. Basically, SEO means working on your website to make sure that search engines like Google will easily find it, and rank it in a high position on results pages.
Some areas are far more competitive than others, both in terms of types of photography and local SEO rivalry. For example, a “pet photographer in Duluth” (732,000 results) will face far less competition than a “portrait photographer in Los Angeles” (604,000,000 results). However, the principles remain the same.
You’ll need to start by doing some keyword research to find the words that a client looking for a business like yours will type into their favorite search engine. Once you have them, make sure they appear clearly in your URL, your page titles, and your SEO title.
Lastly, you should extend your optimization efforts to the photos displayed on your site. Add SEO-friendly alt text to every image to increase your chances of being found on page results as well as image searches.
03. Start a blog
A blog offers a great platform through which to interact with clients and people interested in photography. It also allows them to get to know your business better. Having a blog makes it possible for visitors to reach your site through non-branded keywords, that is, by searching for topics you’ve written about.
As for the technicalities, Wix makes it super easy to create a blog that you’ll connect in just one click to your site. The only difficulty? Writing. Like most photographers, you’re probably more comfortable with a pair of lenses than you are with a keyboard – or God forbid, a pen! But don’t worry, writing a photography blog will be much easier than you think.
Remember that a blog is meant to talk about yourself on a casual level. The text has to be less directly commercial than your site. While there are plenty of blog ideas you could write about, consider offering your readers valuable advice on your area of expertise. The content will not only be helpful, but you’ll also be setting yourself as an expert in your field. For example, if you’re specialized in travel photography, you can write about “The Camera Accessories You Should Always Carry with You,” “10 Travel Photography Tips That Changed My Life” or “Light 101: The Ultimate Guide to the Photography Golden Hour.”
Expert tip: Once you have a repertoire of articles, reach out to brands and well-known photographers. Send them your texts, ask for their advice, and offer to co-write articles or guest-blog. As they share links to your blog, you’ll get backlinks to further promote your photography business and boost your SEO.
04. Send good old newsletters
Today more than ever, companies – big, middle, and small – reach out to their clients using newsletters. And there's a good reason for that: email is 40 times more effective than social media at acquiring new customers. A newsletter can be an excellent way to promote your photography business, or get more exposure for your creations. You have plenty of occasions to engage with your community, from New Year wishes to your latest blog article, a client’s birthday, or a promotional offer for Valentine’s Day.
A few rules have to be kept in mind. First, a beautiful newsletter design is an absolute must, and will considerably increase the success of your emails. You can easily do so with Wix Email Marketing, a free and user-friendly solution for your newsletters. Choose the template that fits your brand identity the most, upload your pictures and text, and it’s a done deal!
Second, make sure your content is relevant for the subscribers you’re sending it to. Do you really want to send your latest wedding photography package to the happily married couples in your database? Segment your audience as much as you can, to raise the relevancy – and thus, the success – of your campaigns.
Expert tip: Don’t forget to personalize your newsletters. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Doesn’t cost that much to say “Hello Debbie!” instead of “Hello there!”
05. Master the power of social media
In order to effectively promote your photography business, being present and active on social media is an absolute must. While the various platforms are built on the same principle (building a community with whom you’ll share your content), each one emphasizes a different medium.
As a photographer, you probably have a collection of beautiful pictures to choose from that will work well on all kinds of social platforms. These can be divided into two categories. The first is made up of general social media, used by a wide audience – such as Facebook (2.5 billions users!), Twitter, and Pinterest. The second group is the photography-specialized platforms, such as Instagram, 500px, or FlickR.
Whichever social media channel you choose to invest in, there are some general unwritten rules you should know about:
Post regularly but never spam your community with too many posts each day. Once or twice a day on Facebook and Instagram should do the trick.
Add a caption to your image, in order to boost the reach and engagement.
Use the right photography hashtags to get more eyes on your posts.
Expert tip: Want to create even more of an impact? Here are the major Instagram tips every photographer should know, and a full guide covering Facebook tips for photographers.
06. Experiment with PPC promotion
Just like in any other industry, advertising plays a big role in the success of a photography business. But in 2020, we’re no longer talking about the Mad Men way (fancy advertisers with fancy slogans and fancy suits). On the contrary: PPC (Pay-Per-Click) promotion is all about doing it yourself. Whether on Facebook or on Google, the idea is to put your content online, and to only pay for the actual clicks you receive. While this photography promotion tool is not exactly free, the cost is very low and the return on investment can be sensational.
To run a successful PPC campaign, you first need to find the right target audience. It should be people that might be interested in your services (for example, young adults living in your area if you’re a wedding photographer). Then, you need to create the content. It has to be straight to the point, with a very clear call-to-action, such as “Discover my offer!” “Book now!” or “Click to know more!”
Afterwards, decide on the budget you want to allocate to your campaign. It’s good practice to start with a small amount of money, and raise the stakes when you see the first clients coming in. Finally, use website analytics tools to track the impact of the campaigns. It’s the best way to make the next campaign even better than the previous one.
Expert tip: To take it a step further, have a look at our complete beginner’s guide on pay-per-click advertising.
07. Get featured on photography blogs
Many quality photography blogs showcase talented photographers, exposing their works to new audiences. To catch the eyes of the blogs’ editors, your images need to be unique and engaging. If you’re selected, it’s a free photography promotion opportunity that you don’t want to miss.
Speaking of quality blogs, the Wix Photography Blog is glad to collect and display the works of our amazing Wix photographers. We’ll be happy to showcase your work to our community, via a post on our Facebook page, an Instagram feature, or a full interview on our blog. All you have to do is leave a comment under this article.
08. Register on online directories
Directories and listing websites such as Bing Places, The Yellow Pages, or Yelp are go-to places that people frequently turn to in order to find a business in their geographical area. If you photograph events, weddings, newborns, or portraits, free online directories should be one of the first places you promote your photography business.
If you have a physical studio, don’t forget to add its address and details into Google My Business. This way, when people find you on Google, they won’t only see your website, but also a map including your location, work hours, and contact information. It looks like a small change, but it can dramatically boost your conversion.
09. Enter photography contests
Taking part in competitions is a great and (most of the time) free way to put your name and photography in the spotlight. There are hundreds of amazing photography contests running all throughout the year for every possible genre.
Of course, only a few photographers make it to the top. But on the way there, you’ll get many opportunities to get showcased by photography magazines and online publications. Plus, the adrenaline that pumps through your veins caused by competitions can only benefit your creativity.
10. Personalize your email signature
Your email signature is possibly the quickest and most discreet way to spread your name. Most of today’s inboxes offer you the possibility to personalize the signature that will appear automatically at the bottom of all your electronic messages. Make sure you add your brand, specialties and contact info, as well as a link to your social networks and photography website. Who said that online photography promotion required a lot of time and effort?