05 Jan 4 Marketing Tips For Car Photography Businesses
Best Practices To Promote Yourself As An Automotive Photographer
As the owner of a Denver photography business myself, I had to learn the hard way that in order to succeed, you need more than raw talent alone. Not only do you need an inspired sense of creativity, but you also need real business savvy to know how to market yourself in an effective manner. With that in mind, today’s blog post will focus on four tips for marketing your photography business.
These are the four elements that all aspiring artists should keep in mind throughout their personal process and journey towards (hopefully) becoming a professional photographer.
Top 4 ideas in order to market your photography business
- Market yourself at car shows and “cruises”
- Visit Local & New Auto Shops
- Build an online presence on social media
- Connect with Automotive Industry Professionals
1. Build an online presence and social media brand
The digital marketing elements of a photography business are arguably the most important ingredients to achieving long-term audience traffic and overall professional success. This holds true for pretty much any industry, whether it be a creative pursuit or a technical area of expertise.
When it comes to automotive photographers and other creative types, you stand to gain the most by investing your marketing energies into social media platforms. In particular, Facebook and Instagram are the most effective outlets for designing an online “portfolio”, as well as for generating new leads and recurring clients.
There are a plethora of tips and best practices for growing social media, even when you limit the scope to Instagram and Facebook. For the purposes of this article, we can really only skim the surface.
Plenty of other sites are viable options for building an online presence as a photographer. As a business owner myself, when I’m working on marketing David Glessner Photography, I especially love Behance and Flickr to show off my favorite shots. Both of these social media platforms are similar to Instagram, which is great for intuitive usability, but the benefits don’t stop there.
These photo-sharing sites provide much more customizability and editing functionality than Instagram. For instance, on Flickr, you can better optimize the alt text descriptions of your photos in order to boost your organic search engine rankings on Google. Plus, both Flickr and Behance allow you to post a higher resolution of quality photo files, and to do so without that annoying 4×5 crop to fit IG’s aspect ratio.
Keep in mind that digital marketing is really a game of quality car photography more than it’s about producing a certain quantity of creative assets. In other words, the more online platforms you use doesn’t necessarily mean more online presence — some are simply more useful than others.
Last but not least, LinkedIn is one of my favorite ways to publish photos, and even in this industry, it’s almost always less saturated. Because you’re competing with fewer opponents, LinkedIn can help you fine-tune your efforts to find and develop connections in your given niche, whether you prefer automotive photography, commercial shoots, portraiture, or another area of artistic expertise.
For social media platforms such as LinkedIn, I recommend having a business page for your photography work, and a personal page for other interactions or for generating communication through a less commercial lens. For example, in order to market David Glessner Photography, I used LinkedIn connections to showcase the behind-the-scenes action of some of my shoots, along with regular posts that update follows about new work or upcoming events that can be linked back to my site.
2. Attend Local Car Shows
Although it can be difficult to attend even several automotive events with a full-time job on your plate, it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Simply visiting one or two per month during the summer, the peak of “car show season”, can most certainly yield benefits for your photography business.
Car cruises are awesome because most of the time you’ll have immediate access to a ton of auto enthusiasts, all with various types of unique or high-end vehicles. Plus, these cruises usually take place in gorgeous natural areas with scenic drives, which offer plenty more opportunities for potential shots. Best of all, you’ll get to meet new people and talk about your common interests. You never know — a conversation could turn into a lifelong client.
To get started, I recommend taking photos along the way of the car cruise. Show the shots to the owners to get more eyes on your work, or even to get some feedback on what you could do differently to enhance your automotive photography. Edit the photos that you took on the cruise, then share them to various online platforms (Facebook has lots of relevant groups in this industry). This digital marketing and geo-targeting makes a fierce combo — you’ll get contact with tons of car enthusiasts in your area. Just make sure to edit the photos as soon as possible after the event, so the owners can share your photos when it’s still timely and relevant to do so.
There is always an opportunity to set up future shoots with enthusiastic car owners, and it’s more than feasible to get hired for one or more jobs after a cruise. Double-check your equipment’s working properly, get plenty of photos, select your best, edit, and share them with the owners. If the photos are good enough, definitely add them to your online social media accounts and portfolio site — you may even be able to start selling them as well!
3. Visit Auto Shops In Your Area
There are tons of opportunities to market your best car photography at shows, but in the middle of the week, stop by some of your favorite auto shops or newly opened mechanics. These are easy to discover by searching Google or even Instagram.
When approaching a small business about your work, there are two steps to securing a client. First, visit the shop in person and ask for permission to take a couple of photos for the owner or manager. If they like the result, ask them how they might feel about collaborating on future work and similar photo projects.
If you can, call ahead to notify the auto shop. See if you can get in touch with someone who is in a manager role or deals with new hires and/or the financial side of things. I would strongly dissuade you from simply showing up unannounced to throw your work in their face. It doesn’t look becoming to introduce yourself by flaunting a business card with a portfolio website URL or an Instagram profile. Not calling ahead looks unprofessional and 95% of the time will not work out in your favor.
For these reasons and more, I recommend getting a portfolio book for your photography work, or have something that you can give to potential clients that showcases your best shots. You can always reach out the traditional way by mailing them something too. In my experience, however, I’ve found that that kind of showcase works better with dealerships than auto shops.
4. Build relationships with automotive industry professionals
Some of my best opportunities over the years have arisen as a result of relationships with auto industry professionals that I have met and maintained communication with. No matter how important the internet may seem, perhaps the best way to get your photography to the largest audience is simply by networking with the right kind of “car people.”
It’s tough to know who to talk to in these situations, but just keep in the back of your mind that one job usually has the potential to lead to references to additional client work. The more car dealerships and auto businesses you make yourself accessible to, the more you may be able to broaden your reach of clientele and brand awareness.
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Hopefully more than one of these marketing tips can help you out as you go about getting your own photography business to grow! Comment down below to share your thoughts and add your own tips and tactics that have helped you with marketing your car photography or personal business.
If you’d like to learn more about how to market your car photography business within Denver and well outside of Colorado, please get in touch with me today! You can contact me anytime on my site, or reach out through to any of my social media accounts. Thanks for reading!