Great photographers are not always great marketers. In fact, some of the best photographers in the world still struggle to grow their visibility and fill their lead pipeline. There are dozens of marketing tools out there that promise solutions for photographers such as directories, magazine ads, social media, and more. But many fail to recognize that the best marketing tool that every photographer has is his or her own images.
They simply need to share them at the right time, in the right way, and with the right people, and awareness of their work and their brand will increase. This article teaches you just how to do that in four easy steps.
Note: the advice below is most applicable to wedding, event and portrait photographers and may not apply to genres or businesses heavily reliant on print sales such as commercial or landscape photography.
1. Share Teaser Images Within Two Days
Timing is everything. We recommend sharing “teaser” images in the first day or two after any event with both your client and the vendor team from the event. Immediately following an event, whether it be a wedding, a corporate function, a baby shower, or other, the hype around the event is at an all-time high. Sharing images soon after the event capitalizes on all of the excitement and increases the engagement on any social media posts or blog entries that include your images.
To share your images, use a simple file sharing service like Dropbox that allows you to quickly and easily send large files from any device. You can create a shared link for a file or folder, then copy that link into an email, chat, or text.
Try to avoid sharing low-resolution files as the quality of the images will likely work against you and defeat the purpose of sharing the files in the first place.
2. Expand Your Image Usage Rights
The last thing anybody wants to do is get caught up in a copyright lawsuit over shared images. Make it worry-free and easy for vendors and clients to share your images by minimizing image usage restrictions. Your original images are inherently protected by copyright, but you have several options as to how you may choose to allow others to use your images: fair use, creative commons, public domain, and so on.
For marketing purposes, whether you’re sending images to online marketplaces like WeddingWire or vendors like Details Details, we recommend granting express authorization to use the images you share on the recipient’s web and social media platforms. You can always ask that the person or business sharing your photos link back to your social media profile, website, etc. Just remember to keep it simple.
3. Remove Those Ugly Watermarks
In the business of photography, your images are your product and the success of your imagery weighs heavily on its visual appeal. Unfortunately, in an effort to maintain ownership of their product, many photographers splash large watermarks across their images whenever they share their work. Few things can curb the shareability of an image like obtrusive watermarks. This practice will definitely decrease the likelihood of your images being shared.
If you are inclined to include a watermark, keep it small and place it in a location that does not distract from the focus of the image (see the example above).
4. Dummy Proof Your Intentions And Make Suggestions
In the same message as your file delivery, include the following:
- Simple instructions
- Suggested social media hashtags
- Instagram handles for all vendors and venues involved
- Clear and simple image use restrictions
- Anything else to make sharing your images easy and pain free
If the person can simply copy and paste a message to their post, they are more likely to share. In addition, by saving them the time and effort it takes to find all of the hashtags and vendor handles, you’ll come across as a rockstar that they’ll want to work with again.
You shouldn’t need to author a novel to communicate your intentions; just cover the basics. As we’ve mentioned in previous steps, the idea for sharing your work, from selecting the service you use to share files to the permissions you grant to use those files, is to keep everything simple.
Photographers are never short on competition. It’s true that setting yourself apart from your competitors requires strategic marketing, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Although there are myriad tools with which to market your work, knowing which tools work best and how to make the most from the available tools can make all the difference. Sometimes, simplifying the process is the answer.
If your images are your best marketing tools, then the faster you can share your images with the people who will in turn re-post and share the images on their own sites and platforms, the better. Besides, you will benefit not only from the added exposure of more eyes seeing your images but also from the stronger relationships you build with fellow vendors and clients alike. As we mentioned above, the impact is highest while the event is still fresh.
What are some other ways you use file sharing to your advantage in day-to-day business?