Lessons Learnt at The Photography Show

This post is in paid partnership with The Photography Show and The Video show but as always all opinions are my own. 

Back in March I attended The Photography Show and The Video Show at the NEC in Birmingham. To kick-start the morning I was booked onto the Pro conference sessions. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you the lessons I learnt from my favourite session as I came away with lots of notes and there may be some information that you lovely lot would also find helpful. So let’s jump in!

The talk I want to tell you all about was called ‘Essential Marketing for Photographers’. It is something I have always known to be a priceless asset as a photographer so I was very intrigued as to what would be included in the talk. It was hosted by Rachel Rogers who is the marketing manager for the Association Of Photographers (AOP).

Rachel started off by saying ‘You are the best person to market yourself’ which I completely agree with, even if you’re able to delegate some of your marketing to another person, the ideas and strategy have to come from you. It is a priceless skill to be able to market yourself and your brand. I have learnt so many marketing skills over the last six years and it’s a skill I know I will always be adding to and will continue to grow and grow. Rachel discussed the three topics below and she talked a little about each of them and how they can benefit you as a photographer. 

Mastering Instagram

Optimise your bio – Make sure your profile bio outlines what you do as a photographer and links to your website or another asset you have whether that’s an ebook or newsletter signup form, but most importantly make sure there is a link to some sort of portfolio. Websites like linktree allow you to add multiple links to your bio all under one link.

Be active on a regular basis – Engage with the communities and clients you would like to work with. Follow the art director from your favourite magazine or the stylist that just worked on an epic shoot you loved and comment on their posts, reply to their stories and begin to build a relationship with the people you’d like to work with.

Use stories (and highlights) effectively when possible – People like to engage with and see the person who’s behind the account. Using stories and saving them to your highlights is a great way to show your followers additional content that doesn’t stay on your main feed. Perhaps it could be behind the scenes photos from a shoot or even a Q&A using instagram’s ‘questions’ feature.

Be consistent with posting – Make sure you are uploading content on a regular basis and updating your grid photos. You can use scheduling tools like ‘hoot suite’ if you’d like to plan and schedule weeks of content at a time.

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not – In the end you will be found out, it’s a platform to embrace your real self and find your tribe that can become your support network online.

Be Ambitious – Engage with instagram weekly prompts, each week they set a theme and people submit photos and instagram share the ones they love. Share your portfolio work, share your personal work, you never know where your next client is going to come from and they may just spot you on instagram. Don’t use the same hashtags for every post, be specific to the content you are posting as it then has more chances of being seen with the current algorithm.

Always make sure that the imagery you’re sharing conveys your style. Talk about what inspires you within your captions and use the tools like the gallery/carousel of photos in an effective way to engage your audience, and always remember that knowledge is currency. 

Getting your work in front of commissioners

Enter Photography Awards – If a judge likes your work and it stands out, they’ll be likely to remember you. For starters take a look at the ‘AOP Awards’ and the ‘Portrait of Britain’

Attend and exhibit at Photography festivals – Check out the ones that are local to your area and if you can and would like to, get involved otherwise attend and network to meet new people and potential new clients. 

Attend private views – Sign up to the mailing list of your favourite galleries and photographers/artists and they’ll tend to give you a heads up when a new exhibition is launching and when the private view for that exhibition will be. 

Attend talks and events – Going to photographic events allows you to meet lots of people and build your network of fellow creatives along with prospective clients. Definitely have a look at publishing houses and photographers directly along with event spaces for this one.

Use your networks to your advantage – Map out all of the people within your industry that you know, use who you know and not what you know to your advantage. Say that you need some advice on putting on an exhibition and that you know someone that works at a gallery, then contact them and ask for some help. The likelihood is if they can’t help you directly they can pass your details onto someone that will be able to help you.

Taking your portfolio to meetings – Have an up-to-date portfolio in printed or electronic form and tailor it for the client you may be meeting with so it is specific to their interests and needs. It has far more impact showing prospective clients a portfolio that you have thought about and are proud of rather than just bringing up your website with a wider range of images that may not be so relevant.

Direct Email Campaigns

Direct email campaigns can be a great way to reach out to people on a regular basis. I use a service called ‘Mailchimp’ for my own monthly newsletter ‘Remember, Rewind & Reset’. It is an exceptional tool that can help you craft a unique and creative newsletter easily and effectively, and to schedule it to be sent to your subscriber list, and one of the best bits is that it’s free up to 1000 subscribers which helps give you a really good start.

Invest in purchasing mailing lists from sites like ‘bikini lists’ – Using a reputable mailing list from a company which has essentially done a lot of hard work for you, like sourcing clients in the sectors you are wanting to contact. You can purchase these mailing lists and contact them directly with your email campaign.

Create well constructed campaigns – Sign up to a few photographers/creatives whose style and brand you like the look of aesthetically and then be inspired by their email campaigns and the formats what aspects of their campaign do you like?  Looking at others who you deem to be successful will help you when making your own campaign.

Give your campaign character and personality – It’s important to remember not to directly copy another creatives work. At the end of the day your campaign has got to include your personality and character otherwise it could be anyone’s campaign, tailor it and make it specific to you!

Throughout her presentation Rachel linked back to examples she was describing from different photographers including Emma Turnbridge, Sam Robinson and Charlie Clift. I found all of their work very inspiring and it was nice to see such a range of photographers work from different sectors.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of what I learnt from the pro conference sessions and I do hope that they may of been some help to you. I always find info like this so interesting so I hope it will be able to help you in some way too.


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