It appears this difficulty is not uncommon as Chris Floyd a British photographer focusing on working with celebrities says:
“I have never tried to get new clients. This is my biggest weakness. I’m a terrible salesman. I find the whole thing cringingly painful.” (Pritchard 2017)
For me, it has to be personal, in terms of an approach that works and I am comfortable with. Lisa Pritchard refers to twenty ways of getting yourself noticed. In this post I am going to refer to those I think are most appropriate and start to put together an action plan:
A strong, constantly refreshed body of work
For me, this is very important in building my brand and getting my work out there. In my wildlife work I have relied on two or three holidays a year focusing on my photography. Although I have captured a few iconic shots, being opportunist and not being able to return consistently to make images is not a sustainable way of having the volume and new images to refresh and confirm the brand. One of the real results of doing the MA Photography alongside retiring from full-time work has enabled me to focus more on my photography, and the Research Project The Road to Elgol has required me to return time and time again to photograph familiar and newly-discovered aspects of the road. I am hoping that spending long periods of time on Skye will enable me to build a significant body of work.
A well-designed brand identity
This is another area that I need to work on. At the moment I do not have a logo or even a consistent name for my business. I have two domain names: Wild Reflections Photography and Photography to Inspire. I need to decide on the future branding strategy and how to present my business.
A great website
Again, the MA Photography has enabled me to work on my website and whilst I am still not satisfied with its look and feel I now have many more recent images, add to it on a regular basis and feel more confident in the practicalities of managing a website.
I have also created my Critical Research Journal on WordPress and post four entries a week and engage with my forty followers.
I have recently attended a WordPress Masterclass run by The Guardian which has helped me to understand better the opportunities available in running an effective website. There is much still to do but I feel I am making progress. I need to decide whether to convert my website and blog to one platform and then think about logos, presentation and monetisation. I need to think about content and how I make the most of search engines, navigation and making sure it is mobile and tablet-friendly, although I believe this is the case.
This area is something I need to embrace. I feel I have made progress and now have Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest, a WordPress blog and produced short videos on Vimeo. I have not yet used all of them as a means to share and engage regularly with a community. I feel wary of moving forward in this area and need to decide what applications and approaches will best serve my business needs moving forward. My instinct is that I also need to join Instagram.
A target list of prospective clients
This is something I thought about in connection with the Business Plan exercise. My images are currently mainly Fine Art. It seems to me that my clients are likely to be those that run galleries and art communities.
A printed portfolio
This is not something I have thought about recently but given my concentration on Fine Art images and the need to engage with gallery owners a portfolio would be a useful addition. It would be a means of not only showing the focus of my work but also its quality in terms of the prints I produce. I will investigate options as part of this module.
Getting listed in directories
An annual booklet entitled Skye Art lists all the personal and commercial art outlets on the island. It includes individual businesses and also Art outlets that sell on behalf of a number of artists. It will be important to be advertised through this publication that is provided to B&Bs, hotels, cafes and other tourist outlets.
I was shortlisted for two international photography competitions at the first time of trying. I have not entered any since. I do feel that this is something I should do. Even a commended image in one of these competitions –such as Landscape Photographer of the Year would enhance my profile.
Have a plan
I intend to write a marketing plan as part of my work for this module.
Build an excellent reputation
I hope I know what I am doing here but I need to constantly remind myself about the need to deliver excellent customer service and provide top-quality work. I need to ensure every aspect of my business from contract, invoice, delivery and sorting out problems is flawless. For me, the dangers are in the technical side – ensuring websites work effectively and provides a good customer experience.
Pritchard, L (2017) Running a Successful Photography Business, Bloomsbury, London