Photography is one of the more unique occupations out there. As a professional photographer, you have the opportunity to experience and capture intimate moments, document pivotal events, travel to amazing locations, meet interesting people, and use your creativity to express yourself through art.

But it’s not an easy job. And there’s no clear cut path towards success. Often, it takes equal measures of talent, luck, and hardwork. That said, there are proven steps you can take to grow your photography business and expand your client base.

Curious how to get photography clients? Let this snapshot serve as your guide.

Develop your portfolio

If you’re just getting started, your first task is to start curating your portfolio. Without examples of your work, few people will take the risk on you, especially for something as important and expensive as wedding photos.

A portfolio is your own personal salesman. It displays your style, forte, and helps potential customers find out more about you. In most cases, it’s the first place new clients will go to try and get a sense of who you are as a photographer. And, since first impressions are everything, the quality of your portfolio will play an important part in their decision process.

Do you already have a bunch of beautiful images to choose from? If so, remember the following:

  • Pick only the best photos
  • Make sure that they’re edited
  • Keep in mind the importance of framing
  • Show off your creativity
  • Highlight your specialty

If you haven’t yet started taking pictures, now’s the time. Practice makes perfect. This is an opportunity to stretch yourself, take risks, and develop your style. Consider offering free photos to friends and family members or put out model calls.

Build a website to showcase your portfolio

You’ll need a place to host your portfolio. Your website is just the thing for that, and it will likely be the first place people visit to research your work. So, be sure to give it as much love and attention as you do your portfolio.

Fortunately, there are dozens of easy-builders for professional photography websites that you can use without any knowledge of coding. In addition, most allow you to create a site and register a domain name all in one place.

As you build your website, keep the following in mind:

  • Prominently display your work
  • Pick a template that matches
  • Stick to a cohesive theme
  • Limit the number of pictures you show off
  • Show only your best photos
  • Develop your blog for better search results
  • Make your “About Me” section shine

Focus on social

Wondering how to get clients as a freelance photographer? Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal. While Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook matter, for photographers, Instagram is an especially key channel. The photo sharing network provides an incredible opportunity to organically increase both your fan and client base.

To build your social media presence, take the following actions:

  1. Post regularly of:
    • Pictures from your recent shoots
    • Upcoming events
    • Specials and deals
    • Behind the scenes
    • Sneak peeks
  2. Use hashtags so people can find your work via search.
  3. Utilize post scheduling tools so you can automatically plan your posts ahead of time.
  4. Be creative with both the pictures itself and the entire theme of your insta page.
  5. Focus on quality over quantity.
  6. Build your community and reply to comments.
  7. Post and share other artists you love.

Utilize all of your marketing channels

Once your website, social media, and portfolio is built out, you’ll be ready to start selling your services. Now, your marketing approach will depend on your budget. But the good news is that you can market your small business even if you don’t have funds.

Ways you can market yourself include:

  • List freebies or socials on social media
  • Invest in traditional advertising
  • Create a Google Business profile
  • Purchase Google AdWords
  • Blog regularly
  • Start building an email list
  • Offer referral bonuses
  • Network with other photographers, creatives, or models
  • Share your work with photo blogs such as wedding blogs

Protect your photography business

Whenever there’s a photo shoot, you expose yourself to liability. For instance, a client could hurt themselves while visiting your studio. Or your equipment could damage the property you’re shooting at. Should those things occur, you could be liable for paying for the damages. Knowing this, as soon as you start working with clients, it’s vital that you make sure that your business is protected from risk.

But how? With a business insurance policy. Together, Thimble’s Photographer Insurance (which includes both general and professional liability) helps protect you from third-party claims of:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and advertising injury
  • Errors and omissions

Thimble is the small business insurance partner that photographers are turning to. Why? Because it’s more affordable and flexible than traditional insurance policies. Our on-demand policies go by the hour, day, or month, tailored specifically to when you’re shooting.

Have a last minute shoot? No problem. A policy can be purchased in less than 60 seconds. Need to show proof of insurance to land a gig? With Thimble, you can have as many COIs (Certificate of Insurance) as you want for free.

With a Thimble policy, you’d have the peace of mind you need to operate your small business confidently. To get started, follow a few simple steps and get a quote in less than 60 seconds.

Lastly, when it comes to gaining new clients, the more professional you carry yourself, the likelier they’ll be to work with you. By having the right insurance in place, you tell your potential clients that you take your work seriously, building safeguards for them and your business should something go wrong.

It’s one more reason to hire you.