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The Right Way to Market a Photography Business

Do you have a photography business, or planning to start one soon? Not sure on how to go about marketing your skills? Don’t worry- we’ll teach you the right way to market your photography business in 8 steps! 

Decide on your Niche 

Sure, you love photography and want to make money off of your skills. You’ve dipped your feet in a lot of different fields and have considerable skills in each of them. The thing is, it is much easier to focus on one field and start building your reputation and market from there. Once you’ve had success in that, you can always branch out and offer more services to your customers. This will be easier to do, as they already trust you and are excited to see what else you have in store for them. 

Build your Online Portfolio 

Pretty much everything is online now- from what we ate this morning, to embarrassing memories from 10 years ago, and of course, companies and brands. A lot of people browse online for whatever things or services they need, and then either purchase there or in person. That said, marketing your photography skills is a great thing to do online as well. 

A good way to start this is through a solid online portfolio. It does not only showcase your skills and serve as a guarantee of the quality that you can deliver, but is also a great way to attract new customers and keep them coming back to your platform. After all, great photos are pleasing to look at every so often. 

Start a Photography Blog 

Let’s admit it- everyone loves free things, and this includes free information. Sharing your knowledge about photography and related subject matters by having a dedicated blog is a great way to let customers know that you are: 

  • Generous enough to not keep all the tricks of the trade to yourself, and 
  • Actually have the skills and the know-how on photography 

Maximize your Social Media Presence 

This is somewhat connected to having an online portfolio and a photography blog, but allows for more creativity and casual engagement. Everyone is always online and always on their social media accounts. If they can see you there, that’s one huge step to letting them know you exist. 

There are a lot of ways to maximize your presence, which is not limited to posting your past projects and tagging your previous customers (although, whenever you can, definitely do this). You can post behind the scenes of projects you are currently working on, and other fun updates and tidbits of information related to your craft. 

You can also invest in paid advertisements so that your page and posts get seen by a wider audience, although this approach is recommended once you have already established a solid presence and engagement. 

Get Referrals and Reviews 

When you do tag your customers, don’t simply end things there. After a successful project, take the time to ask them to leave a review on your page or website, and maybe give you a referral for future projects. Building a healthy account of reviews and referrals goes a long way into establishing your reputation in the field (and getting you more customers). 

Offer Special Deals and Freebies 

No, we don’t mean work cheap- or worse, work for free. The arts industry is overworked and underpaid (not to mention undervalued) as it is. Still, deals and freebies are one sure way to attract customers. So, how do you do it without underselling yourself? 

One way is to create packages that cater more exactly to what your customers need, rather than having them go through each service and nitpick the specific things that they want. Another one is to throw in, say, a couple of extra photos as freebies in the package they are availing. After all, you already have these photos and just need to spend a few more minutes in editing. 

It’s up to you how to package your services in such a way that is attractive to the customers and caters to their specific needs while still being beneficial for you. 

Contests, Awards, and Features 

You can either join them- these are available on a lot of photography websites, apps, and platforms (some are for free, and some come with a participation fee)- to better establish your reputation, and even earn some extra cash if you win. Or you can post your own contests, awards programs, and photo features. This helps you engage better with your customers, and you can do it without spending a dime if you market it right. 

Attend Workshops and Conferences 

Finally, don’t forget to keep honing your craft (and build connections with your fellow photographers) by attending workshops and conferences relating to photography. There is always something new and fun to learn that can only help you get better with your skills and improve the services you are offering your customers. 

Maria Martinez – Our October Member Highlight

You have to meet Maria of Maria Nicole Photography!  She has been a member here at the Libertyville location of Studio Share Photography for over a year and a half.  She has an infections laugh and a creative drive none can match!

Why do I want to introduce you to these photographers?  Just to get you a peek inside some of the other togs on the front lines with you – maybe make you feel a little more ‘normal’ (whatever that is) and not alone.  

Maria is a Nikon shooter and her favorite lens is the 70-200 2.8.  She shoots in both natural light and studio light depending on the nature of the shoot.  

She lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago because this is where her family is from.   Maria’s family consists of my 3 babies: Joshua 5, Ariana 3, and Miss Ainsley who is 5 months along with her wonderful finance John and lab Dakota!  She is also very close with her parents, sister, grandma as well as her aunt and family! She considers her friends my family as well <3  (so basically Maria is a lover of people and has her hands and heart full!)

Maria has been in business for 3 years.  Sh started in photography when she was young and always had a passion for it.  In high school her passion really developed with film and then it turned into her career.  She specializes in family photography and high school seniors but loves weddings and events as well.  She ends up photographing many newborns as well.  Because she does weddings and families, those families begin to grow and come back to her for more!

I asked Maria what photographers inspired her and this was her reply:  “Oh my goodness, my list of photographers that inspire me is longer than my contact list in my phone! I love so many photographers from their style of work to just the way they are as people”

The hardest thing about being a photographer for Maria?  Blogging. haha, no seriously.  Can you relate?  It seems like there are a lot of us who intend to blog, but never get to it.  That intention list can get long….

When I asked Maria about a time when she was afraid in her business, she said she’s had many times…whether it was how to get clients or tough sessions.  Talking to other photographers has helped her tremendously.  Also taking the time to really know who SHE is as a photographer is a big deal. (tru dat)

I’m always intrigued to know what a piece of advice a member would give to a fellow tog.  Maria said to just “breathe.. and be YOURSELF. okay that is two but breathing should be a given, lol”

Maria decided to be part of Studio Share Photography because she needed to get out of her parents’ basement.  HAHAH  But really, she wanted a professional space to go with the professional business she had developed. (for real – isn’t that so common?  cramped in a space that is in their house or someone else’s…and they are ready for a change…something more professional…can you relate??)   Maria has seen her business grow at the share just from having the opportunity to learn from other members.  She hopes in the next 5 years to grow in her skill as well as on the ‘business’ side!

Many of you can relate – when I asked Maria if she’d rather stay up late or get up early to edit.  She said, “stay up late to edit”.  Yes.  I agree.  I wish I was a morning person.  And what would she snack on while she works?  Something sweet and salty, of course.  

Are you in need of a local community of photographers to be encouraged, resourced and propelled forward?  How about a professional, fully-equipped indoor studio to use during the long winter months ahead?  Contact us.  We’d love to get you connected.  

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Meet Patrick – Studio Share Photography Member

I think everyone needs a Patrick Simmons at their studio – just sayin’.   He is an excellent photographer with a humble heart and and is always ready to help.  Patrick has been a member of Studio Share Photography for about 9 months.  Check out his work!

I asked Patrick to be our Member Highlight for September – so we are just squeaking it in before the end of the month!  Why do I blog about our members?  I think it helps us all realize that we are not alone – that we have a lot in common with each other – that maybe by hearing a brief story about someone else’s business, we might be encouraged to keep going.  Here are a few questions I asked him:

Which side are you on?


What’s your favorite lens to shoot with?

Depends on the job but mostly 105 macro

Does your work consist of natural or studio light?

Either – depending on the situation

Are you from the area? Why do you live in the midwest?

Originally from Tennessee in a small farm town near Memphis. Came here for school then met my wife and the rest is history.

How long have you been in business?

I’ve been in business for 2 years

What got you started in photography? And how did you build your skill set?

I started with film back in the 90’s shooting for newspapers then got away from photography to pursue my IT career. Back in 2011 I caught the bug again and the passion is stronger than ever. I developed my skills mainly from hours and hours of practice; tons and tons of dedication and many sleepless nights practicing.

What type of photography do you specialize in?

I specialize in beauty and advertising photography [shooting] mostly models for beauty and ad campaigns

What are the names of 1 or 2 photographers that inspire you?

Russell James and Yulia Gorbachenko

What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

Balancing family life and work

What has been surprisingly easy? (if anything)

Nothing has been easy but understanding light has come more natural than anything else.

Would you be willing to briefly tell about a time that you were afraid in your business? And how you worked through that?

When I first officially started my business I was not getting a lot of responses from my marketing. The key that I learned the hard way was to stay consistent and never give up.

If you could share one piece of advice with a photographer just starting out, what would you tell them?

Never give up. It is not an easy road but keep the faith and you will make it through. If it was easy you would not appreciate your success as much.

Why did you decide to be part of Studio Share Photography?

I needed a studio that was close to home that I could shoot out of when I am in town. I travel a lot between Chicago, New York and LA so it didn’t really make sense to buy a studio since I wouldn’t be in there a lot.

5 years from now, where do you see yourself and your business?

5 Years from now I see myself having 4 home bases (Chicago, LA, NYC and Milan). Those bases will home a full production team including retouchers.

Would you rather get up early or stay up late to edit?

Stay up late to edit

Would you rather eat something sweet or salty?


I love the fact that SSP has such a variety of people who use the space:  from beauty to products to families to babies!  Their images continue to amaze me.  If you are in need of a studio space and live up in the north/northwest suburbs of Chicago, Studio Share Photography has two locations that are fully equipped with natural and studio light.  Contact us today!