Business + Marketing

4 Strategies to Promote Your Photography Business

October 22, 2021

By Christie Osborne

© paulaphoto/

Photographers face the toughest challenge of all when looking to promote photography businesses in an ever-shifting digital environment. If you follow these four digital marketing strategies, however, you'll set yourself up to future-proof your business goals.

Because of the heavily visual aspect of social ads, you might find that they’re a natural tool to promote your photography business, attract new clients and showcase your portfolio. However, to stay competitive in the market, you must be aware of the changes in how we do business online and what that means for your precious ad space.

While different social media and digital ad platforms seem maddeningly different, the fact is that modern tech giants are all intertwined—especially the big ones. When one makes a significant change, the others invariably adjust to playing by a new set of rules. Consumers and business owners alike are left scrambling to adapt as well. All you photographers out there face the toughest challenge of all when looking to promote your photography business in an ever-shifting digital environment.

[Read: How to Get Photography Clients Using a Curated Portfolio]

2021 saw one of the most fundamental changes to social media advertising with the rollout of Apple’s new iOS 14, which essentially blocked third-party cookies from tracking a user unless they opted into it. Unsurprisingly, a whopping 96 percent of iPhone users in the U.S. said, “No, thank you,” to data tracking on their smartphones. (As a consumer, you likely did as well. I know I did.)

Thanks to this change, cheap retargeting ads are now a thing of the past.

No data tracking means there’s no way to know who has already visited your website, so the game to promote your photography business must be played differently in 2022 and beyond. This shift has also limited Facebook’s ability to gather data for its algorithm, making geo-targeted cold ads more difficult and expensive than ever.

[Read: Instagram Link Stickers Will Disappear—for Some]

Now, creative professionals must plan farther ahead. One way to beat the algorithm in 2022 (and future-proof your marketing) is to diversify your marketing mix to support paid ads. In the long run, these tactics ensure steady success and drive ad costs back down.

Use these four digital marketing strategies to promote your photography business in the years to come:

  1. Map out your year in advance
  2. Rework your website for conversions
  3. Diversify your ad strategy with other platforms
  4. Reconsider your email marketing strategy

[Read: 5 Ways to Recession-Proof Your Photography Business]

Map out your year in advance.

Most creatives are no stranger to feast-or-famine timelines, with seasons of heavy website traffic and social engagement buffered by slower periods.

The key to smart marketing is to dig your well before you’re thirsty. Use the quieter periods to promote your photography business and build your audience with cheap engagement ads that attract new leads while curating your organic social presence to demonstrate brand value. When it comes time for the busy season, you’ll be primed and ready to sell your heart out, having already established a strategic marketing flow.

[Read: Pulling Off the Elevated Editorial Engagement Shoot]

For example, engagement season tends to be a sales boom for photographers as couples nail down their wedding dates and start researching wedding professionals. When you strategically use slow seasons to continue following the client’s booking journey, you can identify what couples need to know and how you can prepare them to book with you while your competition waits for another busy season. The result: you stay top-of-mind, and they don’t.

Rework your website for conversions.

A top-performing website is more than just a pretty design and a place to house contact info, your tea-drinking habits and a portfolio. The most powerful websites serve as your lean, mean conversion machine (without sacrificing the pretty, of course).

As you work to promote your photography business, think about CRO, or conversion rate optimization. It is the process of enhancing your website to support a potential client’s booking journey and guide them to an inquiry (or, in other words, the conversion).

A simple way to determine CRO effectiveness is by conducting a simple audit. First, consider where a website visitor is on their journey as they land on and consume content on each page. Then, ask yourself what purpose the content serves in either building trust or helping them decide to inquire about your services.

For example, web visitors may be in the early stages of research and education on your blog. However, if they’re on your services page, they’re likely further in the research process and are ready to start asking questions about pricing and how you may be different from your competition.

For each page, make sure you have a meaningful call-to-action (CTA) that invites them to take the next logical step in gaining more relevant information on the road to inquiring about you and your services.

For example, if they are looking at a real wedding blog post, perhaps your gallery is the next logical step. From your gallery, you might direct them to your services page. Then, they may be warmed up to visit your inquiry page and send you a message.

Beyond the logical flow of CTAs throughout your website, make sure to have a prominent “Inquire Now” button in your main navigation so they can quickly access your contact page from any page when they’re ready.

Diversify your ad strategy with other platforms.

While social media ads are an effective way to get the word out, they are not the only way to promote your photography business. Consider incorporating Google Ads into your paid marketing mix for a multi-channel approach. Since Google Ad delivery is based on search intent, they are perfect for down-funnel ads with a message that encourages leads to inquire or book now.

Of course, Google Ads are notoriously expensive, which is why people often prefer to take the social media route. To drive Google Ad costs down, use your Facebook and Instagram ads to drive traffic to your site—then retarget them with Google Ads.

For example, you may send Facebook ads to a blog post about the best, uncrowded places in your city for engagement photos to promote your photography business to couples who are looking for engagement photography but aren’t quite ready to book a photographer. Then, you can deliver retargeted Google Ads for 30-60 days to those searching about services in your area. You know they are engaged and ready to pay for photography—you just need to book them.

Reconsider your email marketing strategy to better promote your photography business.

With all of these changes to social media, there has been a notable uptick in conversion rates from a well-crafted and strategic email autoresponder. Rather than making a lead wait until the next time you check your email, you can warm them up through automated emails that offer value and drive the conversion.

[Read: Photography Marketing Tactics: What Works and What Doesn’t]

To better promote your photography business, set up an email sequence that would automate pricing delivery and provide them with the necessary information to schedule a discovery call with you. It might look like this:

  • Email 1: You provide the requested information with a CTA to book a call just in case they’re already prepared to chat.
  • Email 2: You share valuable content with them, like a blog post about the best poses for an engagement shoot. The goal is to build trust with them and demonstrate your expertise.
  • Email 3: You send an invitation to a discovery call with a calendar link, reminding them that you book up fast and are now filling dates in 2022.

Once your email sequence is in place, you can trust that your funnel will warm up your leads and prepare them for your discovery call, at which point you can sell them on your offerings.

Change is inevitable in business. But with careful planning, diversifying your marketing mix, and exploring how other platforms can support you, you can continue to succeed with paid advertising in 2022 and beyond as you promote your photography business.

Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals’ brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA, and the ABC Conference.