Tips + Techniques

3 Ways Photographers Can Market For a New Reality

July 20, 2020

By Arlene Evans

Elizabeth Austin-Davis, a wedding photographer based out of Atlanta; Elena S Blair, a lifestyle family and newborn photographer in Seattle; and Natalie Frank Hayes, the founder of Rising Tide and Head of Community for HoneyBook.

I hope that you’re all staying safe and healthy during these ever-changing times. Every day a different region is modifying its lockdown status, and it’s sometimes hard to know what we can and cannot do safely as small-business owners. However, photographers are slowly getting back to work and the fall will be busy with rescheduled weddings, portrait sessions and corporate work as life (hopefully) enters the “new normal.” 

As you may know, Rangefinder and WPPI hosted a 3-part webinar series on the ways that the photography community is dealing with the pandemic. The first webinar explored how photographers were staying creative during quarantine, the second one covered the ways that three photographers were staying profitable and keeping clients engaged, and the last one (which I was lucky enough to host) addressed the issue of marketing for a new reality.

Our panelists included Elizabeth Austin-Davis, a wedding photographer based out of Atlanta who spoke at Rangefinder’s Rise + Shine summit for wedding photographers at WPPI 2020; Elena S Blair, a lifestyle family and newborn photographer in Seattle, who taught WPPI 2020 attendees about lifestyle posing; and Natalie Frank Hayes, the founder of Rising Tide and Head of Community for HoneyBook.  

When I was planning this webinar, it was clear that the current issues of social justice and Black Lives Matter needed to be addressed in the context of new marketing strategies and small-business leadership in 2020. Here are the highlights from the webinar:

1. Engaging in Social Justice and Black Lives Matter 

Austin-Davis talked about making diversity a personal mission for lifelong change and not a business strategy. Making a change includes an “Inclusivity Pledge” not only to Black photographers but also Black vendors. 

Creating an anti-racist plan and implementing it is what Blair is working on as well, and supporting Black photographers through their conferences and educational opportunities as well as prioritizing diversity and inclusion in your personal development is important to Hayes. We included names of workshops, photographers and articles. (Information is found in the Resource Guide that is included when you register to watch the conversation on demand.)

Hayes’ company, Rising Tide and HoneyBook, provide resources to help you prepare for reopening your business.

2. Investing in New Marketing Strategies 

It’s important to show your clients and potential clients that you understand how their lives have changed and communicate empathy. Since large gatherings are prohibited in most states, Austin-Davis has pivoted to offer micro weddings and engagements as part of her marketing efforts.

New marketing strategies are more important than ever, and Blair has developed a compassionate marketing program, showing her clients that she cares and is there for them.

Hayes feels it’s crucial that your clients know what your safety procedures are and how you will keep them safe, such as mask selfies posted to social media, posts of you washing your hands, sanitizing your gear and keeping your studio clean.

3. Changing How You Do Business in 2020 and Beyond

Austin-Davis and Hayes both emphasized that you need to review all of your contracts to make sure that they include a force majeure clause as well as a safe working environment clause, which also allows you to discontinue service if you feel that the conditions of the event or session are unsafe for you. Always make sure that you’ve set realistic expectations with your client, especially if something changes in the short term (like government regulations).

© Elena S Blair

Because Blair works with newborns and families, she makes sure that she directs her clients and is using gear that allows her to maintain social distancing. All three agreed that making smart decisions and protecting yourself when assessing client requests is the most important thing. 

The panelists provided incredibly relevant information for the way the photography world looks right now, and I hope you will listen to the entire webinar to learn more about how to market for the times to keep your business in gear during the pandemic. 

Arlene Evans is the content producer for WPPI. Previously, she was head of the photography channel at CreativeLive, and before that the Director of WPPI. Email her at