Ways to Market Your Photography Business Compassionately

February 28, 2022

By Elena S Blair

© Elena S Blair

When you're thinking about ways to market your photography business, it's important to meet people where they are at.

We are starting the third year of living through a global pandemic, and it’s not easy. One question that I see circulating in entrepreneur and photography groups online is, “How should I be marketing or selling right now?” It makes total sense that this is the question on all our minds. We don’t want to seem insensitive when we’re thinking about ways to market your photography business. Frankly, we don’t know if our ideal customer will be able to afford our services anymore.

I grappled with this in a major way when the pandemic started. But I quickly realized that not only did my gut tell me it was okay to continue building my business, I had very little choice; I support my three children entirely on my own, and I have three part-time employees that I want to continue to pay.

I strongly believe that it is okay to sell and market yourself right now because I believe that your business and mine deserve to thrive through all of this. If your business grows and thrives, you are supporting a recovering economy. You are serving the world with your creative talents and gifts. And you are putting food on your table and keeping the lights on.

Here, I share a few tips from my WPPI 2022 course, “Compassionate Marketing,” on ways to market your photography business so you can stay front of mind with your ideal clients—regardless of the state of the world:

1. Change how you speak to your audience.

elena s blair on ways to market your photography business with newborn portrait client

Right now, I know that my photography clients may not be thinking about their fall-time family photos or even their confirmed newborn photos. They are concerned with hybrid school, paying their bills, or whether or not their partner can be in the birth room when they have their baby.

[Read: Focusing on Engagement Over “Vanity Numbers” on Instagram]

So, I created an easy rescheduling system for my confirmed clients. For my education clients, I have created email templates and social media guides to help them market their business during this crisis to ensure that they have a business when this is all over.

When you’re thinking about ways to market your photography business, it’s important to meet people where they are at.

2. Offer clients some incentive to book or buy

family photo outdoors with natural light posing naturally by elena s blair

Normally I am firm on pricing and offerings, however this is a time to be compassionate. You can offer a bonus service or offering, discount your services or products, or create a new offering.

For my photography clients, I extended my end-of-year booking sale for all inquiries I have received since the COVID-19 crisis.

Think about how you can help your clients purchase during an uncertain time.

3. Focus on your service and impact—not on selling.

Okay, I know we are talking about ways to market your photography business and how to sell, but I want to talk to you about how serving is actually going to lead to selling.

You should always serve first and then sell, even when the world isn’t in crisis. You should always think about how you can show up for your audience in a way that is authentic and impactful. You should provide value before pitching an actual sell.

Now is the perfect time to build a strong “know, like, trust” factor so that when clients are ready to buy and book, they will remember you. People will remember who showed up during this crisis. That is for sure.

A couple of ways to market your photography business without selling:

— I wrote an Instagram post for my “Fresh 48” clients (sessions with families within the first 48 hours of a baby’s birth), giving them some photo tips for taking their own photos in the hospital when I can’t be there myself. I also made a more detailed PDF for my confirmed clients that I sent to them directly. Even after two years, we aren’t allowed in the hospital to photograph babies, so I am solving that problem for my confirmed clients.

newborn photo fresh 48 ways to market your photography business in pandemic

— I created an entire website for my photography education community that has a free webinar, free templates, and discounts to help them get through this difficult time.

My hope is that this gives you a bit of inspiration on ways to market your photography business so you can continue to show up for your audience and sell with compassion. You don’t do anyone any favors by letting your business die. When this is over, we will remember what is most important—our families. And photographing those families and special events will be even more of a priority than ever before.

Get creative and personal with your messaging. Use this time to connect with your audience. Grow your brand and reach. People will absolutely remember who showed up during this crisis. Make sure it is you that they remember.

elena s blair wppi speaker bio photo

Elena S Blair is an award-winning family and newborn photographer based in Seattle, Washington. She is also an educator who co-owns Blair & Thurston Retreats and Lady Boss Workshops. She shared more of her insights on compassionate marketing at WPPI 2022 (Monday, February 28 at 12:30 p.m.), as well as taught a class on lifestyle newborn photography!