Construct an Effective Portfolio
It is through your portfolio that your potential clients will determine if they want to work with you and also how much they are willing to pay for your services. And they can even check out your business through your portfolio. This means that you need to put together several of your best shots. Collect ten to twenty of your best shots. Try to use a variety of shots to show your range and abilities. If you do portraits, show babies, kids, couples, adults, and families. Include portraits that have special effects like black and white, sepia, and vignettes. It is a good idea to have both an electronic version of your portfolio as well as a physical one. That way, you can send it via email to potential clients, or show it when you meet face to face. Try to make it varied and let it show your diversity. Next to your camera, your portfolio is your most important tool.
Create an Online Presence
Just about everyone is heading to their computers to search for services these days so it would be wise to create an online presence for yourself. Building a website can be very easy and pretty inexpensive. Those in marketing careers will tell you that a website is one of the best ways that you can connect with your customers. It will introduce you to them, show them what you can do, and tell them how to get in touch with you. It may even tell them about specials you are running or the rates that you charge. In short, your website is a cheap advertising tool and you can't afford not to have one. You can also find domains for fairly cheap as well. When you create your site, choose a domain name that is easy to remember, is descriptive of you, and isn't likely to be confused with other similar sites (i.e. your competitors).
In addition to having an online presence, you should also have some business cards printed so that you can hand out to people you meet when you are out. After all, you won't spend all of your time online! Create your marketing tools and let them do their jobs In marketing, the visual impact of a product is where its value lies. Make your business cards attractive, including your name, contact information, and website address. If you have a photo that will still retain its visual impact when it is reduced to the size of a postage stamp, you may want to add it as well. Also use postcards and fliers in areas that are frequented by the type of people with whom you wish to work. On fliers and postcards, include a discount or special. This will draw new customers in and entice them to choose you for their portrait work.
Keep your Skills Current
Those in marketing careers know well that in order to keep up with your competition, you have to keep your skills current. Keep up with the current trends in photography, the latest technological gadgets, and keep making your skills better and better. If you keep your skills current and keep up your marketing, jobs, also known as gigs, will follow. Subscribe to trade magazines, read books, and take courses. Many colleges offer classes in photography and techniques. It is also a good idea to pick up some classes in digital media and how to retouch photos using software. The ability to do retouch work on your photos will greatly increase your marketability.
Build a Solid Customer Base
As you take assignments, begin building your customer base. Offer discounts, offer referral incentives, and build a relationship with your customers. As your customers come to trust you and come to rely on you for the portraits of their most treasured moments, they will tell their friends about you - and they will come back to you again and again.