BTSxJM Issue_003: How to get your first client
How to get your first client:
So you’re an ammeter photographer, and you’re ready to make the next step into the professional photography world. You want to land your first client.
Before we continue i want to lay out a few things…
You don’t have to land a cline to make money from photography.
There are many alternatives to having a client base and you can still make money. Off the top of my head I can think of three options, but there are plenty more out there.
First option is Stock Photography, you can submit your images to stock library services like iStock, Shutterstock or Adobe Stock. Basically the way it works is every time someone uses your image you get a small commission. You can limit your licence for commercial or non-commercial use, and adjust your price depending on the image. One of the newer popular services is called Unsplash, for those of you on Medium or know what Medium is, Unsplash is one of the more popular services that Medium writers use to get imagery for their articles.
The bad (ish) thing about stock photography is that only a certain type of imagery will be popular, images without stories, or ones that are straight up very generic. You also need to keep in mind that you’re not going to make ALOT of money from it, and maybe that’s all you want. This income isn’t going to fully support your family or help you get that new Maserati, it might take ten bucks off your tank of fuel, what I’m saying is don’t expect it to bring in a huge amount of income.
The good thing about stock photography is it’s very open to anything (especially with Unsplash), you’re macro photo of a flower might be perfect for someone’s needs, or that portrait series in the grocery store might be exactly what you need. In-fact, while I’m writing this I have actually just signed up for Unsplash, simply because they’re not as limiting to the type of imagery that might be successful.
Another alternative to having a client base is you can sell prints (or just buy mine :P ). I’ll be honest, you can get reasonable (ish) quality prints done at Officeworks or other suppliers. Mind you the print and colour quality won’t be fantastic and up to industry standards but for the average person hanging a print on their wall it won’t really matter. There are many services that do printing, but one of the ones that have been recommended to me is RGB Digital, they’re based in Melbourne, you upload the image (either using your browser or their application), and then it gets printed and delivered to you within days. Another service is called Blurb, it does’t do traditional printing, but if you want to get a photo-book made or magazine then it would be the only service I recommend, and it’s the one I will be using in the future.
This final alternative isn’t for everyone, and it comes with a major but. You can educate other photographers. BUT, you need to be good, and you have to be unique, there are plenty of crappy photography workshops out there from photographers who think they’re the bees knees and know their shit, but really they’re just people who have taken their cameras off auto mode and did a five minute lesson on Lightroom basics. I would prefer to see someone with 5+ years of experience in their field, and possibly award winners or shooters who have a niche and something different to offer.
So enough beating around the bush….just know that there is no “right” way to land your first client, this is just what’ve I’ve learnt from my experience,
To land your first client, you need a portfolio - I hate to say this but Instagram is a decent starting point just to quickly show clients a few images, it is your gallery and you’ve created it (assuming you’ve created a solely photographic instagram - don’t show a client images of your kids from your Bali holiday on your private instagram). I don’t recommend getting a website until you have a cashflow solely from your photography. For most amateur photographers trying to step into the pro world, photography will be your second or third income source (for now) until you make enough to support yourself. So get your folio together, have a range of images in there like landscape, portraits, events etc, just to show the client what kind of photography you do, but make sure you also show relevant work, for example don’t go to a real estate potential client and only show them photos of your dogs and expect a contract, show them a verity of images you take but make sure you have real estate related images, even if it’s your own house.
Now you need to knuckle down on which clients you want to get, and start reaching out to them, email and call them, or even hit them up on social media.
I was just in to process of landing another real estate client, what I did was i reached out to a bunch of real estate agencies in Canberra, I included a very brief bio/intro, then I added a link to my homepage and another link to my real estate gallery.
When I landed my first client it was a bit different to the way I just suggested. I was 16….maybe 15. I had just won my first photographic competition (Summer at the Arboretum), I was required by my high school to do work experience, after reaching out to a few local photographers i reached out to the Arboretum and they said they’d be happy for me to come for a week. After that week I kept doing work for them for free for a couple months. I had the conversation with my boss for them to start paying me, and basically I started on almost minimum wage (completely underselling my work and undercutting other professionals work - but I didn’t know that at the time).
To wrap up this month’s issue of BTS I want to provide some insight on what I’ve been up to.
In the last couple of weeks I applied for a job at Ted's Camera Store, which is where I am working at a lot of the time now. I'm still very interested in doing photography commercially, but this just gives me a bit of flexibility income wise and takes a lot of pressure off my commercial work, and hopefully helps bring the fun back into what I do.
Have a good month guys! See ya'll soon social media
Because Father's Day is coming up I am offering 40% savings across my print store