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Photo Marketing 101: Intro to Marketing Yourself as a Photographer

As if by some form of blog magic, I’ve landed here with an opportunity to share all of my knowledge about marketing with you.  As the Director of Marketing for the New York Institute of Photography, I’ve seen it all.  I’ve seen photographers who have amazing websites and some who have less than stellar websites.  I’ve even seen some with no website at all.

In today’s world, whatever your experience level, some sort of online presence is essential to success.  That rule holds true for business ventures of any kind.  And photographers looking to make money with their photography should learn to treat themselves as a brand, or business.  Sure you’re an artist, but if you want to make a living, you’re also a businessperson.

I’ve been invited to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along with way with you, and will continue to do so until we’re all millionaires (I wish).

Lesson 1 is simple: Think of yourself as a brand.

Marketing has a tendency to take on an ugly connotation with some people, conjuring up images of sneaky advertising or annoying salesman.  But what marketing is, for our sake, is the simple act of building a brand, promoting your work, and attracting the attention of potential customers.

Any good business starts with a plan, or strategy. What is the name of your business?  Is it your name? Your studios name?  Whatever it is, that’s where you start.  That is your brand.  And in future editions of this Photo Marketing 101 blog series, we will explore how to build around that brand, and expand the reach of your brand to attract attention.

Homework: Your assignment, should you choose to accept, is to brand yourself.  Name your photography business.  And share that name with us in the comments below.


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Reader Comments (51)

After 16 years in radio and TV I understand the importance of branding. Even with my environmental companies the names were chosen to reflect what we do and to brand ourselves. I did the same with my photography. As talent in radio I used Monica Starr as my professional name. I used this same name to brand my photography. This way the artist and record community would be able to identify who I am and hopefully drive business to me.

To assist with branding I started my website: so that I would have a web and marketing presence. Additionally, I post updates to my website on my facebook account. (I don't publish my photographs on facebook, only on my website and flickr,) My NYIP instructor also told me about flickr so I have some photographs published there as well. Listening to Chris Corradino in Unit 6 I added a blog page to my website. This also will help with my branding efforts.

All in all I try to think about branding and marketing as part of the thought process when I'm deciding what to photograph!
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica Starks
Monica, it sounds like you are ahead of the curve as far as marketing yourself. Using the same name and personality across all of your branding activities serves to strengthen the message. Thanks for sharing!
April 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterNYIP Editor
Steph Lynn Photography
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Mary Marine Photography
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Marine
My brand is Ladyhawk Photography. I have a website and welcome comments to improve it. I have not sold very many photos from the site and I am wondering how I can change it to generate more business.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLea Huetteman
Steph Lynn (perfect)

Mary Marine (awesome)

Ladyhawk (I love it!)

How best to set up and market your website can be a difficult thing to figure out for many people. Trust me, even as a marketer I don't know that there is any surefire way to do it. But the rest of this blog series will focus on that topic. Stay tuned!
April 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterNYIP Editor
Clarinda Photo.

I also have a website with all the normal, photos, pricing, etc. I also use facebook to reach local possible customers. I take pictures at local sports events and post them on facebook (with my business name watermark on them). People have used several of my photos as their profile picture alongn with the watermark so I get extra advertising there too. I've done several weddings, graduation photos, families, but wold like to expand my business...I use my business as a part time effort. I will not borrow money from the bank and get into further debt (house, vehicles).
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Gibson
Pretty much did the same as Monica, any thoughts or advise was be appreciated!
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul
I decided to use my name for my website, it's easy to remember and I believe it makes it more personal (plus everything else I wanted was already taken :))
I did establish a page on my Facebook account and will place updates and examples of shoots. Since I just started, there are still very few... hopefully this will change soon
I also have a blog and linked it to my website. I placed a FB like button on my website, to bring people to eventual updates.
I placed my business on the google map and tried to tag for their search engines. I hope I did enough to begin with...
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnke Turco
GirlAz Photography
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
My business brand;
Any critique please, any suggestion would be greatly appreciate!
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBernard Brunet
Looking forward to more articles in this series. A name for my photography venture is something that I've been thinking about for some time. Not sure if I want to use my name, or come up with a name. Every name I've thought up has already been taken by other businesses.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom
What is a great place to go to start up a web page for my photography business?
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartha Page
The infamous and unknown.... SIMPSON BROTHERS PHOTOGRAPHY!
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Simpson
My photography company's name is "Life Captured." I went with that angle for two reasons. 1) I want the name to spell out what it is we do - we capture life - - we aren't studio pics. I, in fact do not have a studio. We shoot on location and capture moments with your family. There is some posing involved, but we aim to capture images that will add emotion to memories. Capturing life as it happens and creating images that you will love looking at for the rest of your life.

The second reason for not attaching my personal name to the photos was an ability to sell the business in the future (should I acheive my ultimate interest which is photojournalism), or to be able to send out other photographers onto a particular job. If I call my business "Sarah Bryan" photography, then folks want Sarah Bryan to be doing the shots. However, if I have an assistant filming, he/she still represents "Life Captured Photography."
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Bryan
I am "Brittany Grant Photography." I'm just starting out so I don't have my own domain, but that's coming in the near future!
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany
I included my name as it is easier legal wise to do so in Minnesota. I also have a community page on Facebook but I don't see that going very far as of yet. I have had limited successes with event photos and have been breaking into the Senior market some. I am not able to put my full attention to this business as I have bills to pay and must work for someone else at the same time. But at least I get to do what I love part of the time.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Luby
I am using IM Photos, IM are my initals and I wanted to do something different than just have my name and add photography, plus its a lot quicker to say:) I am working on making my own dreamweaver site.

Thanks for the post! I will stay tuned.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIrene M
I came up with What Eye Spied, Photography by Caryn Becker
I just do photography on the side but would like to expand. I've used this brand on a website (, business cards, etc.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaryn
Wow, so much feedback here. It's great to see that you all have put in at least some thought to personal branding. That is definitely step 1.

As far as using your website, there are lots of different ways to build your business. Certainly taking advantage of social media: twitter, facebook, flickr, etc. is going to be a good idea. But one of the first things you want to do is make sure your website is sending the right message with good samples of your work, easy navigation so that potential customers can find their way around, and very prominent contact and background information.

You can spend all the energy you have trying to get new people to your website but if the website doesn't do its job, you've just wasted a lot of time. The next post will dive deeper into website marketing.

Thank you all for sharing and keep up the great conversation.
April 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterNYIP Editor
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