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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)

Moore Images Photography

I specialize in Travel Photography because I write about my adventures in Europe. I plan to begin working as a portrait photographer taking photos of families. I want to take the portraits outdoors using the outdoors as my studio.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Moore
Like many people, I've used my name as my business name/brand. So, obviously, I'm "Audrey May Photography." [^_^]

I've had a website hosted on Lycos for a while but recently moved over to Wordpress and love it so far (they have awesome layout/theme options for photographers)! I also have a Facebook page.
April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey May
I call my web site "" I write, edit and photograph. I'm in the process of graduating from NYIP and hope to get some work either as an independent or get hired by a studio. My photography page is separate from the writing page. I tried to put a variety of photos on my site. But I'm thinking I should include some pictures on my home page too. What do you think?
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Hilliard
Batson Photography

I've been using this name since I graduated from NYIP several years ago. I also created a logo and tag line that I put on my website and marketing materials. I think I've got the branding part of this down, now it's more a matter of getting the word out in an effective manner that doesn't break the bank. To date, the money I've spent in various forms of marketing has not yielded any results whatsoever. After reading some of the Guerilla Marketing books and going by my own experience, it seems the best approach for small businesses is the free or cheap methods are best with Word of Mouth advertising being at the top of the list.

I'm very anxious to read the future postings about this topic. I know for me, the hardest thing so far as been networking in a way that is genuine and doesn't make the person you are talking too think you are a hungry predator. Many people recommend things like Mixers at the Chamber of Commerce or other organizations and networking groups. My observation of those groups is that you are throwing a bunch of hungry sharks in the water and each one of them is bleeding. You have mass frenzy of people trying to sell to each other but they aren't looking to buy anything for themselves and therefore your marketing effort to them is fruitless.

I know that there many things that work, but not all things work for all people or in all areas. Also, buyers today are a lot different than they were even 5 or 10 years ago....we need new, fresh, modern ideas that work! And while I agree that an on-line presence is crucial to marketing today, we must have off-line ways to drive our potential customers to our website. For a local photography business, it's not important that we have a zillion hits or have someone on the other side of the country see our website, we need local, interested people in our own area to see our website. That means we need a way to get our printed material in their hands even if it's only a business card. :)
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Batson
My web presence is campkanc photography.

I am a student in the Complete Course, currently in unit 3. I would like to continue to learn, experience, and grow from a hobbyist photographer. Any assistance/guidance would be more than appreciated.

Thank You!
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRay Berthiaume
Tanya De Leeuw Photography
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTanya De Leeuw
this is a nice thread for some one like me who are still looking on how I will brand my self in photography...
I'm not taking it seriously as of this time, because aside from my day job, Im still not done with my NYIP course...
but along the way, I have some toughts and names to consider in my mind...

my name is "sergio ilao", ilaw in philippines means light...
so Im thinking of "moments of lights photography - by sergio ilao"

or if ever Im gonna come up with a studio, its gonna be - "bIGnOSE Photography"

I want to brand my self as a fine-art photographer especially in portraiture...

still these are something that inspires me on my photography...

but a thread like this is what i need to know more of it...

nice inputs...

hoping to see more about these...
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersergio
I chose Timeless Memories by Crystal
April 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Green
My name for the website will be... Looking through my eyes
April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose
Great thread! I have started lesson four and have an idea name for my business, however, would like to know what should be done legally prior to marketing my business name? With a tight budget in mind should I start with a fictitious name license in my current state or a trademark? With this must follow a county license to conduct business within that county. I guess the question should be what licenses to I need to have before marketing and creating a web-site for my business? Think this is essential so you will have the rights to that business name as well as to generate revenue under that name. And to mention your work is owned by that business entity.

Are there any web hosts that may be free to set up and market a web-site with our line of work?

Any suggestion?


April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRon Giovi
Ron ~ I was able to buy a web domain from Google for $10.00.for a year hosted thru I think has great prices right now less than I paid. I then went to a free website hosting called where I created my website.

Once I was done designing it walked me thru how to sinc up the domain name with the weebly design I had chosen. It took 2 steps and was super simple!!!

Outside of that I have not done anything else.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Green
Thanks Crystal, I will def look into this. I saw your site, very well done and simple. Still wondering about the licensing aspect. I've seen and heard of people marketing their business prior to licensing or being legal and losing it due to some other entity being created with the same name afterwards. Would like to hear what others have done (getting the proper licenses) prior to marketing their business.
April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRon Giovi
I wanted to use my name in my photography so that people knew who it is that's photographing, but I didn't really like the sound of my name as a title. Because of this, I was forced to do some more thinking. My father passed away in a car accident about 4 and a half years ago so I decided to use this in a positive way by taking my name and adding his onto it. I named my brand Stef Tyler Photography. It's a tribute of sorts.
April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
I decided to go with, 'Lennon Look Photography'. I chose this for two reasons.. an attempt to capitolize on the famous & iconic weight my name carries being associated with one of the most innovative & pure artists of all time. His use of simple, yet deeply profound lyrics left an indelible mark, not only on a generation..but, on the world. I try to approach my artistic expression in the same raw, visceral manner. Making the simpliest, bare image convey the thoughts, and feelings of the whole world.
The 2nd reason is a little silly, but nonetheless carries deep meaning for me. The women in my family all share the same facial expression when we are provoked or irritated..An expression dubbed, 'the Lennon look'. I thought it was a cute spin, using my 'Lennon Look' to express beauty instead of sour bitterness. Now, I just need to start making money so I never have to 'work' again. Take care.
April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDianne Lennon
Hollie Laine Photography.
April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHollie Reven
I love this and agree to the max!
Luis Perez Photography

I have even created a branding logo to brand all my products with.
April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuis Perez
There are definitely good reasons for both choosing a unique and creative name for your branding or just sticking to using your own name. When I started I contemplated both options, but in the end stayed with using my own name.

I wanted to keep it simple and to the point. It immediately reveals the nature of my business and conveys a unique and personal touch, which I promote. Even if one day I grow so large that I cannot personally conduct all shoots I will guarantee to continue putting my personal touch to each and every image as well as mentor anyone shooting for me to follow a sense of style that represents my brand. My branding also carries a black and orange colour theme.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Yam
through nichole's eyes: photography by nichole lynn..
chose this name because its just that... the world through MY eyes. how i see it... i do candids most of the time. some posing, but very "natural". i dont want to ever sell my business, or have someone else photographing for me... if that was the ultimate goal, then id be wasting a lot of time...
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternichole
I just start to use internet as a marketing tool, my site is name like this cause means near and beside, like king and jang but in nauhuatl, started on spanish but will be translated soon. I will been fill it up with photos as needed.
April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterramon sandoval casillas
LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY... Love actually used to be my last name, and I was Love Photography for 6 years, then remarried. So I'm not a "Love" anymore, but I understand the importance of "branding" so I was not about to change my business name just because my last name did. Besides, now my son (who is 8 btw) says that he wants to be a photographer like me and take over the business! Awwww! =)
April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMandy Pennington
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