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Photo Marketing 101: Get Creative with Business Cards

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our series of blogs on photographer marketing. Last time, I asked you to do the work, calling for questions from our readers about marketing. Response was limited, but the questions we did get in the comments and via Twitter were good ones. In fact, I wanted to take the time to answer one of those questions in this week’s post.

Lime Light asks, “Any advice on business cards? With photos or without? 2 sided or tent fold?”

I would like to preface my answer with this very simple fact. There is no “one size fits all” approach here. Some of the ideas presented below will appeal to you, others won’t. Some will work for certain photographers, and some won’t. What I will do is give the reasoning behind each suggestion so that you can make the decision on your own.

There are 4 main aspects of your business card that you should pay attention to, because each will send a message about you and your business: size, photos (design), the back, must-haves.

1. Size

The size of your card will make a big difference in the reaction it gets when you hand it to someone. We’ve all been given business cards in the past, and there is an assumption of the size a card should be, because most are cookie cutter jobs that meet the standard. So, when someone receives a card that is smaller, larger, or a different shape entirely, it stands out. Any marketer will tell you that standing out from the crowd is a good thing. Better to be remembered for anything than forgotten altogether.

I would not recommend using a fold of any kind, because I think that takes the notion of standing out too far. And keep your size and shape in check, which means don’t go overboard trying to stand out. There is a fine line between something that stands out and something that is just plain annoying. If I keep business cards in my wallet and yours doesn’t fit, where does it go? 

2. Photos

Treating your business card as a marketing tool means using it to deliver a message. As a photographer, that message is that you are a pro, and your photography is of the highest quality. Think about using one or more of your photos in the design of your card.

Another idea is including a head shot of yourself on the card. When the potential client looks back at your card, the headshot will reinforce who you are and what you do.

Plain white or solid color business cards are formal, and professional. But photography is an art, and your card is a chance to show off your artistic ability. Leave the plain white cards to the financial advisors.

3. Back

Use the back of your card. The biggest mistake people make is that they keep the back blank because it’s cheaper. The back of your card is prime marketing real estate.

That is where you can show off the best photograph you’ve ever taken, a headshot with a short bio and references, a promise or guarantee that you offer your customers, the URL to your website, blog, and social profiles, or anything else that deserves attention.

Check out some interesting business card designs here.

4. Must-haves

Business cards are a great place to get creative. But it doesn’t matter how creative you get if you’re missing the basic information a client needs to see. If you are missing some or most of the following items, you might be missing out on some business too. Your name, the business name (if different from your name), phone number, URL where they can find your work, email address, business address (if you have one).

The business card is a marketing tool. Sometimes it’s the first impression that you will make on a potential client or customer. So treat it that way. Get creative, and leave a lasting impression in the mind of anyone you hand it to.

Homework: Share with us any other business card tips you have.

P.S. If you have a marketing question, feel free to ask it in the comments here or Tweet your question to us using #PhotoMarketing101. Your question may be the next one we answer on our blog!

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Reader Comments (5)

Zach- Thank you so much for your imput, you gave me some great ideas. I have a logo for my business cards but was not sure of what else to add. I love the idea of adding my photographs. I look forward to learning more from you.
September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGail Watkins
I just got my business cards this week... just in time for my first time shooting the High school foot ball game for our local newspaper! :)
September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonya
Thank you for your informative and useful guidelines in designing business cards. I hope that I could learn more about business cards from you. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Thank you all for the kind responses. I hope that the suggestions I presented have given you some good ideas about future designs. If you have any specific questions about business cards, or any other marketing questions, post them here or on Twitter with the tag #PhotoMarketing101
September 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterNYIP Editor
Thank you for your informative and useful post about designing business cards.
November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
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