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Promote Your Photography Business Through Contests and Facebook

Photograph by Je Revele Fine Art Photography

Wedding time is in the air. The New York Institute of Photography just received a clever promotional email from Je Revele Fine Art Photography in New Jersey. To help promote their Facebook page, to promote their branding message, and increase their "Likes," they're running a fun contest: What's the Best Marriage Proposal Ever? The Je Revele folks remind us that more engagements happen in the period between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, and they're running this contest to help us take advantage of all the proposals from family and friends that we have fresh in mind. Note that to see the full contest rules, you need to click on the photographer's Facebook link and "Like" them. (Hey, it's good to show a little "Like love" for such a fun contest, but I wanted to share this with all photographers who are interested in seeing a good case study of a contest and utilizing Facebook to promote it.)

Photograph by Je Revele Fine Art Photography

Click here for contest details from Je Revele. Note that the winner will receive money towards studio work at Je Revele. The contest, the email blast that promotes the contest, the focus on spreading the photographer's "art photography" branding message, the buzz generated in social media, and the studio session discount all form a virtuous circle for the photographer, making this a clever and well-designed business promotion.
Have You Run a Successful Contest or Promotion?
Good luck coming up with your own photography marketing campaigns! To help all our readers, please up us out.
  • Add a comment to this post and tell us about a successful contest or promotion you've run in the past. (Our readers love photo tips and photography business advice.)
  • Tell us what you would do again? Then tell us what you would not do in the future. 
  • Thanks for sharing!


We're the New York Institute of Photographya distance education school teaching photography since 1910 - over 100 years of knowledge and experience. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about who we are and what we do.




Whose Portrait Do You Wish You Could Take (dead or alive)?

That’s the question we asked our Facebook fans last week. What we got back was over 200 responses. We were so thrilled with the answers the quality and quantity of answers that we got back that we just had to share them with you here. Read through the responses and add your own in the comments below!


Annastasia McPherson - Marilyn Monroe!

Tiffany Peterson - Ummm. Alive.

Lisa Jacques Jones - Abraham Lincoln

JoJo Stone - Adam Lambert

Amber Roseberry - My son who was stillborn and Abe Lincoln

Andy Dinocola - my pops

Cristal Rodriguez - Marilyn Monroe

Kenneth Hines Jr - Aaliyah

Terry Julien - Ansel Adams

Gerry Knightwynd - jesus

Valeriana Przekozaq - Krzysztof Kieślowski

Michele-Anne Hamilton - Everybody! :-)

Trina Sledge - My grandparents missed dearly

Tina Leach-Williams - Andy Warhol. But mostly I'd just love to get shots of The Factory.

Tiffany Peterson - Ooops misread. Lol. Ronald Regan.

Jessica Meaut - Marilyn Monroe!

Click to read more ...


Facebook Upgrades Main Photos Page

A shot of Facebook's updated photos layout, taken from Thomas Hawk's Digital CollectionFacebook has begun to implement a new version of their user photos page. The upgraded version includes a mosaic view feature and a more interactive three tab interface which allows you to hover your mouse over any of your photos and like, comment, star, untag, or edit them without leaving the page. With improved image quality, and larger, clearer pictures that take up the entire screen (removing all the white space between the static 4x3 thumbnails), facebook has made browsing through your photos a more dynamic and user-friendly experience. The interface menu allows you to click between photos you’re tagged in, photos you’ve shared, and albums you’ve made, as well as to manually resize any photos you choose by highlighting them. The album tab also has its own simple, easy-to-use dropdown menu which greatly resembles the Timeline profile page.

Click to read more ...


First Time Photo Tips from NYIP’s Facebook Fans

The other day we posed the question, "What's the first piece of advice you'd give to someone who is new to photography?” on the NYIP Facebook page. The responses we got back were so great that we just had to share them with you.

Here they are, in all their glory:

Richard L. It's all in the settings.

Matt Kramarik Get a 2nd job for all the money you are going to spend!! lol

Sam DVeight Hope you have a LOT of money :)

Pauline Dudley watch your framing!

Rebecca Knoblauch Persistence and determination is a must!

Carol Locklar Rouse Ok, learn the camera....

Oscar Rivera Get to know your equipment

Olya Krasavina LOOK!

Belino Mecalco Jr Use your imagination !!!!

Brian Hochmuth Read the manual and learn what every button on your camera does.

Avish Ramgolam Understand what makes a good picture, try to express his inner emotions through the simple photography rules

Fani Tsioumpekou Always make sure you 've put film in your camera :-p

Rachel Susann Follow your heart.

Michelle Stark Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. You will only learn by making mistakes, so make them!

Cătălin Munteanu be inspired!

Brownie Izaguirre Google common sense questions.

Delphia Holland Lynch Get to know your camera first!!

Matt Zick You don't need to have expensive equipment to make nice pictures.

Tommy Wilkerson Stay away from auto setting and shoot RAW.

Aurora Contreras dont go crazy buying expensive gear...learn how to use what you have first!! The camera or the lenses wont make you a good photographer.

Click to read more ...


Photo Marketing 101: Create that Marketing Budget

Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our semi-weekly blog series on marketing yourself as a photographer. In our last post, I laid out a couple of ideas that you can use to begin to market yourself and your services for free.

An investment in marketing is an investment in your business. Each dollar you spend should pay for itself and then some. Here are a few things worth trying:

Paid Search Marketing

Paid search marketing is a way to spend your marketing dollars in a controlled environment to attract potential customers who are already searching for you. Whenever you search something on Google or Bing, you will see paid ads show up on the top and right hand side of the natural results that the search engine displays. These ads are targeted to the keywords that you entered into the search field.

You can use ads in search engines to attract potential customers. Step 1 is picking your keywords. What will people be searching for when you want to bring them to your website? If you’re a wedding photographer in Springfield, you might use “wedding photographer in Springfield”. It can be that simple. Google provides a simple keyword generator tool which can help you build a list of keywords similar to yours that people are searching.

Step 2 is to create the ads. You have a limited amount of space to get across your message. The key here is to give accurate information, and let the person know what you’re offering before they click. Because in paid search, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad. You can even use a phone number and pricing in your ad to stand out from the crowd.

Step 3 is to set your budget. One reason why paid search is a good place to start spending money is you can limit it very easily. You can spend as much or as little as you want per day, or per week, and turn it off whenever you need to. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Google AdWords and the AdWords Learning Center.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook ads work a lot like paid search marketing. The ads on the right side of all pages on Facebook are easy to create and target only those people who might be interested in your services. You can use an image to call attention to your ad, and target people based on location, age, gender, and interests. In addition, you can cap the amount of money you want to spend, just like paid search. With the amount of time people spend on social media sites these days, this might be a very profitable place to advertise for a lot of people.

If you’re interested in getting started or learning more, visit the Facebook Advertising Page.


Sponsorships are an interesting form of marketing, because they’re a way to tap into an existing marketplace instead of trying to create your own. Organizations, websites, and companies are often looking for sponsors to help them launch a product, promote an event, or offer something special to their customer base.

Get a sense of who your potential customers are, and where they might be spending a lot of their time. Maybe there is an event taking place near where you work or live, and a lot of potential customers will be attending. By sponsoring the event, you’d be able to get your name in front of that audience when they buy tickets or attend the event. It gives you a little credibility because the host of the event is essentially introducing you to their audience.

Sponsorships can be very successful, but are tougher to find. You will have to do more work, researching the potential sponsorships that exist, contacting those people in charge, and negotiating the relationship. Often times you might be able to give something away for free or help them promote the event/product which can limit the monetary cost to you.

In the next edition of this series, I will ask you – the readers – for some new marketing ideas that you’ve looked into or tested and the results.

Homework: Get over the fear! The fear of spending money on marketing is something that can cause hesitation for anyone that is doing it for the first time. Use the comments below to discuss this fear and share insight and encouragement that others can use to help get past this hesitation.