Photography business is growing in India, especially specialty photography such as baby photography, maternity photography, wedding and baby shower photography.
How to promote photography business in India? Brand yourself ( or your business), prepare a marketing plan and market yourself. Use the power of Social Media and the strategies mentioned in this article to reach out to new customers.
I would love to take you by the hand and help you promote your business and get clients on autopilot.
Photography Business Marketing Plan
I would recommend first writing down your goals for your business. Do you want to do this part time or full time? How many days are you willing or able to dedicate to your photography business?
What are the financial goals
Does your family depend on this income? Then market yourself aggressively.
There are many people who are just starting out and might have a proper job. They click photographs on weekends only. Mothers are running their business by working only when the child is at school.
If you are just looking for some extra cash, it is okay if you go slow at marketing.
Lets get started with the plan. Here are different ways to market your business. You can do it alone, you do not need any special skills and it just takes some planning and effort.
- Word of Mouth Marketing
- Distribute Marketing Materials
- Social Media
- Join Associations
- Start a Blog
- Offer Freebies
Word of Mouth Marketing
Don’t be shy. Let friends and family members know what you do.
Letting close family members know is very helpful. You can be very informal with them. Usually, they will ask you to photograph their events ( since they know what you do).
You should take a different approach with strangers you meet at events and meetings. It is best you do not approach them directly. People just back of or say no.
The best way to let others know is by letting them know the benefits of your business and how it will help them. This is a technique I learnt from Lisa Nichols. She mentions – state the benefit, what is in it for them, and then ask them if they know anyone who this could help.
Never ask people if they are interested in your service. If they fit your criteria or want your service, they will let you know they are interested.
This works really well. Polish your script and m
There are many meetups organised online and offline. I have listed a meetup link below for photographers. Check it out. You can also join organisations which allow you to
Tie up with other people in your industry or a complementary industry. You can collaborate with Birthday party organizers, event planners, florists, bakers, hotels.
There are many ways to collaborate
- Offer a referral fee
- Discounted coupons for their referrals
- You promote each other’s business
- Some of you collaborate and create a flyer to be handed out which offers all services. For example – if its a wedding the flyer has discounts from bakers, florists, photographer. The flyer costs can be divided among all of you.
- If you are a baby photographer you can tie up with hospitals and midwives. Leave a flyer with a discount. New parents are usually given a baby hamper and marketing materials can be added to that.
If you are on a budget social media can be your best friend. Social media is an effective medium to generate leads. I have generated numerous leads just using social media.
The best social media sites for photographers are the ones which are visual such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Share Photoshoots, behind the scene pictures, Discount coupons. Host giveaways, share tips on photography ( if you want to).
Here are some tips to make social media work for you
- Be consistent
- Use free tools like Buffer, Tailwind, Planopoly to schedule posts
- Pick only one or two social media platforms and stick to that
- Post colorful and eye catching images
- Use hashtags to gain visibility
- Learn image seo – name images to you keyword before sharing, using alt tag to add extra information to images. Instagram has started the alt tag feature recently and its a good platform for photographers.
Most freelancers and even small business owners delay purchasing a website. They leave it for later ( when they have established a business).
If you are passionate about your business, I highly recommend investing in a domain name. Blocking your domain name also ensures that no one else takes your business name.
You can then either host it or link it to a free blog such as blogger. I would recommend your own hosting but if you are on a tight budget just host it on a free blog like blogger.
On your website let people know about your business, showcase your portfolio, have a contact number and email.
If you are a part of any associations add their badges on the website, let people know of any awards you might have won as well.
Benefits of having a website
- Having a website means you can claim it social media accounts such as Pinterest. Once you claim an account it makes your account very authoritative.
- You can have an online portfolio which works for you 24 x 7
- You can offer freebies and downloads and also sell some other products or services
Start a Blog
A Blog is kind of an online journal in which you answer questions your potential clients might have. You post articles which can position you as an industry leader.
For example, if you are a baby photographer, your blog can have articles on
- When is a newborn ready for pictures
- What is involved in a photo shoot ( what to expect)
Try and understand the pain points of your customers and answer them via blog posts. This is one of the best ways to get leads. This is also the best way to brand yourself in your industry.
One word of cation, this is a slow process, it takes time but once things start moving it is unbelievable. I have seen it work in less than 3 months and sometimes it has taken us 8 months. Just be patient.
There are many Photography associations you can be a member of. I have listed a few below. Register with those which resonate with you.
In the beginning it can be very difficult and lonely going alone. You will need a good mentor and lots of support.
Associations have regular meetups, contests, workshops. You can also get an opportunity to look into the minds of the greats in photography. Why not ask a photographer if you can be their assistant for free?
People LOVE free stuff. Even I do. The word FREE or discounted is a game changer. If I had to choose between Business A and B if service etc is almost the same, I would go with the business which offers some monetary benefit.
Trust me there are many others like that as well.
In many businesses I have offered free services. This was mostly when I was starting out. Pricing my services low or FREE gave me an opportunity to learn new things. Once I got more confident I hiked up my prices and people are willing to pay for the service.
We have covered a lot of topics and now lets make it all workable.
- Identify one social media channel
- Set it up. Add a photograph, banner, logo. Link it to your website
- Post at least once a day on your channel of choice using hashtags and descriptive words and clear attractive images
- In the meantime add your portfolio on your website
- Design and print flyers and business cards
- Collaborate with other photographers, go to events, share your marketing material
- Start building up your portfolio.
- If you have no clients ask if you can take pictures of your family and friends special events. Learn how to film in different lighting. Master the camera, lens, aperture.
- Attend workshops, seminars, tag along with senior photographers and work for them
Register with organisations dedicated to photographers. These are great for networking. Most organisations organise workshops and tours. Here is a list of a few such organisations in India
FIP Federation of Indian Photography organises workshops and photo contests. They also publish a journal and award photographers. Website – fip.org.in
2# Wedding Photographers Association Of India
Applicants have to have a website, have an experience in wedding photoshoots and have 5 wedding photoshoots in their gallery. This is a premium directory of the best quality wedding photographers. Website
3# Photographic Society of India
This is an active society having monthly programs which has been around since 1937. They have various levels of paid memberships ( monthly, Lifetime). Website http://photographicsocietyofindia.com
4# Wildlife Photography Association of India
WPAI is a part of Photography Association of America PSA. Website: https://www.wpaidelhi.com
5# Photographic Association of Bengal
PAB is a club which hosts portfolio shows every Saturday. Once a month they have a competition.
This club was initially started in 1948 and named Renaissance Camera Group’. They host Biennial International Colour Slide Salons.
6# Video Photographers Association of Gujarat
VPAG was formed in 2004 and host
7# All Maharashtra Photographers Association
AMPA is an active association of photographers,
8# All Kerala Photographers Association
AKPA has more than 15000 members including photographers and videographers. It was founded in 1984, it has a publication Phototracks, hosts Photofest a trade fair, photography club and have a school which offers short term courses in photography and videography.
9# Photographic Association of Coochbehar
PAC aims to spread awareness about photography. They host many contents and have participants from around the world. They Ranked 14th Worldwide in 37th Greater Lynn International 2013.
Other Photographers Associations
- Wedding Photojournalists https://www.wpja.com
- DPC Delhi Photography Club http://www.delhiphotographyclub.com/
- DOOARS PHOTOGRAPHERS’ ASSOCIATION https://sites.google.com/site/dooarsphotographersassociation/contact
- Photographic Association of Dum Dum https://www.padonline.org.in/
- Photographic Society of Madras http://www.photomadras.org/
- Photography Club of Assam PSA http://photographyclubofassam.org/
Meetups are hosted online and like minded professional meet. This is a lovely opportunity to connect with other photographers and share ideas. Some are paid, others free. I would be cautious in meeting new people and ensure it is in a public space for safety. Website: https://www.meetup.com/topics/photo/in/
Costs of being a Photographer
At a bare minimum, you would require a startup cost of 2 lakh rupees. This includes costs for the DSLR camera, camera lens, laptop, editing software, lighting equipment, accessories, training and props” says Baby and Maternity photographer Anushka Kumari.
- Camera Bag
- Camera Lenses
What else is needed
- Studio ( can start at home)
- Editing Software
- Business Cards
- Accounting Software
- Payment processor
Loan for Photography Business in India
Camera’s and lighting can get expensive. It is best to start of with the cheapest equipment you can ( without affecting quality).
If you just don’t have the money, you can apply for a bank loan such as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna. There are 3 loans available Shishu ( upto Rs. 50,000), Kishor ( upto Rs. 5 lakhs) and Tarun ( upto Rs. 10 lakhs).
There is no processing fee and you do not have to keep anything as a collateral.
The documents required are your business plan, Proof of Identity, Residence proof, list of items you plan to purchase ( supplier names),
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- 1 Photography Business Marketing Plan
- 2 Photographer Registration
- 2.0.1 1# FIP
- 2.0.2 2# Wedding Photographers Association Of India
- 2.0.3 3# Photographic Society of India
- 2.0.4 4# Wildlife Photography Association of India
- 2.0.5 5# Photographic Association of Bengal
- 2.0.6 6# Video Photographers Association of Gujarat
- 2.0.7 7# All Maharashtra Photographers Association
- 2.0.8 8# All Kerala Photographers Association
- 2.0.9 9# Photographic Association of Coochbehar
- 2.0.10 Other Photographers Associations
- 2.0.11 Photography Meetups
- 3 Related Questions
- 4 Costs of being a Photographer