In many ways, it is now easier than ever to for the average person to embark on professional-level photography. The equipment is relatively affordable. There is a wealth of knowledge available on the Internet. There are tons of different communities catering to every type of photography you could be interested in. With a modest investment of time and money, anyone with an eye for composition can turn a photography hobby into an income generator. However, all the talent in the world won’t make you a dime if you can’t get people to see your photography. How do you get the right eyes on your work?
Here are 5 steps for success with getting your photography work noticed:
1. Get a Web site
If you want to come across as a professional, you must have a professional-looking photography Web site. This is the first thing people will ask to see when they find out you are a serious photographer. It should include your best work and plenty of samples of the type of work you want to be doing. If you want to take family photos, put up family photos. If you want to take product photos, put up product photos. If you don’t have the types of photos you want to be taking, go and get them! Your Web site does not have to be complicated. It can be a simple WordPress or Tumblr blog. Or, there are template sites like PhotoBiz or Zenfolio that allow you to pay a monthly fee to put up a portfolio of work. You can put your photos all over the web, but people looking to hire you will always end up on your Web site, so be sure you list your contact information there.
2. Develop a presence on Facebook and other social media
For me, social media has been very effective in getting my work seen. My network is mostly on Facebook, so that’s where I post the most photos. Your network may be more invested in Twitter or Instagram or something else—that’s where you should put your work. This is because no one will be more likely to share your work than your friends and family. And it’s easy for them to share on Facebook, with just one click! You can do this with your personal page or by starting a separate business page fanpage. Start building your business with people who already know and trust you. Post links on social media to photos from your Web site, deals you're offering and more.
3. Set up a page on review sites and get reviews
Once you have your Web site and all of your friends and family have seen your photography work you can start looking for clients outside of your network. Review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List can be helpful. If someone is looking for a photographer and does not have any personal recommendations, a few online reviews can be the next best thing. If you are a wedding photographer, sites like the WeddingWire or The Knot are great for collecting reviews. Set up a business page on a review site (or a few) and ask your clients to leave you an honest review. Make sure there is a link to your Web site.
4. Join photo-hosting sites
Web sites like Flickr, SmugMug, or Google+ are great for hosting photos. If you are good about tagging your images with helpful meta data, and keep them online long enough, you may find that some people find your work through search engines. I’ve never landed a job from someone browsing through one of these sites. But I have had someone find my work on one of these sites through a search engine. And then they clicked through to my Web site.
5. Start a blog
I keep a blog as part of my Web site. Sometimes my blog images show up in search engines and random people find me. More than anything, I think a blog shows that you are working and putting out a consistent level of work. Depending on your type of photography, a blog could be a great way of getting your work seen. Share the results of recent photo-shoots, upcoming shoots you're excited about, new techniques you're testing and more.
These are some of the best ways to get eyes on your photos, in my experience. If I was to do it over again, I would work on them one by one, in this order.