The Internet is awash in imagery. The proliferation of smartphones has turned anyone with access to an iPhone into an armchair photographer ready and willing to share each and every photo he or she takes, no matter how mundane or inconsequential a photo may be. While that’s great for everyday folks looking to share memories with family and friends, professional photographers looking to promote and sell their work often find it difficult to stand out among the scores of people sharing images online.
But more and more photographers are learning to use the Internet to their advantage and separating themselves from the weekend warriors with no professional ambitions. The following are three simple ways for photographers to increase their online presence and grow their businesses.
Encourage customer reviews
In its 2015 “Yodle Insights: What Consumers Want From Local Businesses” survey, online marketing leader Yodle found that 36 percent of consumers acknowledge that having online reviews gives businesses a competitive advantage. In addition, 89 percent of consumers are willing to provide reviews when their experiences are positive and they are encouraged to do so by small business owners. Yet less than 10 percent of small business owners ask consumers to write such reviews. By encouraging customer reviews, professional photographers can increase their visibility online, gain a competitive advantage and receive valuable feedback they can use to better serve future customers.
Embrace an age-old tradition with a 21st century twist
The tradition of artists’ collectives dates back several centuries. While it is now one of the world’s largest museums and most recognizable monuments, the Louvre in Paris was once used as a collective where artists were afforded access to inexpensive studio and exhibition space. But escalating real estate costs have led many modern day co-ops to close up shop in recent years, leaving artists with little, if any, affordable venues to showcase their work. But much like many retailers have moved their operations online, artists’ collectives have begun to follow suit. Online artist communities such as YourArtGallery.com offer a virtual gallery space to artists looking to showcase and sell their work, without the rent, commissions and red tape typically associated with more traditional galleries. Artists simply upload their work and set their own royalties. Buyers, whether they’re art enthusiasts, interior designers or fine art buyers whose clients include hotel chains and hospitality, can then browse the gallery from the comfort of their homes and offices and order an array of pieces at any size they wish, in a variety of finishes and frames. The gallery then takes care of the rest, handling production, shipping and artist payment.
Start sharing your knowledge
The Internet may be vast, but that vastness provides plenty of opportunities for professional photographers to share their knowledge and further establish their reputations. Visit a popular photography blog, learn its editorial style and then offer to write a blog post. Whether it’s a tutorial about how to frame a particular shot or a personal essay about obstacles they faced coming up in the business, professional photographers can use blogs to establish themselves as experts in their field. Photographers whose keyboard skills pale in comparison to their skills with a video camera can post instructional videos to YouTube in lieu of blogging. Always an include a brief description of yourself and your work history as well as your contact information should any readers, viewers or prospective clients wish to get in touch.