7 Inexpensive Ways to Get Your Photography Noticed [IP33]

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In Episode 33 of the Improve Photography Podcast, Jim and Dustin go through 7 inexpensive ways to get your photography noticed (commercially or otherwise).

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If you’re new to the podcast, you can see all the previous episodes of the Improve Photography Podcast here.

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Guide to Episode 33

Today’s episode is a departure from our typical “Question/Answer” format. Stay tuned next week for more Q&A, but for this week please join Jim and Dustin for some great tips about how to get your photography noticed.


 

Do you want people to notice your photography? Do you want more customers, more likes, more feedback? Photographers thrive on the feedback of others. Today Jim and Dustin would like to share 7 inexpensive things you can do to get your photography noticed. Most of these steps can be completed in under a month, so if you’re looking for a way to get your photography out there, read on!

 

  1. [2:34] You Need a Website

You’re a photographer. You take photos (lots of them) – it’s what you do. But what photographer wants their photos gathering dust on their hard drive? We all want to share our work, and the best way to get your photos noticed is to have a place people can go to look at what you’ve created. Setting up an art gallery on Main Street isn’t very realistic for most people these days – the cost and energy to maintain something like that just isn’t practical. But in this digital age, there is a very simple and inexpensive way to let all kinds of people see your work: set up a website for your photography!

Now remember – the reason people are coming to your site is to enjoy your photos, not because they really want to see what amazing web-development skills you have. So don’t have some swirly whiz-bang intro to your site – you just want one big photo (of your best stuff!) and then a clean, easy way for them to see your work. Check out this link for some step-by-step help getting your site set up with WordPress. Getting a website going can seem like a giant task, but this is something you could absolutely do in less than a day. When it’s that fast, that easy, and we’re giving you step-by-step directions, how can you justify putting it off?

  • [4:35] Your Site Should Be Useful and Interesting

 

You’ve set up your website, but all you hear are crickets chirping. You’re not getting any traffic to your site. Nobody is looking for you, nobody is sharing what you’re doing, and nobody is talking about you. Sure, you may have just posted a blog post about the latest wedding you shot (Weren’t they a cute couple?). But aside from the immediate family and friends of that couple, there’s nobody that is interested in what you’ve got up on your site.

The way to solve this problem is to put useful and interesting content on your website – things that make people think “Hey – I’ve got to come back here!” Consider taking some photos of your hometown (or your current town) and creating a really nice landscape picture that you offer as a free download so people can use it as their desktop background. Think of something that will attract the kind of people you’re looking for and make that available to them through your website. For about 40 minutes a week, you can update your site with a nice blog post that will keep people interested and coming back.

  • [8:36] Connect With People

 

Don’t forget the value of real connections with people! Interact with real people, face to face. Even in this digital age, in-person contact is still a really great way to get noticed. Join a photo club. Go to Meetup.com and look for groups in your city. When you talk with people about your photography, refer them to your site.

Especially when you’re starting out, a lot of your web traffic will come from people who you have interacted with in person. And when people are clicking around on your site, the site begins to look “lived in”. Before you know it, there are 10 comments on your most recent post. People are sharing it with their friends, and the social feedback from being on a “lived in” site is telling them that this is something other people will enjoy.

  • [13:00] Share Photos that People Actually Want

 

Give people a taste of what you can do in a context that they actually care about. If they actually have an interest in the photos you take, they are more likely to remember your work.

Are you attending an event? Bring your camera! This is a great time for you to take some photos and then share them with the people involved (for example: put them on the Facebook page for the group who sponsored the event, offering them as free downloads). Be willing to share your photos, even if you’re not getting paid to do it. Don’t get caught up in thinking you need to be paid for all your photography work. Remember that part of what you’re looking for is just getting noticed. If people see that you took some really fantastic photos of their event, they will be more likely to come to you when they want other photography done.

Did you get an amazing shot of a really cool building? Contact the owner of the building and offer them the use of your photo on their website in return for a property release. This might open the door to some really great opportunities with them in the future.

  • [17:56] Make it Sticky

 

Now that you have people coming to your site, you need a way to keep them around. You need to give them a reason and a way to stay connected with your brand. The very best way to do this is with email. Start an email list. This might feel a little strange if you’re not a business, but it’s still a really great way to get yourself noticed. Use MailChimp.com – it’s free, up to 500 people! This way when you post on your website, all the people who have joined your mailing list will get an email about your post. This is a great way to keep in contact with people, and a wonderful way to get some personal feedback on your photography.

If you use WordPress for your website, there are some really great plugins you can use to connect it to MailChimp. This keeps people on top of your site without you needing to do any of the extra legwork.

  • [21:55] Be Social

 

Social media is a big deal. You can reach a lot of people through the various social media networks. However, it is important that you look at social media as a way to communicate with your followers, instead of as a way to generate followers. Social media is a great way to get people to stay with you but not necessarily a great tool for getting new people to follow you. Once you have people attached to your brand, you want to bring them into your social media network so they can stay in touch with you and the community.

If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, you need to be active. It’s extremely important that you talk and interact with people. If you want people to be active on your social media forums, you need to be vocal on theirs. Be friendly, be genuine, be outgoing, and you will find that people will do the same for you.

  • [28:28] Take the Photos that Nobody Else Will

 

This is the hardest step, and takes the most time – it’s probably something that you’ll work at forever. Take a look at your work, and ask yourself this question: Could you take your photography to the next level?

TheLastGoodbye_LightPainting_JesseFussellman_DustinOlsen

Dustin took this awesome photo of a couple in an alley. (Click here to see his blog post about the photo.) It’s really a fantastic photo, but even Dustin himself knows that there are always ways to make a great photo even better. What would Hollywood do to this scene if they were in control? If you think about it in that light, it can give you some really great ideas for what you can do to make this a photo that nobody else is even willing to spend the time and effort to take.

Ask yourself what you could do differently and better. Otherwise you’re just going to take the same photo over and over again, and you’ll never improve. Be the photographer who is willing to go through incredible amounts of work to make a fantastic photo.

Photography is a skill, a talent, something you can improve. We want you to pick one of these 7 things and do it! Post below and tell us what you’re going to do. We’d love to hear how you’re getting noticed!

Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. Samantha Bartlett says

    Hi Jim and Dustin,

    Excellent podcast #33. This podcast has been so helpful to me and is so encouraging because I am, as you said, in a so called photography island and have no idea where to even start. Your podcast came at a really good time because I was becoming really discouraged.

    Jim, I was really touched by your act of kindness toward the newly wed couple. I am sure it meant a lot to that couple, and who knew that a simple act of kindness can be achieved with a camera. I especially appreciate how much the two of you opened up what you know to the rest of us and you do it in such a humble way, thank you! You guys are really amazing photographers, glad I found your site!

  2. rob says

    Just wanna say you guys do a GREAT job with your podcast! Even if I pick up one thing every time I listen it’s valuable. Improve photography is always at the top of my rotation when I listen to podcasts to and from work.

  3. Lee says

    Very informative podcast. Logically organized and well presented. However I did miss the “do-dad’s” that you present at the end of your podcasts. 8-) I recently switched to Flickr after Webshots converted to Smailes and I was no longer able to share photo albums with family and friends. Using “Sets” in Flickr helps me to share recent shots. Looking forward to your next podcast!

  4. Angela Corrie says

    Thank you. I always take away a few ideas to think about when I’m done listening. I joined a couple of photography Meetup groups just after the first of the year. One of my best decisions. Not only have I learned so much more with having experienced photographers so willing to answer questions, the locations we have visited I didn’t know existed! These are days I really look forward to.

  5. says

    Awesome podcast guys, really beneficial to me as I’ve just launched my site and I’m on the process of gaining followers and providing content.
    I especially like the part about making opportunities from nothing by sharing your work.
    I’m going to have another listen this afternoon to make sure I’ve not missed anything!

  6. Adam says

    This was a great podcast.

    It’s great to hear that you would observe a need for a photographer for wedding photos out in the park and filled that need.

    This is also a great way to become more confident in your talents / skills and help out other people with those talents.

    This podcast also made me realize that one must be engaged and approachable if you wish to be engaged.

  7. Calum says

    Hi guys

    I really enjoy your podcast – thanks!

    However, I always have a problem playing it on Android. I use BeyondPod podcast player, but the built-in player has similar problems.
    The problem is that, when I attempt to skip forwards/backwards, or click on a particular location in the podcast, it doesn’t jump to the correct location.
    When I pause and come back to it later, it goes to the wrong location.
    So it’s difficult to play it, pause and resume later, and skip back to pick up something which I missed, as I end up in the wrong place.

    I’ve downloaded episode 33 to check it, and the mp3 reports a length of 43:47.
    However, when I play it on my PC, it lasts 40:07.
    When I re-encode it with Audacity, it generates an MP3 of 40:07.
    When I play in using the player on your website, it reports about 38:49. However, when it has fully buffered, it reports and plays to 40:07.

    Any thoughts about this? Is the MP3 being generated correctly?
    BTW, this happens on all of the Improve Photography podcasts, but not on any of the other podcasts I listen to.

    Thanks again,
    Calum

  8. Julienne says

    This podcast just gave me the bit of confidence as well as knowledge that I have been searching for to take my photography to the next level. Thank you guys so much!

    I think I most related to the comment about photos collecting dust in the hard drive, because that is exactly what is happening to many of mine. I have been working on the social aspect, getting pieces into shows and trying to get my name out there, but I don’t have a website to back it up. So that will be my weekend project.

    Thanks again!

  9. says

    Hey Jim & Dusty!
    My story starts YEARS ago when I bought my first dslr. I don’t know how many times I had to hear my X say, “Oh my gosh. Do you have to lug that camera everywhere we go?” Notice I said, “X?” My new amazing hubby bought me a new camera, a new laptop to edit on the fly, and surprised me with college classes in photography for my birthday! He’s my keeper! So, after 4 classes and lots of outings- where he insists on carrying whatever I need :)- I’ve had enough people tell me I should be in business that I made the jump. I had built up some fans on FB, gotten my domain, & had been working on building my website for a few weeks until I heard your 33rd podcast. Can I just say, “Perfect timing??” With a shaky finger, I pressed the Publish button just yesterday. :) Yay! I’m a dot com! http://www.kristiweaverphotography.com
    Please, when you get a chance, go take a look and let me know what you think? It would seriously make my day! I’m also open to any more advice you can pass along. I’m always anxious to see your new podcasts out each week as I’ve learned SO much from you both… so thank you! :)

  10. says

    another inspiring podcast gentlemen. thank you. (i can’t listen to you at night when i generally fall asleep listening to podcasts, i just get too excited)
    yeanyhoo
    Thank you for the challenge to post on her a goal of getting our photos noticed more. I am going to take step 7 seriously and make the shot no one else will.
    I do mainly portraiture and have done better and better at shooting in natural light. Now is the time to TAKE TIME and set up lighting and stifle the urge to photograph every inch of the location with the sitter.
    Thanks again for your inspiring work and your knowledge you share. I agree that sharing photography talent charitably along the way is great attention karma.

  11. Mary Beaty says

    So I just purchased the domain for my photography website/blog! I have signed up for 2 photo walks in my area to network with local photographers and I am in an online photography workshop which has helped me to start to truly start to develop my style as a lifestyle/documentary photographer. (I don’t know if that is a real type of photography but that’s how I’d define my style). Thanks for the pep talk. I was just starting to wonder if I was doing too much but now I feel more like I’m making progress. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I’m gonna set the goal at sharing my website blog by the end of October!……Now it’s in writing so I have to do It!

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