8 Reasons Why So many Photographers Fail to Sell their Services Online

Photography is a valuable skill in great demand, See 8 reasons why many photographers fail to sell their services online & how to succeed

By Claudio Pires
Updated on January 28, 2024
8 Reasons Why So many Photographers Fail to Sell their Services Online

Photography is a precious skill that is in great demand. Businesses need photos of their team in action to convey a brand image, couples want to immortalize their big day, and companies need photographs of their products. However, so many photographers, even talented ones, are failing to find regular work online, if at all. In this article, we’ll see 8 reasons why many photographers fail to sell their services online and how to succeed.

Most of the time, this all boils down to not understanding how to market their services appropriately. By fixing these errors, they’ll have a better chance of building a clientele and getting consistent growth. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why photographers fail to sell their services online.

They Don’t Know How to Build a Portfolio

This is probably one of the worst mistakes you can commit as a starting photographer. At one end of the spectrum, you have people who don’t know what a portfolio should look like, and on the other, you have people who go completely overboard and all over the place.

A photography portfolio should be both simple and eye-catching but professional. This is also something that doesn’t require massive design skills. You have services like Format that will allow you to create a great portfolio in no time with little to no knowledge of web design.

You can build a Format photography portfolio by choosing from one of their multiple themes, picking the font, and dropping your files. Once everything is done, you’ll have a beautiful portfolio site that will allow you to start attracting clients. Photography is a valuable skill in great demand, See 8 reasons why many photographers fail to sell their services online & how to succeed.

They Sell Themselves Cheap: Why Photographers Fail to Sell Online?

Offering your services at a discount can be a good strategy when getting started, but it can’t become your sole strategy. Ultimately, if you decide to try to sell your services for cheap constantly, all you’ll do is attract cheap clients. Also, bargain hunters don’t tend to be the most loyal, so this isn’t the best strategy if you’re trying to build a solid long-term base.

Not only that, but offering your services too cheap might scare off some clients. Some will automatically assume that photographers who offer affordable prices will offer equally cheap service, and that’s not what you want. Instead, look around at how much your competitors are pricing their services for and work on building a reputation.

They Think Scattering Business Cards is a Viable Strategy

When was the last time you saw a photographer’s card on a counter at a shop and thought about hiring them? Never is probably the answer. This is not how people find their photographers.

Either they do so through word of mouth, by conducting searches and looking at reviews, or because they could see a photographer’s work and decide to work with them. In some other cases, they might run across a photographer offering expertise and wanting to know more about them.

These are all effective techniques and where you should spend most of your efforts and marketing dollars. As a result, photographers fail to sell their services online.

They Don’t Think Marketing Matters: Why Photographers Fail to Sell Online?

A lot of work will come from clients referring you to other people, but how do you expect clients to refer to you if you can’t get them in the first place?

Also, don’t expect all that pro bono and discounted work to bring you many people. Instead, it would be best if you had a clear marketing plan and constantly worked on it so you can start building a base. Only then will you be able to get sufficient word-of-mouth publicity?

They Try Only to Sell their Photography

This is another big mistake. You don’t want to sell photography only, but also your knowledge. Instead of simply trying to showcase your talents as a photographer, you should try to be a resource to your target base. For instance, you could give them tips on preparing for wedding photos or tips for companies trying to build a brand image.

Showing that you’re an authority might pique the curiosity of some of your readers and push them to inquire about your services.

Photographers Fail To Sell Online: They Don’t Send Promo Material

Many photographers also don’t do a great job creating and sending promo material. If you’re a commercial or retail photographer, you need to have some of your material printed to ship to prospects physically. Depending on your niche, this could be something like a mini-magazine or a brochure.

The internet has been a godsend for photographers, but this is not the be-all and end-all. Having some pieces like these will allow potential clients to connect more personally with your work and see how it looks physically. Retail photographers can use postcards that showcase some of their work. These will be much more powerful than business cards and allow people to see your work up close.

They Focus All of Their Efforts Online

We understand that social media can be a great way to find clients and show what you can do. However, Instagram is full of photographers like you who are trying to do the same thing you’re doing. You will eventually get drowned out by all the noise and become just another photograph of how photographers succeed.

If you want to make it in this business. You have to be ready to go out and do the legwork. You have to make yourself known in your community. So, see if you can help with local businesses or work with organizations in your area. People like to work with people they know and love. You won’t do that by spending most of your time at home behind a computer screen.

Photographers Fail To Sell Online: They Don’t Use Social Media Correctly

However, this doesn’t mean social media doesn’t work. The problem is that too many have no idea how to use it correctly.

One of the most significant mistakes photographers commit when using social media is posting a lot but not engaging. Others engage with the wrong people and waste their time. Another major mistake a lot of business owners make is overextending themselves. Spending their time and energy on too many networks at once. So, here are the top reasons why photographers fail and how to succeed.

In reality, you should only spend your time on a handful of platforms. Not the ones most think about. For instance, starting photographers tend to focus a lot on Facebook for some reason.

But people don’t log into Facebook looking for photographers; instead, they look at platforms like Pinterest or LinkedIn. So, don’t go for the obvious choices, and if you’re going to use Facebook. Do so primarily to connect. Engage with the clients you’d like to work with by getting active in their communities.

These are the most common reasons photographers fail to make a name for themselves. Suppose you manage to avoid these mistakes. You’ll increase your chance of building a solid client base and getting consistent contracts and how photographers can succeed.

How can photographers succeed in selling their services online?

  1. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines: Ensure your website is SEO-friendly by incorporating relevant keywords related to photography services, such as “wedding photographer,” “portrait photography,” or “event photography.” Use these keywords strategically in your website’s titles, meta descriptions, and content. This helps search engines understand your site, improving your visibility in search results.
  2. Showcase a Compelling Portfolio: Your online portfolio is your visual resume. Display high-quality images, categorize them based on photography types (e.g., weddings, portraits, landscapes), and ensure each image file is named descriptively with relevant keywords. This not only engages potential clients but also helps in image search optimization.
  3. Leverage Local SEO: If you offer services in specific locations, optimize for local SEO. Include location-based keywords in your website content and create a Google My Business profile. This increases your chances of appearing in local search results and Google Maps, attracting local clientele.
  4. Engage Through Blogging: Create a blog to share your photography experiences, tips, or behind-the-scenes stories. Use keywords in your blog posts to improve your site’s content depth and search relevance. Regularly updated content also signals to search engines that your website is active, boosting your SEO.
  5. Utilize Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms are powerful tools for photographers. Share your work on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Use relevant hashtags and geo-tags, and engage with your audience to drive traffic to your website. Social signals can indirectly impact your SEO rankings.
  6. Collect and Showcase Testimonials: Positive reviews and testimonials from past clients can significantly influence potential customers. Feature these testimonials on your website and encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on Google and social media. This builds credibility and contributes to SEO through fresh, authentic content.
Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.