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How to Differentiate Yourself as a Photographer – 6 Tips For 2021

As we head into another year, many of us are setting goals and expectations for ourselves and our photography businesses. While 2020 might not have gone the way we all wished for, it’s made us more hungry for the year ahead. And more determined than ever to stand out from the crowd and secure the bookings we deserve. 

In a saturated market full of exceptional professionals and talented amateurs (plus the invention of DSLR’s and easy access to high resolution cameras attached to smartphones), setting yourself apart as a photographer is more challenging than ever. 

We’ve compiled a list of ways that you might not have considered when it comes to standing out as a photographer and catching the attention of potential clients in 2021.

This article is brought to you by Pixellu, the makers of simple, reliable, time-saving software for photographers. 

SmartAlbums album design software by Pixellu

1. Focus on your strengths

Rather than trying to be all things to all people, define your photography niche, and focus on marketing that. Clients will always seek a photographer whose unique style fits what they want in a final set of images. By trying to fill your website and social media with a wide variety of photos (in an attempt to show versatility), you’ll end up confusing potential clients and attracting prospects that are the wrong fit.

For example, if you are an amazing photojournalist, don’t fill your website and social media feeds with posed photos. Instead, share all the stunning candid moments you’ve captured full of raw emotion and passion. Not only will you attract more clients because they know precisely what sort of photographer you are, but you’ll book more enjoyable jobs because you’re not altering your style to suit them. 

SmartSlides slide shows are perfect for social media

2. Social Media

No list on how to stand out would be complete without mentioning your social media presence. Aside from referrals, many photographers report that social media is their biggest source of clients. Yet social media is an ever-changing, challenging beast, and at times it can be difficult to know where to start. 

Of course, consistent and aesthetically pleasing content is a good foundation for social media success. However, generating a large following and attracting paying clients through social media are two different things. Some photography genres will always perform better than others. And it can be tempting to exclusively post the type of images that will earn you a lot of engagement.

For example, a drone shot of an idyllic beach will generally get more engagement than a family portrait. But, if family portraits are your bread and butter, then that’s what should make up the majority of your social media feed. Why? Because the people who like, comment, and follow based on that drone shot aren’t going to be the same people that pay you to photograph their growing family. By staying true to the work you love, you may attract fewer followers, but those who seek you out will be more likely to hire you.

SmartAlbums album design software by Pixellu

3. Work on your communication skills

Generating leads and potential clients is only the first step in a long journey. To successfully convert prospects into paying clients, you need to stand out as someone they can trust to capture their special memories. This is where your communication skills are key. From the moment they get in touch until you’ve delivered their images, ensure all communication with your clients is straightforward and friendly. Be prompt to respond, be approachable, and help clients understand your process without making them feel silly.

Now more than ever, when people are nervous about future bookings and the impact of COVID-19, well written, clear, and empathetic communication is the way to differentiate yourself and earn your clients’ trust. 

Slideshow created using SmartSlides

4. Make friends in the industry

Standing out to your peers and potential collaborators is just as crucial as standing out to your target audience. Take time to develop genuine relationships with other photographers and industry professionals. Whether you connect through Facebook groups, Whatsapp groups for creatives and photographers, via a Clubhouse room, at online events and trade shows — find people with similar tastes and styles. Get a conversation going. Not only can this develop another stream of potential referrals, but you’ll make firm friends that you can bounce ideas off of, help, and lift each other up. In a highly competitive industry, these sorts of friends are invaluable. 

Example of a slideshow created using SmartSlides

5. Deliver an unforgettable experience

Standing out from the crowd doesn’t end once you’ve booked your client. You’ll need to continue to impress them every step of the way. Why? Because, according to the 2020 State of the Wedding Photography Industry report, over 60% of successful inquiries come via word-of-mouth referrals. Simply put, they’re the fastest way to make it onto the shortlist of more future clients. 

A potential client might love your work, but they’re probably also talking to several other photographers who work within the same niche. However, if their friend has referred you, you’ll instantly find yourself near the top of their list. 

From your pre-event communication, right through to photo delivery, everything needs to be seamless. Make it easy for the client, and provide a great experience that gets them smiling. Look for opportunities to wow and impress them in ways they weren’t expecting. Simple things like delivering them a teaser slideshow before you send them all of their images. Or beautifully wrapping their photo album — show that you care about their memories and will surely impress them. If they walk away feeling good about every interaction, they’ll happily refer you to friends, family, and even complete strangers.

Auckland gallery template included with Pixellu Galleries

6. Level up the professionalism

These days it seems as if everyone with a camera is calling themselves a professional photographer. But you can set yourself apart from the pack by adding a level of polish to every aspect of the client journey. Take some time during the quiet season to examine all the touch points a client has with your brand. Ask yourself if it’s consistent, if it’s a true reflection of your personality and style, and if it’s beautiful. Ask yourself if your website is feeling a little dated, could it use a refresh to look at its best? Do you have a custom domain, or is your email address the same one you used at college? Do you deliver your images using a run-of-the-mill cloud storage solution like DropBox, or do you use a customized gallery designed to present your work at its very best? Little things like these go a long way towards marking you as a true professional in your field. And we guarantee that your clients will notice. 

2020 might not have been the year we all hoped for, but 2021 is shaping up to be busier than ever for many photographers. There are lots of opportunities to differentiate yourself, to create a unique offering, and to stand out in a saturated market. Take some time to analyze your business and identify any critical areas for improvement. These will help you set yourself up for a successful year ahead. There really is no better time to tackle these changes than right now. 

Make your photography brand stand out from the crowd with Pixellu

As you work with your clients, it’s so much easier to surprise and delight them when you have the right tools at your fingertips. The sheer quantity of tedious work required to run a successful photography business is a problem faced by professional photographers worldwide. It’s overwhelming, and many photographers end up quitting on their dream of having a photography career.

Pixellu’s software is designed to help photographers deliver an exceptional experience that impresses their clients without adding to the hours spent sitting in front of their computer.

SmartAlbums album design software by Pixellu

SmartAlbums

Albums are the ultimate keepsake, plus they’re an effective upsell for any photography business. But they can take hours to prepare to a professional standard. SmartAlbums allows photographers to create stunning albums in minutes. Plus Cloud Proofing means your clients can review, submit feedback, and request changes directly on each spread. This saves a lot of back and forth emailing, and makes the album approval process a breeze for everyone. 

Slideshow created using SmartSlides

SmartSlides

SmartSlides helps you deliver your images in a unique and impactful slideshow that will wow your clients. Choose 30-35 best images from a client’s gallery. Add them into an elegant slideshow layout. Pair it with a song that perfectly highlights the mood of the shoot (thanks to the automatic beat matching options available with SmartSlides) and send it to your clients. This not only serves as an impactful preview for the full gallery to come, but it will get them excited about sharing this preview with their family and friends. And guess who gets extra credits for the skillful, beautiful work of art? You!

Here’s why we think that SmartSlides are a powerful marketing tool for your photography business.

Copenhagen template included with Pixellu Galleries

Pixellu Galleries

Your images deserve to be presented in a way that does them justice — Pixellu Galleries is our latest software, and has been designed with the presentation of your images at its core. Not only are they the most beautiful gallery designs on the market, but they’re fully customizable to suit your artistic identity. Our intelligent technology allows ultra-fast loading while ensuring your work looks its very best, regardless of what device it’s displayed on. Create a seamless, and beautiful experience for your clients when they receive their images. 

Pixellu Discount for Flothemes Users

Designed by photographers, for photographers, Pixellu software is helping photographers save time while growing their businesses. It’s easy to use, reliable, and every detail is carefully considered to deliver a beautiful experience. Plus, all Flothemes clients and friends enjoy 20% off Pro and Unlimited plans, or the All Apps Bundle which contains everything you need to stand out in 2021. Simply use the code FLOTHEMES20 at checkout to see your exclusive discount applied.

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