Self promotion commotion

We’ve all agonized over it. How do you as a photographer promote yourself to the world. If your like me, I’m sure you have spent many a sleepless night wondering if your approach is working. Should I change my postcard? Too simple? Not simple enough? Should I even be sending out postcards? What about business cards? Is the design effective? Is it sending the message I want it to send? All of these questions are enough to make you want to pull your hair out (and if your in my situation, there isn’t that much hair to spare!) Having run this gauntlet recently I have a few thoughts on the subject that I hope you find enlightening:

1. You are a photographer, not a designer– I know, I know, you may think your day-glo blue business card with the swirly-Q font looks cool, but trust me it doesn’t. I remember asking the opinion of my graphic designer what she thought of my latest design for my business card (this was before I asked her to come up with a design for me). She gave me a sympathetic look and said “why don’t you just stick to photography”… Truer words could not have been spoken. Graphic designers have a plethora of knowledge when it comes to appropriate font choice, layout, color selection, etc. USE IT!!! If you can’t afford a graphic designer; beg, borrow, and steal to get the services of one. I had to sell a kidney (just kidding 🙂

2. Be as innovative as possible- I once heard a story about an advertising company that was changing their name. They needed an innovative way to get the word out, so instead of traditional snail mail they used carrier pigeons! They attached a tiny invitation and RSVP to the pigeon’s leg inviting the recipient to a renaming party. They sent out 60 pigeons over 3 days and had a 100% success rate! It’s true, you can read about it here.
My point is that if you want to get someones attention, you generally have to beat them over the head with something extremely unique. I’ve seen some truly unique pieces, from plant beans that spell out the word “create” when fully grown to miniature portfolios that fit inside a pocketbook. The key is to find something that fits your personality. I like to use minicards. There cute, tiny, and unorthodox; just like me!

3. Make your promotion system unified- What I mean by this is you want all of your promotional material to be consistent. If you have a postcard with one font choice and a business card with another, your clientele is going to get pretty confused pretty quickly. It’s good to think in terms of searing your branding into a client’s brain. You want them to remember you beyond just your photography. A strong promotional system will do just that.

That’s about it for now, just remember that a strong self promo is one more way to get your foot in the door.