Marketing Your Business and Staying in Business

Before you take the leap and start your own photography business, you need to consider three very important questions and know how you’ll use different marketing techniques to help maintain a sustainable business.

From naming your company to designing your website, Karl looks at the various marketing materials you could use to draw attention to your business. Using examples from his own work, he covers identifying your market and reaching potential clients, defining your brand, building a portfolio, tackling social media and website design and much more.

In this class:

  • What to think about before starting a business
  • Understand how to market your business
  • How to build your brand
  • Different materials to market your business
  • How to use social media to market your business
  • Working with agents

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

Marketing your business

Marketing your business is key to success.


  1. I only watch this today but I think we have done very similar marketing activities over the years. It’s really good to know that on the other side of the world someone is doing the same, but you are better than me in many ways. Thanks Karl!


    1. Hi Ronnel, thank you for your comments. The main things I think I can take away from understanding marketing is knowing your potential market, their needs, the supply and demand elements and then presenting a clear professional message.

  2. Hi Karl, thank you for the info, I appreciate you getting back to me. How did you set up your landing page as that makes an impressive statement with the single large image?

    1. Hi Steve, those are called ‘cover pages’ I think and they are a feature of Squarespace websites that you can create via the Squarespace platform.

      1. Thanks again Karl, I have found that the “Wells” template shows images off very well and really helps the web site make an impact. I love the large image cover page that really allows for image impact. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Karl, I use Squarespace for my web site, I like the template you use, is it a standard or have you customised your own?

    Thank you for all the info, very very useful.

    1. Hi Steven, it is a ‘Wells’ template, the only custom code I’ve had added is in the video section to make the videos layout in the order as they do.

    1. Hi Sammy, not on that one but there is a similar one in our of our previous live shows, head to the Live Shows section.

  4. Hi Karl,

    Is December an Ok time to send out marketing materials to the ad agencies? Or is it better to wait until January?

    Many thanks.

    Best wishes

    1. Hi Will, It can be a busy time in December, too much information coming in from all angles. So unless you can send out in January as well then maybe leave it until January.

  5. Hi Karl, just have another marketing question. So just to clarify, for prodcut photography the majority of your clients would be advertising agents? And if so, is there not much point in targeting product base businesses directly as they would probably just use ad agencies anyway? Also, will the artistic director always be the person to directly contact? Many thanks. Best wishes Will

    1. Hi Will, I would say 50% of my clients are advertising agencies and 50% are direct with large corporations that have their own in-house marketing or creative teams. The art directors or creative directors and often the marketing team are my points of contacts in both. I also shoot for government organisations for tourism, airlines, large hotels/hospitality too and occasionally architectural. On the odd occasion I also shoot industrial images too and this is often directly with the company in sectors such as engineering or electronics.

  6. Hi Karl,
    Regarding the databases, are there websites you can buy these from? If so, could you recommend any that would be good for photography? Many thanks. Best Will

    1. Hi Will, there are business databases that you can purchase for various industry sectors but I’m afraid I’m unable to recommend any.

    1. Hi Akansh, Ikea already use a lot of CGI but they use trained photographers to ‘light’ and ‘compose’ the shot in the virtual world. It will definitely have more impact on product photography in the future but as always it’s a question of economics, who can do it better, faster and most competitively. On good product imagery I still win on product photography.

  7. Is with emergence of mobile phones there is any effect of photography business or in past 10 years is this business globally increased or decreased

    1. Hi Akansh, no not from mobile phones but from higher quality DSLR and many more good photographers has had a huge impact on traditional portrait and wedding photographers operating in the mid price range. Those at the top of their game still were able to ‘see’ a shot much more effectively and knew how to manage a shoot that kept their work separated from many of the new amateurs, in fact if you watch the replay of the live show with David Stanbury he even talks about how he put his prices up to separate him from them. In commercial photography such as product and advertising or fashion the skill set is very much more about lighting and a deeper understanding of technical aspects of photography or colour theory so phones or keen amateurs haven’t really made much more of a dent than they would have anyway. In some areas of product photography though including cars some of the market has been lost to 3d/CGI but many of the top photographers have started incorporating that into their workflow to expand their services.

    1. Hi Akansh, I’d say it’s got a little tougher and we are seeing more work being completed in post production or 3D/CGI than previously.

  8. Greetings Karl,

    Excellent info. A few brief questions please. I’m an interiors photographer now for 3 years and looking to grow my clientele.

    1. What cost effective program of mailing brochures would you recommend? (e.g. 3X per year with three different pieces, one with price list…).

    2. What’s your opinion on cold calling?

    Best regards and thanks,

    1. Hi Victor, personally I wouldn’t include a price list unless that is your unique selling point, but ideally it shouldn’t be, it should be the quality of your work and your service. There is no minimum on mailshots but you shouldn’t also send out unnecessary junk mail, to new prospect I’d send two different ones in one month and then call them and ask them if they received it and would they like to discuss it further. If you don’t get anywhere, send another different one the next month and then call again. Cold calling is fine if you have the confidence to do it, I used to do it all the time but usually only after sending something by mail so I had something to talk about or ask them.

      1. I’m embarking on the project. Massive challenge. Elements include: New identity pack (business cards, logo, photo of myself), template selection / layout, determining print quality obtainable by various printers, postage rates … You could offer a whole chapter on how to do what sounds so simple: The Maildrop. I suppose this is what separates the pros from the rookies, if for no other reason than the expense involved.

        I agree that cold calling prior to sending any info is much more challenging. I wish the phone would just ring, given a large enough mailing (program). Karl, your persona is so pro, so classy, so first rate, that I feel the persona I’ve created so far is lacking. Need a roadmap to reinvention of myself.

        My specific question, if I may, is what do you think of this from a persona standpoint: Pull no punches please. Many thanks, Victor.

  9. Hi Karl, thanks so much for this. Just a quick question, if I was to send out some advertisement postcards to local businesses in London offering my services for product photography, would you advise printing your price list on these, or is it best to let them find that via a website? Many thanks. Best wishes Will

    1. Hi Will, no I wouldn’t advise printing your price list unless your USP was ‘very competetive prices’ I guess it depends on the type of businesses you are targeting and what you think they’d respond to, but once you’ve printed your price then you’ve got nowhere else to go other than those prices. I’ve got a rate card I give to clients once I’ve established a relationship with them but on that rate card it details how rates will be different for local/national/international work and other associated fees such as sets, post etc. Even my long term clients just request a quote on a job by job basis to factor all these things in.

  10. Shooting since 1997 and this piece of info was more enlightening that had in all of that time. SMH.

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