EG: You can choose to market yourself with big, loud tactics. I’ve chosen a slower approach with my marketing; I’ll call it “white noise marketing.” The secret for me has been to continue to produce quality images and quietly remind people about them. I do this with a combination of the following:
- A newsletter I send about 3-4 times a year. This is an example of one.
- Postcards I send to friends, clients, people I want to like + hire me, etc. I usually send them out 3-4 times a year. I usually write something funny and personalized on the back.
- When I have a cool project, I’ll do a big printed piece or zine or something. Here, here, and here are examples I’ve done in the past.
- Portfolio meetings with people as much as possible.
- Social media. I befriend people who I think do cool work. Hopefully they like the work I do, too.
- I’ve been sending end-of-year gifts with candy and other funny stuff for a few years, too.
I’d hate to be the photographer version of a used car salesman with loud gimmicks and cheap suits. That’s not the association I want people to make when they think about my work.The focus for me has always been and will always be “make good work.” Of course, I can do things to help promote that work, but if it sucks to begin with, then I’m failing. I’ll continue to self publish and create personal work—that is essential to me as a human and as a brand.
JS: Self-initiated projects are the cornerstone of all my marketing efforts. This provides a space where I can experiment, push a new aesthetic and explore an area of interest. In this space, I have full control and I am able take more creative risks in terms of approach and presentation. This is the work that I prefer to share when I approach both existing and potential clients.
In terms of marketing practices, it is imperative that I’m sharing work that I’m excited about and presenting it in a way that speaks to my personality.
I do the following:
- Email newsletters – I send these out about 2-4 times a year to both editorial and commercial clients. When I am putting these together, I like to make sure that I have at least 3 notable items and a call to action. And I try to write them in “my voice.” This is an example of a recent newsletter.
- Direct email – If I have a specific idea to propose or if I am trying to introduce myself. I try to be very intentional with these types of emails.
- Booklets – GrApHic DeSigN iS mY PaSsIoN too! But seriously, I am a huge fan and collector of magazines and photography books. About 1-2 times a year, I send out booklets that feature collections of my recent work. I do the layout and design for these and it’s another way to share a little bit about me and my interests. *Quick note: since we’re still in a pandemic, I’ve paused this practice since the recipients for these are working from home and not the office.
- Editorial assignments – Sometimes a byline in a notable publication can function as self-promotion.
- Meetings – Pre-Pandemic I was carving out at least 1-2 weeks to do in-person meetings, where I would show a physical portfolio, books, prints encompassing both personal and assignment work.
- Internet + Social Media – My portfolio site gets updated regularly and I post semi-regularly to Instagram. Since we’re still in a pandemic, these are the two buckets that I’m paying attention to at the moment.
CC: I do the same thing as Jared as far as marketing efforts. Except I don’t have the graphic design skillz so I hire designers to help. Some examples of my printed pieces and projects below –
A client received the above promo and I didn’t hear from them until they hired me for a two-day ad job nine months after receiving the promo. You just never know.