I feel like I’m one in a million. Literally. When you google “Nashville TN wedding photographer” or “Nashville TN baby photographer“, it seems like thousands of photographers pop up. I can’t believe how many photographers are out there. I think some people are serious photographers and some aren’t, but still it’s insane how many there are.
If I’m just one in a huge lake of millions of photographers, what’s going to make me stand out, what’s going to make my website at the top of google, what’s going to make people want to hire me? It’s frustrating.
I’ve done extensive research. I’ve looked at advertising “Ashley DeYoung Photography” as a local photographer in Nashville on “theknot.com” or “thebump.com”, but it’s expensive. I’ve read reviews on them, and people say they pay and pay and rarely get leads. Leads can be expensive to purchase and you never know if they are seriously inquiring or just browsing.
I think the best thing is word of mouth. That’s hard to do, but it does work.
I’ve had a lot of success (surprisingly) by advertising my business on my myspace page to musicians, I have 8900 friends on myspace. About two years ago exactly, I started revving up my myspace page (before twitter was big). I just kept adding musicians and models within a 100 mile radius of me. I was booking 3-4 shoots a week, and pulling in a nice paycheck, but I was still in college and also working part time as a nanny, so I had to make a decision…continue shooting or graduate. I decided to graduate and took a year and a half off from my business, shooting only occasionally. Now, I’m graduated and back at square one. I believe, if I had kept it up, I’d still be shooting consistently, but I needed to finish school.
Since I decided to put my business on hold, times have changed economically. And also, within the social medias. Myspace.com isn’t as big anymore, facebook.com is bigger, and people are now tweeting like crazy. So I have to find a new medium to network. It’s hard.
I advertise session specials occasionally on craigslist.org if I have an open weekend.
I have about 3900 twitter followers which helps with exposure too. I’ve learned that my images must be current in style, reasonably priced sessions, and network through friends of friends.
I also update my website frequently, so google indexes my current info. I spend a lot of time uploading photos to websites that are strictly for photography…webshots.com, jpgmag.com; soaphoto.com; flickr.com, etc.
It’s becoming a full time job just keeping up with all of the social media outlets. I want to stay connected with my facebook friends, myspace friends and twitter followers by replying to their comments, but I’ve also got emails to answer, and all of the websites to maintain and update. I like to be personable by answering and replying to messages and comments people make about my work, though.
Also, I spend a lot of time reading other people’s blogs and commenting, that’s the best way to get my blog exposure. It’s getting ridiculous with the amount of time I spend on my computer. No wonder my hard drive crashed 2 weeks ago…I felt lost without my macbook.
My business is a work in progress…hopefully will take off (again) soon, if this economy turns around (fingers crossed)!