All right … we covered some basic job search options in Part I, now I would like to talk about advertising and marketing piece. As we all know, finding an opportunity for a beginner could be a challenging task. A great way to start is to build a simple online portfolio. You don’t necessary need to have your own website and spend money for web hosting and development. Start with a simple free hosting option … trust me, you’ll find a lot of them on the Internet. Be careful on how you market and advertise. One of the most common things is to advertise, get the gig, and fail to perform. No matter how much (or little) you’re charging, the general public will expect professional quality work the minute you put your name out there. This being said, I would suggest you plan things ahead. There are four questions you need to answer before you start:
WHO – Who is your target client. No matter how you feel about this one, you should be really careful who you’re planning to approach. Again, start with small opportunities, build your expertize and bigger customers will hear about you. Don’t forget, small or big gig requires the same amount of dedication, professionalism and effort.
WHAT – What are you offering. I firmly believe that photographers aren’t Jack of all trades. Concentrate on one particular thing and stick with it (food photography). I’ve seen way too many beginners that specialize in following … Product, Portrait, Fashion, Landscape and Wedding photography … even very, very few pros out there are able to master them all.
WHERE – Naturally you have to decide where to advertise your services. My advice is to go local and stay local for a while. You will save a lot of time and money by doing so. First of all, explore all free advertising options such as email, local newspaper listing and free Internet business listing like Google, Yahoo etc. You’ll be surprised how many potential clients you can reach this way. If you have some money to spare, you might look into things like Google AdWords. You can set your budget with AdWords as low as $20 a month. Don’t forget one thing … word of mouth. Never underestimate this powerful advertising medium. Start-up companies have been made and broken by word of mouth alone.
WHEN – When you should start advertising? This is a really good question. Do you feel you’re ready and capable of selling your services? Do you think your clients will be happy with the end result? “Getting known” and “Getting a name” for yourself can be a two edged sword. You can be known as the person who did really lousy work or really great work.
Getting paid to shoot makes you a professional by all means. Good marketing & advertising holds an important key to success. That key is to make a profit … big or small.