One of the most important step that a photographer should take, is to promote his skills, and to think about his skills as a brand name.. and a lot of photographers don’t have the enough money to us marketing agencies. so there are simple steps that the photographers can do to get some reputation in the media market, at least in a small area.
1- Divide your Gallery into categories to make it easy to access, and you’ll be able to find a lot of categories for your photos, so just make it sample and easy to understand, so as a first step, don’t make subcategories, so don’t put (people > portraits > studio photography) just make it People or Portrait, then when you have stock of pictures and images, you can sub-categorize the photos. I use the following Categories: <Portraits>, <Transportation>, <Skyline and Landscapes>, <Events & Trips>, <Animals, Birds and Fishes>, <Architecture & Urban>, <Commercial>, <Fashion>, and <Flowers & Plants>.
These categories are going to make the filtering of the photos very easy, then you will go to the next step.
2- Create online gallery PLUS a portfolio, and you can do that in a very sample way, the first sample way is to create an online profile on one of the free social network websites, such as DeviantArt / Flicker/ 500px / photoblog …etc there are alot of these websites, and in these websites, as http://deviantart.com, you can upgrade your profile by 10$ yearly , and that will give you more professional organizing for the profile, and then you’ll be able to create a portfolio using it.
if you know lil bit about managing a website, or simple blogging, you can create your own weblog and have more control on your gallery as I did with http://www.sawwarna.com.
WHY SHOULD A PHOTOGRAPHER GO ONLINE ?? because of the next step:
3- Go to the Market by Reaching the potential customers, or your marketers who are free. You can start sending the URL of your gallery, and it doesn’t need to be a paid full domain, as .com or .net or whatever, you can send a simple link as boudi305.deviantart.com, or abelhijazi.wordpress.com. It is cool to send such links, because the content is the important feature not the domain. Maybe when you get more visitors, you’ll have to buy a domain for your page.
4- Distribute your Business Card to the marketing agencies, studios, cars show rooms, and many many places who need photographers. BUT YOUR Business Card should be innovative, and representative. Also it should have your online Gallery Link, because people who have a need for a photographer, will check your photos online and then the WANT will be generated.
5- Be Straight and Clear about your Pricing System, then you’ll not be embarrassed, also you can put for yourself a discount percentage, so that will be clear, so 15% discount can be fair for your friends, and the frequent customers. PUT your prices online, and define a very clear system, as (Indoor in the same city: 20$ per Hour) (Outdoor in the same city: 30$ per Hour) (Trips: 35$ Per Hour or 200$ for the Whole Trip) …. ETC
6-Organize your Schedule, and always be ready for delaying any appointment from 30 minutes to one hour, so create a flexible schedule, and you can POST IT ONLINE, so people will be able to know your activity, and your location all the time to make the booking system more easier and efficient.
7- Let Your Fans Follow You, and be able to know the capacity of your followers, so create an online profile like facebook or twitter, and then you can broadcast any feed you want that you want people to know, comment and interact with you.
by following these simple steps, you’ll be able to create a buzz in the market, and be able to collect a very big base of fans, followers and customers. It will take a lot of time to do all these steps, but there is no single time frame, there is always variables according to the season, city and type of photography you do.