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The Single Most Powerful Way to Find New Photography Clients

by Whitney Ricketts
featured, photo & video

Josh Moates via Ryan Muirhead.

Josh Moates via Ryan Muirhead.

Thanks to the internet, there are a million ways to search for new clients and projects, and a million ways to advertise your services. But the best marketing tool isn’t digital; it’s your existing customers. Thanks to CreativeLive Photo Week, we had the opportunity to ask the top photographers working today how they find new work, and, with a few exceptions, their answers all fell along a common theme: word-of-mouth.

“I will often write to those who I want to work for, be it a publisher to create book covers, a band who I admire so I can do their album art, or galleries that I like so that I can show with them.”
— Brooke Shaden

“The word of mouth of that comes from wowing clients.”
— Khara Plicanic

“CreativeLive.”
— John Greengo

“Consistent marketing that I do for every job. I currently have to reach out to new clients by word-of-mouth.”
— Vanessa Joy

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Ben Sasso accompanies a bride and groom in a seaplane.

“I love taking care of the people I work with. Whether it is a couple, a magazine editor, or anyone else, everyone loves to be treated well. Going above and beyond and giving my clients something unexpected has always given me great word of mouth which is what now brings in 90% of the people I work with. It is harder to see the benefit of killer customer service when you are just starting out, but getting started on that foot will set you up for a healthy career down the road.”
— Ben Sasso

“Past customers, and creating my own special projects that get attention from prospective clients!”
— Kevin Kubota

“Referrals from my existing clients are definitely the most useful, since I already have someone vouching for me! I find that these are consistently the best clients and jobs.”
— Mike Kelley

“I have found that word of mouth is the most valuable advertising we do.”
— Josh Moates

“Word of mouth has been by far the best way I’ve been turned onto new gigs. Someone I’ve worked with previously has talked me up or shown off my work to someone else they know.”
— Jonny Davenport

“Currently, Instagram and the networks that have been created because of it.”
— Pei Ketron

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Ryan Muirhead with one of his favorite shots (photo by Chad Keyes Photography).

“Talking to people and talking about the kind of work I want to make.”
— Ryan Muirhead

“My best source has always been word of mouth. From the very beginning, I’ve been amazed at the amount of work that has come purely from doing my best with every client I’ve worked for. That sincerity day in and day out has granted me a lot of business from my clients who refer me to others.”
— Patrik Naik

“Word of mouth, is my best source. People trust their peers opinions. Sure my images are pretty, but am I fun to work with? Indeed.”
— Courtney Daily

“The best source is referrals from clients. After that, it’s people who find me through a Google search.”
— Brian Smith

“My past clients/evangelists. Coming up with new a creative ways to offer sessions that get buzz going.”
— Jen Rozenbaum

“Our personalities. In today’s photography world EVERYONE is a camera and most choose to stay behind their computers and rely on emails to gain them business. I have found what was true before the modern email days is still true today. Personal handshakes and selling your personality. When it is all said and done people want to do business with people they like – if they like you, the odds are you will be getting more business.”
— Mike Fulton


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Whitney Ricketts

Whitney Ricketts is CreativeLive’s Senior Communications Manager. Email her at whitney [dot] ricketts [at] creativelive [dot] com.