How to Find Photography Clients, Part III – Finding Display Opportunities

PIN - getting-your-work-displayed

*Fun fact – the pup in the photo is my daughter Meg’s dog, Pluto!*

A Public Display of Attention

First, please excuse the bad pun! 🙂 But one of the best ways to bring attention to your photography business is to find public places where you can get your portraits featured.

Public portrait displays are not as powerful as actually partnering with local businesses, as we talked about in our previous blog. (If you missed that please check it out here: Part II – Creating Partnerships). However, public displays can be very helpful when it comes to getting your name into the community…

…The more places potential clients can spot your work and recognize your name, the better!

The biggest difference between a partnership and a display opportunity is that a proper business partnership will get your work seen by your ideal client, where a public display will more likely be seen by the general public.

Sure – some people walking by your display will have absolutely no interest in getting portraits created, but it is very possible that you catch the eye of someone that may be thinking about hiring a photographer.

Many times, a public display opportunity will be a temporary display that is up for a few weeks or up to a month. Remember, public displays are simply about getting your work out in the community, so any amount of time you can get is great.

So, let’s jump in and take a look at opportunities where you can get your work seen for free (other than the cost of your samples of course).

My First Display

I can still remember how excited I was to bag my first big “gallery show.” It wasn’t in a swanky art gallery or prestigious museum, though- it was at our local library! Each month they would feature a local artist’s work, and one month, my work got chosen.

Most of the months, the library featured local painters or landscape photographers. To stay inline with the themes they featured, I named my show something along the lines of the “The Wonder of Childhood.” I hung framed portraits in different sizes of my more artistic work.

For example, one portrait was a little brother and sister standing on the shore of the pond feeding ducks. I chose portraits with more scenery around the kids, most with the kids looking away from the camera.

The main catch with this type of show is it cannot be a blatant advertising attempt. So, I just left a few cards and a notebook by the display for comments. The book also mentioned that viewers could sign up with their address to be on my mailing list. (Always try to build that client list!) Of course, these days you could simply ask for their email address as well.

Why not check with your local library to see if they run similar art displays? All you had to do was check with the reference desk, find out the first available month and let them know what your “theme” is, if they have one.

Even if they don’t currently run a monthly feature like this, perhaps they would be happy to bring in some new artwork for their walls.

A venue you might not expect…

One of my other displays when I first started brought me one family that became one of my best lifetime clients. I have photographed this family from when the kids were just in kindergarten straight through to their high school senior portraits.

Just think – this family has invested a great deal of money in portraits from me over the years, and they came to me all from just one display that I had in our hometown!

Where was this display?

It was a framed 16×20 portrait on an easel – in the lobby of my local bank!

How Can You Get a Display at Your Local Bank?

I admit a bank seems like a strange place for a display. But while I was there opening my new business account, I simply asked if I could put a framed portrait on an easel to help brighten up the lobby, along with a few business cards. To my surprise, they said YES!

You might feel nervous or silly asking (I know I did), but you have to break through the fear if you really want your business to succeed.

Don’t let the only thing standing between you and your success be your fear of rejection. If they say no, so what… at least you tried, and you’re one “no” closer to someone saying “yes!”

Get creative in your own hometown!

My challenge to you is to brainstorm places in your town where perhaps you have seen different artists’ work displayed.

Perhaps, that funky little coffee shop. Or maybe that new bistro could use some artwork. How about the walls of your local pediatricians office, or your local dog groomer? I’ve even seen artists displayed in the town hall.

Keep your eyes open as you go about your day in your town. You may just walk into your next opportunity to display your work at any moment!

Your Challenge

Try to secure one of the free display opportunities that we talked about. The library and bank are two options that would be the simplest and most painless to try.

Who knows – maybe you’ll have your work up in the community this week. You won’t know unless you ask!

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