sparkle society 10 ways to find local clients blog
Hey there, sweet sparkles! So many of you have realized how to play the wide global market through consistent social media marketing followed by stellar engagement. Howevah, you seem a little perplexed – sifting through the glitter – trying to figure out how to find local clients. No fear, sweet sparkles. I’ve been where you are and want to tell you about my tried and true methods for getting those books filled to capacity. I took my company from side-hustle to a six-fig success story using these very methods. So, straighten your tiaras ladies, you’re about to learn how to find local clients.

Before I start down the list, I want to emphasize how important it is to build the know, like, and trust factor. If you want to find local clients, they need to know you, to like you. And they need to like you, to trust you. All of these components together make you a valuable resource for their photography needs as individuals, or businesses. A lot of what you’re about to read involves grassroots marketing and in-person hustle. I promise, though, these things will help you find local clients! No gimmicks, no games, just straight-up werrrrk that’s worth the effort.

“What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.” — Peter Drucker

10 tried & true ways to find local clients


1.  Photograph events at your children’s school, their classroom, sporting events, your church, neighborhood, etc and give away digital files!

When I was starting my biz, I wanted to be known as the girl with the camera. I wanted errrrrybody to know – I am the photographer to hire. I was in the classroom, the sanctuary, and on the game field doing the hard work to get my name and brand out there! Before long, I had people coming up to me in the supermarket saying, “hey, aren’t you the church photographer?” People were recognizing my logo, my brand, my style. This required me to dig in my heels, but it allowed me to find local clients, and that was worth all the while.

2.  Give the high school sports teams a deep discount on their team photos if they agree to let you photograph {and sell} portraits of each of their team members.

This method turned great profits for me and helped widen my client base {and prospect base} at the same time. I mark one set price for the sports team {includes team pics, group pics and captains pics}. I also spent extra time to take individual photos of each member. Those pics were uploaded in a gallery and sent to parents {there’s your money-maker}. Do I even need to mention that forming a relationship with parents is AMAZING because, hello? They are all going to need senior pics eventually…and they will know just the girl to call when they have a solid know-like-trust relationship with you already.

3.  Host a class and show local boutique owners, MLM consultants, and small business owners how to take better photos with their cell phones.

Real talk. Here’s what you know: most people have their smart phones on-hand at all times; and, that smart phone doubles as their camera every. single. day. What you don’t know: most people have no freaking clue how to take a good pic with their smart phone cam. It’s true. Teaching consultants, entrepreneurs, or a group of moms how to rock what they got with their phone cams, will turn you into a local superstar. Sometimes it’s as easy as teaching a class on turning on {or off} that flash and using natural light to produce awesome pics.

4.  Schedule a headshot event for moms and small business owners.  Each mini-session may include hair, make-up and 2-3 digital images at a fraction of the cost of your normal session.  Pro tip: get more bookings when you raise your price AND making a donation to charity!

I did this my first year of business. It was called “Pretty for a Purpose.” I charged $25 per person {way lower than I should have – but that’s another story} and promoted this as a fun social event. Ladies showed up in droves and some even went for margaritas after. This was an amazing way to get to know local ladies; make them feel like hawt superstars for the day, and engage for future business opps. Half of the proceeds went to a local charity. You get amazing local exposure and get in front of a lot of moms. If I was to do this again, I would raise the price and collab with a local make-up artist and stylist of an added perk.

5.  Join your local chamber of commerce and photograph their board members for free.  Fun fact: you can also propose swapping those photos for free membership in the chamber.

Chamber benefits are incredible, but dues can be a chunk of change {especially if you belong to multiple chambers}. If you offer to take head-shots for the board-members, you’ll not only be on the nice list, but you will gain exposure and a little klout while you’re at it. Website, headshots. Extra glitter for you if you can trade out pics for chamber dues. Hey, it never hurts to barter.

6.  Set-up a booth at a bridal event, senior mom’s group, or chamber of commerce event – raffle off a free mini-session {or other fun prize} in exchange for email addresses!

I’m not saying you get the email list of everyone who attended {because that may be a waste of time for you and others}!  Rather, give people a chance to get to know you and win a raffle, too. Collect emails for a raffle and then engage with those folks after having some preliminary conversation at your booth or station.  This is my least effective form of marking because there are so many variables. Be sure to maximize exposure by making your booth stand out to get the attention and the clients you may land will be worth it!

7.  Intentionally build relationships with other local businesses {who have a similar client base} and swap photos of their shop, products, or the owner herself for the ability to promote in their store, social media or to their email list!

Let’s be honest  – if you walk in to ask to hang up some photos or hand out business cards, you’re probably just another face in the crowd. If you can offer a great benefit in return, now you’re on the map. I’ve done partnerships with a boutique and other vendors – getting me great exposure. Just be sure that your photo placement is relative to your market and will attract your ideal customer. {e.g, don’t be asking to hang up photos in an obstetrics office if you’re only interested in corporate head-shots or sports. Mamas of newborns are your target market with the OB and… maybe boudoir 😉 }.

8.  Find {or create} a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who are in complementary industries!

Know your people. Get a solid group of like-minded business owners who are trying to reach the same type of clients that you are. If you’re a wedding ‘tog, think: DJs, wedding coordinators, videographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, etc. If you’re a family photographer, think pre-school; libraries; park districts; play places, children’s clothing boutiques, etc.

sparkle society find local clients infographic9.  Study the hashtags that other local creatives are using.  Use the same tags or create a custom one for the community to use.

You know I can’t put out a post like this without throwing in social media info. Study, embrace, learn, own the hashtags that other local creatives are using. By using the same tags, you will reach YOUR local market. You can use wider-range hashtags that are popular across the interwebs, but that won’t do you much if any good when you’re trying to find local clients. Use hashtags pertinent to your locale. Also, create custom tags for your posse, your community… #glitterdone

10.  Teach a beginning photography workshop for local moms and small business owners.

This is my fave of faves, but maybe the one you are least enthused about… you would be amazed at what people don’t know about their camera. This is a great way to do an outreach and teach people how to take charge of their image by producing their own ah-mazing photos. Sharing a little knowledge goes a long way. This also helps build the know-like-trust relationship that is oh-so-important in order to do well and find local clients.

What about you?  How do you find local clients?

These are just MY top 10 ways to reach your audience and find local clients. But, there’s strength in numbers!  So let’s work together!

In the comments below, tell us one way you’ve reached people in your local market. Be sure to tell us what kind of photographer you are so we know how each interaction applies.

Please use the hawt-pink button below to Pin this on Pinterest so photographers around the globe can find this information and learn how to find local clients no matter where they are located!

Join our community!  Love tips and tricks like this? Looking for creative like-minded entrepreneurs? Join us over at our free Sparkle Society community!!! As a thank you bonus for joining, I’m going to send you mini workshop of your choosing. If you need help using social media, business or live streaming or live streaming…. girlfriend, I got your back! Pick a workshop and let’s get started!!

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  1. Hi y’all! I am an everything photographer right now (but families & maternity are my fave)!! I partnered with a local bed & breakfast to do lifestyle photos of their top clients enjoying themselves on the property. The B&B got marketing digitals for free, the clients were so happy they were chosen to be models for the B&B (so good for their business), the clients got their photo session free with a complimentary 8×10 print of their choosing. When we set up the ordering sessions I told them they would have the opportunity to purchase digitals of their full gallery & additional prints if they wanted to. Let’s just say, the orders came rolling in! I built great relationships with a local business and local clients I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Win, win! ?

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