How Photography Events Can Lead You to Clients?


Why attending photography events is a good idea?
How meeting peers from your industry helps you find new clients?
Why it’s important to try new gear instead of relying only on Internet reviews?

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George Turner
Iulia David
Helen Sloan

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Some of you probably know
from my personal Instagram account, and also from the account of the podcast that George – the producer of this podcast – we I went to the photography show this year.
It’s our second time actually, our first visit was in 2017. We enjoyed it a lot back then. But the following year, I was booked the same dates as the show, and we didn’t have the chance to attend.
But this year, we planned in advance.
Right after The Photography Show was over, I made a poll in my personal IG profile.

And I asked you there – How often do you usually go to industry shows?

We got the chance to meet many of you in person during the show. I was really amazed to see how many of you said they’ve never been to an event like that.
That’s the reason why we chose the topic today.

And you’re probably wondering right now, how do you get clients from trade shows?

Okay, let me tell you – photography is a complicated science, and you need a lot of knowledge and sources in order to reach your clients.

Let’s make together a list of the things that you need in order to be a successful photographer:

  • First off, you need to know well your subject, aka your photography
  • You also need the right equipment, because you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the client, right?
  • You need to know about social media and how to market yourself.  Because especially today, this is so important.
  • You need to know also the right people, maybe someone working in an agency, may be a fellow photographer who might read direct some work towards you.
  • And of course, you need to know your rights, so that you can make sure to protect yourself and your work.
  • And of course, you need many, many small things in between.

Well now imagine you can get all of the above all together all at one place. At one time.

This was the photography show this year, the gigantic mall you can go to in supply, you’re a business with everything you need.

Let me give you some specific examples…

  • If you follow point number one – you need to know well your photography.
    During the whole four days, there was a schedule with different lectures happening all the time on different stages.
    You can go to most of them with just regular ticket, you can listen to all sorts of topics and you can get to know new creators who you probably haven’t been aware of.
    Sometimes topics are technical, sometimes they’re all about business. Because let’s be honest, where else do you think he can meet Helen Sloane the photographer, Game of Thrones in person?
    Or find out about her story and how she got into this epic series team? And most importantly, you can ask her questions and you can interact, because that’s the whole point of an event like this.
    The truth is you can get tremendous amount of knowledge. You can follow other people steps or find out what’s your path. But making a decision is far better when you have all the options laid out in front of you.

  • We listed above the fact that you needs to know really well your equipment.
    But before that he needs to choose the right one for you. The best thing about the show, as you can imagine, is the fact that you can put your hands on really the latest cameras out there.
    Pro tip here by the way, most of the cameras are not loaded with memory card so you can bring your own memory card and compare the files later home or in your hotel.
    Because even if you’re not an equipment geek, you must admit that this is an amazing opportunity.
    I for example really wants to switch to a mirror-less camera. Before the show, I had lots of doubts if I should stay with my current brand, or I go to someone else.
    However, during the event I managed to hold in my hands and Nikon, a Canon  and also a Sony. But the most amazing part for me was the fact that in front of me, I had photographers, not just sales people, they were already in my shoes. So you can imagine how amazed I was when on one of the stent, another photographer who truly believed in the brand he was representing said to me:

“Hey, now that the camera is in your hands, how does it feel?”

and answered,

“To be honest, not very comfortable.”

And he simply said to me, “Maybe you should think of another brand”- and actually this was exactly the answer that I would give to a fellow photographer.
I smiled and we started a conversation then included another colleague of his, so they showed me some additional features.
And I must say this turned into more than a half an hour conversation about my needs and their capabilities.
The most weird thing is that right now, I’m even considering buying a Sony camera, which I wasn’t really sure about before.

But I really doubt that in a regular shop, someone would have the time and also the willingness to sit with me and talk about my needs.

  • Another thing that you can also do is to try and see what flashes will work the best for you and how exactly they work. And another example here, we usually spend most of our time at the Profoto stand, because everyone there is ready for a small talk. They have workshops and talks all the time. And their stand is just so bright and inviting. You can touch the equipment and get all the answers you need, again, from fellow photographers, plus, I must admit that we’re big fans. So anyways, as I mentioned workshops and and big pluses that you can actually see some really big names. And also they’re working process, you can steal some great little tricks and get answers to all of the questions like How did he or she managed to do that, because you’re able to see for yourself for example, how on the Manfrotto stand, a location shoot is turned into a studio shoot, you can use all these little tricks and create your own scenarios.
    Later on you can work on ideas you’ve already seen, like the amazing sets of Fujifilm with all the characters from Alice in Wonderland.
    And you know that I’m a big fan of this fairy tale. So I cannot just miss that.

  • But that’s not all, you can also see for yourself what your client will receive if they print your images, where you can even make some print materials for your marketing.
    If you’ve completed all of the steps above you’ll be prepared for your clients.

  • But before starting to work with them, you first need to reach out to them.
    To prepare yourself you can go and visit the social stage, which this year was simply amazing. There was an amazing talk with Iulia David, on how to market yourself in portrait and beauty photography. And she shared so amazing insights about her social media and how she’s managing her accounts, and also how you can reach out to your clients and not get lost in the billions of images out there.
    How precious is that?
    Maybe some of you would say  “but it’s not just about fashion. So what am I going to do there?”

And I always say that, for example, this podcast is called the fashion photography podcast, but there are little bits in it for simply everyone.

So during the photography show, we went to listen, George Turner who is a stunning wildlife photographer, and he actually managed to shift my understanding of social media and how to use it. So there are interesting people and talks all over the place, even if they’re not creating in the same fields as you are. But that’s not important. The important part is that you can get to learn from all of them.

  • But we were talking about reaching clients and one of the most proven ways to reach clients is word the mouth, be brave and talk to your peers, another photographer can easily direct work towards you, if they know that you’re a decent person, and that they can trust you. So make connections, collect some business cards and follow up after the show.

As I’m always saying, meet people and be open, you don’t know what will happen.
Maybe there you are going to find the next person you’re going to open your first or maybe even your next studio with, so you have to give it a try.

  • Now, if you’ve completed the steps above, you have to protect yourself and you work with a contract.
    Another opportunity an event like The Photography Show bring your way is the chance to meet low firms that are ready to help you out with your legal issues.

What I’m trying to say here is that in just four days, you can learn so many things in order to jump-start your career today and reach out the clients that you’re aiming at.

  • As I said, there are small things in between that are very specific for each and every one of us but we’ll make sure to figure them out here together in The Fashion Photography Podcast,
    where every Wednesday you can find an episode with another fellow creative from the industry and every other Friday I am giving you some tips and tricks on how to become better photographer.

If you love our show and you feel like you’ve learned something from it, please consider hitting the donate button here on the website, because even with just a $1 per month you can really help us. 

It was so nice to be with you today guys and I cannot wait to see you again next Wednesday with the second part of our interview with Justin!

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