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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Hello photography lovers!

Аnd welcome to another episode of the fashion photography podcastЧ
Мy name is Virginia, and I am a fashion advertising photographer, and also the host of this show.

Before the start of today’s episode, I want to clarify that nor I nor this show are currently sponsored by any of the brands that we are about to mention today.

So what you’re going to hear today, it’s purely my opinion

As you can see from the title of the episode, we’re going to talk how photography events can lead you to clients. And as I always say, working with a particular client is always a complex result of decisions and completed steps and most of the time is not something that can happen overnight.

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

Right after the photography show was over I made a poll on my personal IG profile and asked you there how often do you attend industry shows?
And though, we saw in person many of you during the show. I was so 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 are probably wondering right now – How do you get clients from trade shows?
Ok! 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 you need in order to be a successful photographer.

  1. You need to know well your subject a.k.a – your photography.
  2. You also need the right equipment, you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the client, right?
  3. You need to know about social media and how to market yourself. Because especially today this is so important
  4. You need to know the right people – may be someone working in an agency, may be a fellow photographer who might redirect some work your way.
  5. You need to know your rights so that you can make sure you 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!
A like a gigantic mall you can go to and supply your business with everything needed.

Let me give you specific examples why:

If we follow point number one: “You need to know well your photography”
During the whole 4 days there was a schedule with different lectures, happening all the time on different stages.
You can go to most of them just with just a regular ticket.  You can listen all sorts of topics and get to know new creators you haven’t been aware of.
Sometimes topics are all technical and sometimes all about business.

Because, let’s be honest! Where else you think you can meet Helen Sloan the photographer of Game of Thrones in person?
Or find out about her story and how she got into the epic’s series team? – And most importantly – you can ask her questions, you can interact, because – that’s the whole point of the event.
I can tell you where – at the Nikon stand at The Photography Show.

The truth is you can get tremendous amount of knowledge, you can follow other people’s steps of find your own path. But making decisions is far better when you have the options laid in front of you.

We listed above the fact that you need to know really well your equipment. But before that you need 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 – most of the cameras are not loaded with memory cards, so you can bring your own, and compare the files latter at home or hotel.

Even if you are not an equipment geek we must admit this is an amazing opportunity.

I for example really want to switch to a mirror-less camera.
Before the show I had a lot of doubts if I should stay with my current brand or go to someone else.
However during the event I had the chance to hold in my hands a Nikon a Canon and a Sony.
But the most amazing part for me was the fact that in front of me I had other photographers, not just sales people.
They were already in my shoes, so you can imagine how amazed I was when on one of the stands another photographer, who truly believed in the brand he was representing said to me:

– Hey! Now that this camera is in your hands, how does it feel?
I answered “To be honest, not very comfortable”
And he simply said to me “May be you should think of another brand, then.”

This was exactly the answer I’d of given to a fellow photographer!

I smiled and we started a conversation, then included another colleague of his, they showed me some additional features and I must say… This turned into more than half an hour conversation about my needs and their capabilities.

The weirdest thing is that right now I’m even considering buying a Sony camera which I wasn’t really sure before, but I really doubt that in a regular shop someone will have the time and the willingness to sit with me and talk about my needs.

Another thing that you can do is to try and see what flash will work the best for you and how exactly they work?
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 are big fans, so….

Anyways! As I mentioned workshops – another big plus is that you can actually see some really big names during their work process.
You can steal some great little tricks and get answers to all the questions “How did s/he do that” – because you are able to see for yourself, for example – how on the Manfrotto stand a location shoot is turned into a studio for example!
You can use all this 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 fairytale, so I couldn’t just miss that!


You can also see for yourself what your clients will receive if they print your images, or you can even print some marketing materials for yourself!

If you complete all of the steps above – you’ll be prepared for your clients.

Ask for advises some of the exhibitors specializing in printing.

But before starting to work with them you first need to reach them.

So you can visit the Social stage, because this year – it was simply amazing! There was an amazing talk by Iulia David on How to market yourself in portrait and beauty photography. She shared so many insights about social media and how to reach your clients, and not get lost in the billions of images out there.

How precious is that?

May be 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 out 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 to George Turner – who is a stunning wild life 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 are not creating in the same field 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 of mouth.
Be brave and talk to your peers. Another photographer can easily direct work towards you if they know you as 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, may be you can find there the person you’ll open your first or may be 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 your work with a contract.
Another opportunity an event like The photography show will bring your way is the chance to meet law firms that are ready to help you out with your legal issues.

What I’m trying to say here is that… in just 4 days you can learn so many things in order to jump start your career today and reach the clients and you are aiming at.

As I said there are other small steps in between that are very specific for each and every one of us, but we’ll make sure to figure them out together – here in the fashion photography podcast.

Where every Wednesday you can find a new episode with some of the top creatives in the industry and every other Friday I’m giving you some tips and tricks on how to become better photographer!

If you love our show and you feel like you are learning from it, please consider hitting the donation button!
Even for a dollar per month you can really help this show.


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