The thought of having to search for and land clients on your own can seem super daunting. Honestly, sometimes it is! But that’s okay, because all of us food photographers are in it together. And we can learn from each other’s experiences! So today I’m sharing 6 different ways I’ve found food photography clients.
1. get to instagram stalkin’
This is probably the easiest way to start searching for food photography clients. Almost all food brands have an Instagram account. Start by looking up brands you love, big or small. Once you get to their profile, hit the “+” button (it’s by their “contact” button) and Instagram will show you other similar accounts/brands. This is a great way to discover new to you brands that may need help with their photography!
Follow a few brands who you’d absolutely love to work with and can potentially see it working out! Engage with their content. Let them know you exist and be kind! This is how I landed my very first paid photography shoot. It was so fun forming an organic connection with the brand this way. Not to say it’s always going to work out, but it never hurts to engage.
2. head to your local grocery store(s)
Whenever I feel like I’m in a bit of a funk with pitching myself to clients, I head to the grocery store. I love perusing the aisles and writing down the names of brands that catch my eye. I literally walk down every aisle and whatever seems interesting to me I just write down in my notes app on my phone. Later I go back home and do some research on each brand. I look at their social media accounts and website to see if I can find a gap in their content. From there I do some research and find the correct email to start my pitch!
3. pay attention to who other food photographers are working with
Now I’m not saying look at who other food photographers are working with and try to steal their clients. There’s plennntty of work to go around in this field, trust me. Not that I think it’s a terrible thing to pitch to some of the brands other photographers are working with. Because oftentimes, brands are looking for more than one photographer to create content for them.
I even love finding food photographers and scrolling way back on their posts to see who they were working with a year ago. Searching through Instagram highlights is also a great way to discover brands. A lot of food photographers have a “client love” highlight with all of the work they’ve done.
4. be intentional with your pitches & follow up
A mistake I’ve made in the past is sending out mass pitch emails to a ton of brands all at once. These emails were hardly personalized and didn’t make an impact. Wanna know how I know? Because I hardly ever got a response.
The key to a successful pitch (in my opinion) is to be human! Of course the ultimate goal is to work with the brand you’re pitching to and provide a service, but we all crave a little human connection. Add a bit of your own personality into each email while still remaining professional. For me, this includes an exclamation point, smiley face, or a witty one liner here and there.
Also, focus on the brand. What do you love about them? How do you resonate with their mission statement? What are three specific things that you could provide that would give them major value so they can’t say no? Show them that you did the research and that you care about their brand.
5. respond to all inquiries (almost all of them)
You’ll get a handful of very spammy emails, and that’s just part of the gig. Those ones I don’t even waste my time responding to. However, if a brand emails me and expresses interest, but they are offering product in exchange for content, I do still email them back. I’ll never ever work for free, that includes working for product. So, I’ll email them back kindly letting them know that I don’t work in exchange for product, and I’ll ask if they have a budget for the deliverables they provided. Surprisingly, sometimes they email me back and say yeah actually we do have a budget!
This just happened to me the other week. And guess what? They’re paying me my rate! I never would’ve gotten that deal if I had just accepted that they were offering me product in exchange for work.
It does feel weird and awkward asking for a budget/money in scenarios like this at first. But trust me, it gets soo much easier. It simply becomes part of the job. If you want your business to flourish, you need clients to be paying you your worth!
6. consider taking a pitching course!
Right when I went full time I took a pitching course and it helped me understand the fundamentals of pitching so much. I still refer to it when I need to dust off some of my pitching skills.
I took The Confident Pitch Program by Candice (@eatmorecakebycandice). 10/10 recommend if you have the money to invest in yourself and your business. This course gave me a lot more confidence to pitch. It also gave me a solid game plan so I didn’t feel so in the dark when it came to sending those daunting cold pitch emails.
There you have it! 6 ways to find photography clients. I hope this was helpful! As always, hit me up with any questions either in the comment section below or on Instagram. Thanks for reading! 🙂