The most successful studios are the ones that go beyond traditional marketing. They get involved in their community. They volunteer, they donate their time for causes and they do good things for other people . . . consistently.

But what if you’re not typically one of those people? What if it takes all you can to introduce yourself and say – Hi, I own a photography studio. I’d love to be your family photographer. For some people, it’s like robbing a bank. 

Sometimes it’s just a confidence thing. Here are some things I’ve heard people confess –

  1. Why would anyone want to hear a sales pitch from me?
  2. I feel like a used car salesman when I introduce myself.
  3. I don’t want to make anyone feel pressured.
  4. I don’t know what to say or how to say it.
  5. I don’t have a lot of friends. I tend to be pretty shy.

Being a business owner sometimes means stretching your personal comfort zone a bit in reaching out or making yourself known. Timing can be everything. 

Look for transitional opportunities. Past PPA President Carol Andrews used to wear camera earrings when she’d go garage sale shopping. Mind you, she was garage sale shopping where her qualified clients hung out!

Carol’s earrings were conversation starters. People would always ask about them. It would enable her to into introducing herself as a professional photographer. She always happened to “have something in the car” to give them like a brochure and other samples if they showed serious interest. 

Besides having something you’re wearing that starts a conversation, here are some additional tips to help you ease into a conversation:

  1. Be prepared. Have something to give people when you meet them. It’s an easy icebreaker.
  2. Know a few things to say when you meet someone you’d like to photograph. Be prepared with a 30-second “Who I am and what I do”. End with something like – “My passion is photographing people and I’d love to be your family photographer”. 
  3. Have something to give them. A small brochure or mini brochure is a conversation starter! Give them a business card with an invitational session on it. You’re seeking some help with getting new models. People like helping other people.
  4. The easiest way to get a conversation started is to ask someone a question. Here are some examples from Indeed –
  5. Join an organization in your committee that interests you. Is there a cause you’ve always believed in? Or do your homework on something you feel passionate about in your community.  

So you see, the art of conversation is just being yourself. Be prepared to say something more than hello when the time is right. Maximize your opportunity by joining a local organization and/or the chamber of commerce. Consider cause marketing sessions to raise money for a local organization. All these things “get the conversation started”.