Sometimes you just have those days. You know the kind, you spend hours sitting at your computer, editing images, writing blog posts, surfing the web, re-checking your Twitter page, reading comments on your Facbeook page, all the while, waiting for the phone to ring or someone to email. Only it doesn’t.
Unfortunately,there are some days when you’re just not on anyone’s radar. It happens to everyone. Even the most accomplished photographers have slow days. In fact, visitors to my own blog will recall that I recently referred to a quote on Nevada Wier’s site where she says, “No matter how recognized I would become in photography, the phone would never ring on its own.” That’s almost depressing, because she’s one of the best.
I also spoke with another photographer who recently decided to get out of the business. For years, he was on the top of the game, shooting for all kinds of big outdoor, editorial and corporate clients. I asked him if people still call or contact him for work. His answer: “No.”
Anyway, that’s the way it goes. The phone only rings if YOU make it ring. Sometimes that takes a little bit of creativity and an effort to do something proactive every single day. Here are five things you can do right now.
1. Make a Phone Call: No one’s calling today? Pick up the phone and call them. Touch base with a client or a handful of new or longtime clients. Find out if they received your latest card or ask them if there are any current or upcoming image needs that you can help fill. You don’t have to force a long conversation, a quick call to remind them who you are might be all you need to shake things up and make something happen.
2. Mail a Promo Card: If you’ve done regular mailings over the years you’ve probably got at least a few cards lying around that never got mailed. Put a few on your desk, google some names of photo buyers who are not on your mailing list, hand write their addresses on the cards and pop them in the mail. Then follow up with a phone call. Sure, photo buyers get lots of cards in the mail and it’s easy for yours to get lost in the shuffle, but you never know. I got a great assignment and a feature article about me from a magazine one time because just as the editors were sitting around the office pitching ideas for the article, my promo card arrived in the mail that day and crossed the right person’s desk at the right time.
3. Make a Face to Face Visit With a Client: Pay a visit to one of your local clients. Face to face visits are the best kind of networking, because when you engage in a conversation with a potential client, you end up bouncing ideas off of each other and discussing jobs that you might never have heard about if you didn’t talk to them in person. Plus you build up a valuable rapport with that person, which makes them much more likely to remember you the next time they need a job shot.
4. Shoot Some New Photographs: Nothing is more proactive for your business than creating new work. Each new image you shoot has the potential to earn income through stock, or else it’s one more image that you can include in your next marketing piece. Sure, it may take awhile for that shot to turn around, but then again, with Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, you can put it in front of your audience today. And you never know who might retweet or share it, which only increases the chance that a potential new client will see it, like your work and initiate a contact.
5. Get out of the House: This one is an extension to #3 and #4. I don’t care what you do, just get up out of your chair and put yourself out into the world. Take your laptop to the coffee shop. Take your camera to the park. Take a hike. Go ride your mountain bike. Go kayaking or horseback riding. You never know who you might meet or what might happen when you step out your front door. Valuable personal connections are out there for the making, but not as long as you’re sitting in your office.
Ok, I’m done writing this post. Now I can get on my bike, race downtown and hand deliver that CD of images to one of my local clients. Maybe I’ll see you out there in the world somewhere. I’m the guy with the yellow bike helmet and the maroon and black courrier bag.
Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Follow his own blog at danbaileyphoto.com/blog and see his daily updates at facebook.com/danbaileyphoto.