When it comes to advertising, the amount of options can seem overwhelming, and oftentimes very expensive. If you are just starting to get your photography business up and running, chances are that you will need to advertise in several different areas in order to draw in business. Here are a few ways you can do so, without draining your wallet.

1. Mini-Sessions 

Offering a shorter photo session to your clients at a discounted price can be a great way of getting a few extra shoots under your belt. People may not always have the time or the means to afford a full session, but by offering a photography mini session, you can give them the option to have the photos done in a shorter time, at a smaller price. This will not only help you build a client base, but will also help you develop your style as a photographer, because the more your shoot, the more comfortable you will become in your style.

2. Seasonal Specials 

Capitalizing on holidays and seasonal events, it can be the perfect opportunity to offer specials. For example, if you have a Facebook business page, try advertising a summer special, or maybe a back-to-school special where clients can get a discounted price for their shoot if they book by a certain date. If you are hesitant to offer a discount on the price, think of bonuses that you could add to the special – a matted print or small photo album, for example.

3. Gift Certificates 

There are a lot of people who would like to have photos of themselves or their family, but a photo session may not be a top priority due to time or financial constraints. Offering gift certificates gives friends and family the opportunity to give your clients a gift certificate for a photo shoot that they can schedule for a time that works well for them. Also, boudoir and glamour shoots are very popular, and significant others often purchase gift certificates for their partners to have a photo shoot.

4. Second Shoot a Wedding  

If you are trying to break into wedding photography, finding a wedding photographer who will hire you as a second shooter is a way of both getting your feet wet with wedding photography, but also a way to network. Shooting a wedding by yourself for the first time can be intimidating, but if you have a couple of weddings as a second shooter under your belt, you’ll be much more comfortable when the time comes for you to shoot one on your own. Being a second shooter often involves monetary payment, but if not, the photographer will most likely allow you to use the images in your portfolio. Having a selection of wedding images in your portfolio will definitely draw more wedding clients to your work.

 5. Charity Auctions 

If you take a look at the items and services being offered for auction at a charity event, you will often find photography packages. By participating in a charity auction, you will have the unique feeling of satisfaction that comes with standing up for a cause that is important to you, and when someone purchases your package, you will have a guaranteed shoot. Chances are, the client will come back to you for more shoots in the future at full price, and will most likely refer you to their friends.

6. Referrals

Finally, and possibly the best form of advertising, is the subject of referrals. As a photographer, word-of-mouth is essential to your business. If your clients are happy, they are going to show their photos to everyone they know, and they will also tell their friends and family that they had a great experience with you. Many people have had bad experiences with photographers, so when they find a photographer they trust, they usually remain loyal to that photographer, and send more business their way. Consider offering “refer a friend” specials to your existing clients. Or, if you are attracting new clients, give them a bonus or a special first-time discount if they were referred to you by an existing client. Also, be sure to keep a stack of business cards with you on shoots, and give your client a few of your cards to take with them and give out to their friends and family.