Times have changed and competition may seem to be fiercer than ever. This fact has led photographers to build their brands holistically by including things that not necessarily have anything to do with photography. Some of these actions are web site content management, self-promotion (from social media management to offline public relationships) and even accounting. So photographers (and I'm sure other creatives as well) have to work the business things out in a one-man-army kind a mode.
One of the most important things for any photographer seeking a sustainable career is to gain exposure. This exposure is achieved through constant content refreshment as well as getting meaningful referrals after doing some networking. Si bien es cierto que se puede invertir en servicios profesionales para manejar ciertas situaciones digitales, nunca está de más implementar algunos trucos to raise your leads.
One of the most difficult situations for each photographer is to be able to define themselves in the vast amount of niches that exist within the discipline, and now imagine how vague this insight can be for people who are looking for a photography service that could meet their needs. There are certain niches closer to what we might think of as a business model when it comes to photography; these are without a doubt, Wedding Photography and Advertising Photography. As a social photographer I have had some difficulties with being able to sell my work. The main reason behind this is that my Street Photography answers to what I like and not to a specific commercial or editorial need forma client. This has not stopped me from worrying about being able to sell my images, I do try to sell my services but with a clear documentary approach, and my clients (there aren't so many of course) are aware of this.
I have always considered that getting surrounded by other photographers is fundamental for going through a more enriching experience as one gets to evolve in the discipline. Today this can be achieved in many ways, from traditional social circles away from keyboards, to all the communities that can be found on the internet. Responding a little to this way of growing up with photography, I have found that a good Directory can be a low-cost yet effective marketing action or strategy for showcasing the work. From corporate clients, to a normal family wanting a traditional photo shoot, they will rather look for services in a directory rather than in a portfolio website like Bēhance or 500px, because these platforms are oriented for creatives, not for buyers.
Directories typically work via geographic criteria, and all of them have certain parameters for segmenting their affiliates. I'm part of the writer's staff of the Australian online magazine Light Stalking, therefore I like to keep an eye on Australia even though I live in El Salvador. By doing some benchmark, I stumbled into this directory, which for me is a very good example of how a solid photographer's directory should work like. This site is pretty straight forward and meets with something essential for finding it out through organic search. The typical behavior of a person willing to find a professional in a country is exactly by searching like that, "specialty" + "country". This works for any type of directory, from doctors to photographers, because they respond to the most obvious search input of all.
Photographers.com.au is a user generated Photographers directory where people can search, find and hire the services of a Photographer. Focusing predominantly in Australia, Photographers.com.au allows users to search via several different forms, quick links to categories, free form entry and geographic location. They have more to 3,500 affiliates to this day, and they keep growing, which is fantastic. They have gone the extra mile by also building what I consider to be a pretty decent blog with a very constant content posting dynamic, which is also good for keep on learning.
I am really sure that if this type of initiatives could be taken in territories like the one I live in, it would be much easier not only to generate more leads, but even a community could be generated that would at least have the country of residence in common to aside from the common passion for photography. In my country I have found certain directories, but unfortunately they are directories of larger things (like weddings) that simply include photography as a search parameter.