30 Ways to Get Your Photography Noticed
***This page was last updated on June 17th, 2014***
I am someone who enjoys learning. As part of that learning, I enjoy trolling forums online on topics I’m interested in. I also enjoy helping people on these forums. For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a number of people asking the same question: “How can I get my photography noticed?”. I would put my two cents in here and there and telling people my experiences, but the question kept on popping up. I decided to write a post with ways that I am familiar with to get your photography noticed. This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if you have a way that has worked for you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments, via email (Ldnaturephotos@gmail.com) or by commenting on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (links below).
*Please note* I will be mentioning and promoting certain websites/books/etc. I am NOT getting compensated for mentioning these sites. The list below are simply items I've run across, have heard of, or use myself.
So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are 30 ways to get your photography noticed.
1. Social media
Social media is quickly becoming one of the most common ways a photographer can showcase his/her photos. It’s free, quick to set up, and fun to interact with your followers. It’s also a great way for you as a photographer to learn about new photographers!
There are a number of sites to consider but here are some of the most common ones I have heard of:
-Facebook (personal or business page)
-Flickr - a photo sharing platform. A great place to discover new photographers -Instagram - a photo/film sharing platform
-Pinterest - a collection of visual boards
-Twitter - a social media platform that consists of 140 - character ‘tweets’. Great for finding photos, new blogs and articles
-Instagram - a social media platform based on pictures. Users can follow each other, upload pictures, and 'heart' each other pictures.
2. Contact local coffee shops
Many local coffee shops display artist’s work. I have had my photography displayed at a local Dunn Brother’s. Often times, you can check out the coffee shop’s website and they will have a place you can inquire about having your work displayed. If you can’t find any place on the website, head on down and talk with the manager/owner! It may seem nerve-racking at first, but most of the owners I’ve talked with have been great, and if they can’t display your work right away, give them your information (ideally a business card) and follow up with them.
3. Contact newspapers
Often a local city newspaper will feature a local artist in their variety or art section. Contact your local paper to see if they are looking for artists to do a feature on.
4. Open an online shop
Etsy and Wanelo are two popular online storefronts. There are many others, but these two are the most common ones I see. Opening your own shop is a great way to get your photography out there. It’s free to open a shop, but Etsy does have small fees to list items and for every transaction.
5. Start a photography website
If opening a shop sounds daunting to you right now, perhaps starting a photography website sounds better. Smugmug (what I use), Photo Shelter, and even Flickr are good sites to check out. Even better, all three of these sites have free options!
6. Start a photography blog
Do you like to write? Like talking about photography? A photography blog might be for you! There are many free options such as tumblr and Wordpress to start out with, with options for adding more if you find it is something you love doing!
7 & 8. Guest post/Interview for a photography blog
If starting a photography blog isn’t for you, why not consider doing a guest post or an interview for a photography blog? I often see photographers looking for other photographers to interview for their blog (me included - so if you know of any, send them my way!). You could also contact photography blogs to see if they would be interested in having you as a guest poster. Check out this infographic for more information on being a guest blogger.
9. Enter photography contests
Entering photography contests is a great way to get your photography noticed. It used to be that to enter a photography contest, you would have to mail in your pictures via snail mail. However, with social media and the internet, that is no longer the case. Often a quick Google search for photography contests will bring up an overwhelming number of options for you. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the contest before submitting your photographs. Sometimes you give up exclusive rights to your photo by entering; you want to make sure you are aware of stuff like this before submitting anything.
Viewbug is a fantastic site that is new to me which focuses JUST on photo contests. It is free to sign up, with the option of upgrading your membership. Many photo contests are free, while others do cost money.
10. Enter photos into county/state fairs
County fairs often have an art/craft section where you can enter your photography. I have done this for a couple of years and have had good luck. Best yet, it was free to enter! Check out local county and state fairs in your area to see if they have this option!
11. Art/craft shows
Art and craft shows are GREAT ways to showcase your work and also meet new people! I have done a number of art/craft shows and have enjoy each and every one. A Google search in your area for art/craft shows should bring up different options for you. These typically have a table fee which can range depending on the type and size of show.
12. Farmer’s market
Farmer’s markets are similar to art/craft shows in which you get to showcase your work and meet new people. These are nice because they happen weekly so you have a better chance of getting more exposure. Again, a quick Google search for farmer’s markets in your area should bring up a variety of options for you.
13. Sell your photograph items in stores
If you make different items out of your photography (cards, matted prints, etc), an option is to contact local stores to see if they are looking for items to sell. I sell my photo cards at a couple of different stores, and each one is different. Typically though, you meet with the merchandise purchaser for the store (can be the owner or another employee) and you work out an agreement on price, inventory, reporting, follow-up, etc. It is important to establish these boundaries right away otherwise it can lead to problems down the road. Look for local flower shops, gift shops and co-ops to sell in.
This is something I don’t have experience in, but showcasing your work in galleries is a great way to get exposure. From what I have seen, oftentimes galleries will put out a request for artists to submit their work for consideration, while other times an artist can simply contact the gallery to see if they are accepting submissions. It is beneficial to check out local galleries in your area to see what their process is.
15. Photography forums
Commenting and participating in photography forums is a good way to gain exposure to your photography/site. Plus, it's fun to learn from others and to help fellow photographers out!
16. Comment on other photography blogs
Commenting on other photography blogs can be a good way to gain exposure (if you have a website) but you need to make sure your responses are appropriate and actually contribute to the article/other comments. If you are just commenting to comment, and consistently comment, people will see right through you.
17. Creative common license
Register your photos under a creative commons license which lets people use your photographs legally. For more information, click here.
18. Desktop Wallpaper
Sell or post your photographs to be downloaded for desktop backgrounds or other uses. You can include a watermark with your website and name on the photo so people know where to look for more information.
Or, you can share and allow people to use your watermarked photos as their pictures on social media. Make a stipulation that they must keep the watermark in the picture.
Don't know how to add an watermark to a photo? I posted a tutorial on this topic a while ago. Check it out here.
19. Create an ebook
Are you an expert on a photography subject? Why not consider writing an E-book? A simple Google search on how to write an E-book is a great place to start to find detailed information about the process.
20. Create a coffee table book
Don’t feel like sitting down to write an E-book? A coffee table book might be a better fit for you. You don’t need to go through a publisher to create your own coffee table book. Sites like Shutterfly and other photo sites are great places to create a photo book. Consider giving these away as gifts for friends and family.
21. Business cards
If you are serious about getting your name and work out there, it is really important to create your own business cards. At every possible opportunity, give someone your business card. You never know who may look you up and have an opportunity for you!
22. Get your photographs critiqued
Getting your photographs critiqued by a friend, family member or another photographer is not only a great way to get constructive feedback about your work, but also a way to get your photos out there. The more people you introduce to your photography to be critiqued, the more people to see your work. You never know if you will find a beneficial contact!
23. Photography internships
If photography is a career you want to further explore, consider interning with another photographer. You can get great experience, and also some photographers will give your credit for the photographs you took during your internship. Check local job boards for photographers looking for interns, or you can simply contact local photographers to see if they are looking for an intern.
As with many jobs and hobbies, networking is a great way to get exposure. Consider joining a local photography group, forums or group. You may end up meeting new friends, get ideas on how to expand your work, and also new opportunities. I have found local photography groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It's a great way to meet photographers in your area!
There are many photography magazines out there that often showcase photographers. Check out the magazine’s website to see if they are looking for photographers. If you are a nature photographer, there are many nature/garden magazines that may be looking for photographs to feature in their upcoming issues.
If you have a favorite photography blog, consider donating a print or item to the blogger and also as a giveaway. This can give you great exposure. For example, for my photo cards with flowers on them, I’ve been looking at garden blogs to contact about doing a giveaway with my product.
27. Photographer’s Market
The Photographer’s Market book is a fabulous way to learn about businesses and organizations that are looking for photographic prints. Each year a new book comes out, so you can be sure that you are receiving up to date information. The book lists a variety of organizations including newspapers & newsletters, book publishers, stock photo agencies, advertising, galleries, art fairs, contests and more. For each section, it lists the companies looking for photographs, and instructions on how to submit your work.
28. Email list
If you have a website and are active on social media, it might be beneifical for you to start an email list. By doing this, you can be sure that your readers and followers are getting not only all of your posts, but your most up-to-date information. Chimpmonkey and Constant Contact are good sites to check out if you are looking to create an email list.
Submitting your work to calendars can be a great way to gain exposure and get your photographs noticed. I have done this a number of times; the first time was also a photography contest. The other times the companies were simply looking for submissions. You can do a Google search to see if you can find any companies looking for photography calendar submissions; otherwise check photography contests.
30. National Park Service Artists in Residence program
This is a program that I just recently learned about. A number of national parks have an artist in residence program where you can submit an application to be a artist resident at an national park. The program is for any type of artist, so as a photographer you are welcome to apply. I’ve researched this program pretty extensively, and it sounds amazing. If you can get away for a few weeks, I would definitely recommend checking it out. This is the time of year when a lot of parks are accepting applications, so I would recommend looking into it today!
Bonus! 31. Hang up Your Photographs in Your House!
I know this one seems a bit silly, but just hear me out. I assume you enjoy looking at some of your photos (I know, I know, there are always those ones you don't like), but take a look at the ones you do. Get them enlarged, turned into a canvas, professionally framed, etc. Hang them up around your house. When friends and family come over, they'll notice how awesome they look hanging up and either be able to recommend to someone else or buy one for themselves!
Bonus! 32 & 33. Freelance & Photography Side Jobs
If you're looking for some extra cash or just want to pick up some photography jobs, freelancing might be an option for you. Locally, you can search on job sites such as Monster.com or Indeed.com. I've done simple searches for 'photography jobs' or something similar.
There are also sites such as ELance.com where you can find photography jobs online. I've seen posts where people are looking for photographers for real estate all the way down to photo editing.
Finally, a Google search for 'Photography jobs in (insert your city here)' can be beneficial. OR, you can use your connections in that photography networking group you joined to see if anyone knows of any job opportunities for you!
Bonus! 34. Teach a Class
Teaching a photography class can be a great way to get your photography out there. It would also be a great way to meet new people! Perhaps consider teaching at your local community college, a community ed class, or even just private classes.
The best piece of honest advice I could give you is that it does take a lot of time and work to get your photography noticed. It also will most likely take a number of different ways (including many and all of the above). That being said, when you do finally get that recognition, either by winning a contest or getting accepted into a gallery or something else, that feeling is so great and motivating you just want to keep going!
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