Photography Display

How to Use Displays to Market Your Photography

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For small photography businesses on a limited budget, a display is the perfect tool in your marketing arsenal. Displays build credibility for your business, build brand recognition and is almost an endorsement from the business that you are displaying in. There are many aspects of using displays effectively including the design of the display, the marketing materials and the relationships you will be building with business owners. Keep reading to find out more information on how to get the most out of your photography displays.

What exactly do you include in a display?

Most displays consist of one or more larger wall portraits, either gallery wrap canvas or framed print. Many photographers also may choose to actually decorate the area with flowers, fabric, accessories or other items, to give it a more upscale look. Local boutique displays are especially prime for this.

What type of images should be used in a display?

The images themselves should be your absolute finest work. They should also “fit” the scheme of the location you are displaying in. For example, if you are displaying in a children’s clothing boutique, you wouldn’t display a wedding photography. Instead you would display children, dressed in high fashion clothing, maybe laughing, colorful, etc. Fit the theme of the store! Your logo should also be printed on every image you display either directly on the print through digital magic or other means.

What about handouts?

You should have material available to take home for the people who view your display. Some people leave just simple business cards, but I don’t recommend it. Business cards are small and get lost in purses and your display may not show the same type of image that you may have on your business card. Instead, you should leave out what are called “lift cards”. A lift card is a postcard that your clients lift out and take home with them. They are often printed as 4×6 postcards, front and back, and are displayed next to the prints in a brochure holder.

Where should you display your work?

This is a great marketing effort to help anyone get over his or her shyness! To start, make a list of possible locations that you would like to have your work displayed in. This would include such places like:

  • Children’s Clothing Boutiques
  • Dr. Offices and Lobbies
  • Hair Salons
  • Nail Salons
  • Spa’s
  • Restaurants
  • Hospital Maternity Wards
  • Pediatric Units
  • Gift Shops
  • Antique Shops (the nicer ones)
  • Birth Centers
  • Corporate Office Collections
  • Home Builders
  • Bridal Shops
  • Banks
  • Flower Shops

Ask for the display

I recommend having a small portfolio of images with you, bound in a nice album and showing the type of work that you would like to display in their store. Have your offer, written on paper, almost like a sales letter, telling them exactly how this display will benefit them! You may even offer to photograph the owner and their employees for free. Most importantly, DO NOT talk about how this will benefit you. They don’t care about you. Only talk about them. Tell them how the people who appear in these photographs will bring their friends to this store to show it off and that brings more business. You can also mention how their store will now appear more inviting, cheerful and friendly, and that makes people want to spend more money.

Take rejections with class

Don’t let it get you down. So what. You probably will never see them again anyway. Take the no, say thank you so much for meeting with you, leave them a card and be on your way. Don’t get depressed about it. Above all don’t give up!

Make display marketing part of your marketing routine each week. Pick a day to get out in your community and just go shopping. Eat out at restaurants and keep an eye for places with empty wall space that would make for a great location for a display. Get to know the owners by making casual and friendly conversation. Being friendly and memorable is important so that the next time you come in with your portfolio in hand, not only will he remember you but he will be a bit more welcoming now that he has gotten to know you.

Photo Credit: Redroom Studios on Flickr


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9 comments for “How to Use Displays to Market Your Photography

  1. November 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Great information here. One thing to remember is that even if you get rejected, it’s important that you follow up with the person a few days later.

    Even if they didn’t want to work with you regarding a display in their shop, they also know plenty of people who may like to work with you. Keeping the door open (and doing that follow up) could mean the difference between getting a display somewhere else or not getting it.

    Always leave the door on a good note. :) You never know what the future holds!

  2. November 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I loved when you wrote: This is a great marketing effort to help anyone get over his or her shyness. This keeps many of us back from doing things we know we should and want to, but don’t.

    I thought Bonnie Gean’s comment above about being rejected is very wise. It is also important to remember that when you are rejected it really never is about you. Everyone has their own reasons for saying no. Sometimes it is just a matter of not being on the same wave length.

    Good post.

    • November 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      A lot of times when I was out doing this for my studio, I could tell, call it a feeling, that many times I was being rejected for one of two reasons. First, until I got really good at getting displays, I don’t think I was explaining the program well enough to show how it would benefit them. People want to know “what’s in it for me”. Most aren’t going to help out just out of the kindness of their heart. They want to hear benefits.

      The second reason, I always thought was due to competition. Once you say yes to once, you can’t say yes to another. With something, especially baby boutique shops, which where very popular for me, they get hit up by photographers all the time. Photographers also refer clients there for their clothing selections. So if they say yes to one and not the other there is the prospect of losing business.

  3. November 22, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Your point about business cards for a photography budsiness is so on point. Many forget that they are in the business of creating images and memories so their marketing should show that. Promote images that touch souls with happiness – smiles, playtime, weddings, celebrations. I bet it would work like a magnet.

    • November 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Speaking of magnets…one of my favorite things to do is get magnet style business cards. They are great to stick on the fridge and be the first thing people see every morning when they head down to get breakfast! Thank you Marilyn!

  4. November 22, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I like the list and wonder about places that sell eye glasses and frames?
    And, yes, being open and pleasant to deal with in the face of rejection is often what we remember when people come into our shop trying to get something from us. It makes the difference between their info going into the trash or on our wall of “contacts” for later.

    • November 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      Yup, eye glass places, could fall under doctor offices. OB’s are a great place to get displays for maternity and newborn portraits. Dentists, eye glass centers, etc would all be perfect for family displays. Thank you Jenn!

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