In this guide, I show you how to choose who to pitch, how to find the right contact information, and how to craft a winning pitch.
I am a food + product photographer & educator specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable brands. When I am not working with clients, I empower creatives to start their journey by sharing my knowledge on the business of food + product photography.
As a food photographer, it isn’t enough to simply design a professional website with a delicious-looking portfolio. You need to actively get out into the world and search for your perfect clients! Pitching to clients is as much of an art form as working the camera. Let’s talk about pitching so you know exactly what it’s for and why you need to master it in order to expand your business.
Here’s the thing with pitching: the purpose is not to get clients. (At least not at first!)
The purpose of pitching to clients is to create brand awareness. You want people to know who you are and what you do long before they actually need you.
The chances of your target clients needing a photographer and having an immediate photography project in the works are slim. But you can start to build a relationship with potential clients through several emails so that when a project does land on their plate, you’re there to photograph said plate! (See what I did there?)
And you should never feel like you’re being pushy when pitching to clients! They may not even realize that they need a food photographer until you present yourself to them. Demonstrate your value by sharing some images from your portfolio and flash some success stories of businesses you have worked with in the past.
As long as you come from a supportive, relationship-focused place, pitching is totally okay!
If you’re lacking confidence with your photography sales pitch, there are definitely a few things you can do to improve. Check out these seven tips on pitching to clients!
Define your ideal client or target market long before you search for them.
Answering these questions will help you define which clients are the best fit for your niche!
Once you’ve outlined your best-case scenario, you can research and build a list of potential clients. Social media will come in handy during your search. You can use Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to find local clients or new brands you’re not familiar with. And of course, Google is a great way to search for your dream clients.
Make sure your portfolio “speaks” to the clients you are targeting during your sales pitch. You’re more likely to experience success when pitching to clients if you have plenty of relevant work samples to attract them to your services.
If your target audience is mostly food magazines, you want to showcase compositions that work well with a lot of text and print layering. If your target audience is mostly restaurants in need of promotional imagery on their websites or menus, you may want to showcase more vibrant, vivid stand-alone food photographs.
Bonus: it may help your target clients to relate to your images if they feature the same type of food they work with! For example, pitch to an Italian restaurant with Italian food photos.
Engaging is a precursor for pitching to clients. This means that you want to start having conversations with them to bring awareness to your existence on social media. Plus, you can show that you support their brand!
This can be as simple as a quick “like” and follow at first. Then, circle back to leave a friendly comment on one or two of their images.
Instagram is a perfect platform for engaging (not pitching). You can easily interact with their posts to demonstrate interest.
Another great place to start engaging organically is LinkedIn! Make connections, comment, chat, and watch the relationships start to blossom.
You can totally leverage a template or framework while pitching to clients. But be sure to cater your outline to them well before you start your pitch.
Your potential clients should never feel like one of many people you’re pitching (so you really have to spice up your templates with specific details)! Rather, they should feel carefully selected and appreciated for their unique qualities.
In your pitch, explain why you like their brand or business and tie everything back to your photography niche. Be sure to address people at the company by name in your emails and weave in lots of detail to demonstrate how familiar you are with their business.
Remember to keep your pitch short and sweet! After all, you understand how busy the life of an entrepreneur is.
Calls-to-action don’t have to be the cheesy one-liners you think of when you receive random marketing email from a massive clothing store. For example, you don’t need to say, “contact me to take your photos today!” Instead, make your call to action as relaxed and personalized as the rest of your correspondence.
Here are some examples of appropriate calls to action when pitching to clients:
Anything that implies you need an answer works! You want to keep the conversation going in order to form a relationship with your potential client.
It’s entirely possible (even probable) that as your food photography business grows, you might lose track of the companies you’ve pitched! Even if you’re still early in your professional journey, it’s crucial that you take careful notes on the brands you’ve interacted with to keep your correspondence genuine.
Try creating a client outreach spreadsheet. You can include separate columns to indicate when and how you’ve gotten in touch with them. These notes also look super professional if you cite them during future conversations with your clients, like, “I’ve been looking forward to this day since I first reached out in January!”
Follow up. Do it several times! Remember, it’s not a “no” until somebody actually says so!
It may be challenging to have patience at this stage of the game, but remember that your potential clients likely have oodles of emails to get through each week. Your gentle follow-ups will remind them of the awesome opportunity to work with you!
It helps to repeat details in each of your follow-up emails so your client remembers who you are each time they read a message from you. Show that you’re eager to hear from them and they are sure to become curious about you in return!
Pitching to clients might seem like a real hassle, but it’s actually a very interesting and important component to running a successful food photography business. Keep these surefire tips in mind to make your clients excited to work with you!