Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
Explore the podcasts and blogs in the categories listed below.
Worrying about what to do during the winter when your photography business gets slow? Here are some winter marketing strategies to implement right now so you don’t have an empty calendar.
Winter can get a bad rap. It tends to be slower months for photographers. This can be due to weather, being knee deep in a holiday season and trying to recover financially once January hits. But there are ways you can still thrive in your photography business even during the winter months. How do I know this? Because I’ve been doing this for over a decade and there hasn’t been a winter that I’ve gone without a single booking.
Before we dive into winter marketing strategies I really want to point out this quote that will change your business and your life. The first person I heard say this was Emily Hirsh, she has a podcast all about marketing. She said that the actions you take and the committments you make right now, you will start to feel in 90 days. So you’ll see the negative if you don’t follow through with something and you’ll see the benefits 90 days from now if you do.
Here is what I have been telling my students and my coaching clients. You can’t take your foot off the gas right now. Many of you are in a busy season and feel like you’re drowning and you’re just trying to survive. So you might be thinking that you’re good right now and don’t need to market. But if you stop all of that now then you’re going to feel it in January because you chose to stop marketing your business in October and November. You can’t do that.
But that’s not to say that you can’t take a break. Work life balance is so important. I definitely believe that you need rest and you need to take days off. But you can’t take weeks and months off and expect to have the same results you’re having right now in your busy season if you’re not doing anything to support a winter season.
I know you need to hear this today so that’s why you’re getting this no BS hard truth right now and not at the end of this post. Some of you need a little push, a wake up call. If you’re choosing right now to take your foot off the gas here’s your invitation to put your foot back on it. We have to keep going, we can’t just stop when it gets busy.
Consistent action day after day, week after week, month after month, it builds. It’s like rolling a snowball. It starts out small and just gets bigger and bigger and before you know it you have this huge snowball that was built with momentum. That’s what I want for your business but I can’t do it for you, you have to do it. If you’re taking your foot off the gas then here’s your tough love, your coaching moment. Let’s get your foot back on the gas so you don’t have an empty calendar this winter.
First let’s talk about your sessions themselves. If you primarily shoot outdoors then you need to get creative and start thinking how you can move your sessions indoors during the colder winter months. So think about what you offer right now. How can you offer the same thing but do it inside?
Here’s a couple location options to think through. Can you move it from outside someone’s home to inside their home? Can you use a venue? Could you rent a studio or utilize one that you have? Could you check out an AirBNB? So get to thinking on how you can move your outdoor sessions indoors.
The second thing you can do is start thinking about any unique offers you can create during this season. If you normally photograph something that requires you to be outside we’ve already talked about moving indoors. But if that doesn’t work what esle can you offer but for a shorter time period? Even if that means going outside of your niche. You know how firmly I believe in sticking to a niche but I do think there are ways for you to sometimes go outside of that niche or create a unique offer that is in addition to that niche. Especially when you’re brainstorming different winter marketing strategies.
So could you collaborate with a local business? Provide them either product photography or branding photography for a shorter session? That may not be your go to but could it be for a little while? Especially if there’s not a branding photographer in your area.
I’m not asking you all to dive into a new niche. If you’ve never worked with newborns and you’re a family photogrpaher don’t start thinking oh it’s really cold outside so I’ll just photograph newborns. Especially if that’s something you don’t enjoy, you’ve never had any training on, and you don’t have any safety protocols. That’s a really bad idea. What I am saying is can you find something else to do that you typically won’t offer any other time of the year?
Something I used to do is choose one weekend a month in December, January, and February and offer boudoir photos. I was a baby photographer at the time but we didn’t really have any boudoir photographers in the area. It’s not that I was marketing myself as a boudoir photographer. I had educated myself on boudoir and went to a boudoir workshop so I learned enough to be able to do it for a short period of time. But I wasn’t trying to brand myself that way. I want you to hear the difference. I’m inviting you to go outside of your niche if needed and if it’s something you’re truly capable of producing for people for just a little while.
The third thing you can do is offer petite sessions or like a mini marathon. You’re offering smaller packages all in one weekend or all in one day. This is a very unique offer that you don’t do all year. So when I did family photography during these colder months when weather was unpredictable, I would offer indoor boudoir marathons. I would photograph six clients in a day two days in a row in an indoor place like an AirBNB or a hotel suite. And I created this very exclusive offer so people knew this was only happening once or twice a year.
For other people let’s say you’re a newborn photographer. What you could do to supplement that income if winter months are slower for you, you could offer these petite sessions. Do a newborn marathon where they get one hour time slots compared to your regular longer newborn sessions. And you’re just doing 1-2 setups and they’re getitng 10 images. You’ll be able to reach a different clientele or maybe a client that wanted to book you but didn’t want a full package.
So these are just a couple of different ideas for you. You have to get creative. But I do believe that you can actually flourish in the winter as well. It’s in the way that you get creative in your marketing, provide the urgency, and the way you structure the offer.
I’m going to give another shout out to Emily Hirsh again because one converstaion we had was that sometimes our audience wants our offer, it just needs to be repackaged. We just need to present it in different wrapping. So I want you to think about how you can take what you offer throughout the year and repackage it. How can you talk about it differently so it connects with people and it pushes them to have more urgency in the winter compared to the rest of the year? You always want to be thinking about what season you are in. What is the urgency, the perks, the pros of this season compared to others?
For those of you moving from outdoor to indoor, you don’t have to worry about the wind messing up hair or it being so cold that no one wants to smile. Because you’ll be indoors and you’ll be able to have this unique setup or background and see what that does for your business.
There are two things I’d really like to caution you to avoid when you’re trying to fill your calendar for a slower winter season. These are definitely not beneficial winter marketing strategies so please avoid these.
I know this post is loaded. You might have to read it again and take notes. I always want you to not just read this or listen to my podcast and then not take any action. I want you to take something you heard from me and then run with it. Take action with it. You don’t have to do everything that I’m telling you but pick one and go take action.
Start talking about your winter sessions and offers. As soon as you’re hearing this it’s time to run with it and start marketing these things. Because again what you do right now you’re going to feel in 90 days. So start talking about it right now if you want bookings for December through March.
Be sure to keep growing your leads and your followers every week. If you don’t change who you’re talking to then nothing will change. It’s time to grow and get out there and find people. This is what really requires you to take action and be dilligent and do the things nobody wants to do. I promise you, the majoirty of you who are not growing your following on a weekly basis and you’re feeling it, you know who you are.
You also have to stay consistent on your marketing. You don’t have to be on every single platform. I want you to commit to the one place where a majority of your leads are coming from. If you don’t know where that is then check out this post to help you figure that out.
So just because winter is around the corner doesn’t mean that you have to have an empty calendar. It doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from no bookings. So if you want it to look different you have to be willing to take action. What you do right now you’ll feel in 90 days.
Here is what we covered in this post about winter marketing strategies for your photography business.
I know you, you have a passion for photography. You’ve mastered manual mode and you’re fine tuning your editing. You have a few clients under your belt and you’re ready for more. You’re ready to have a profitable and sustainable photography business that contributes to your family and has you waking up with gratitude every day. And that positions you as a highly sought after photographer in your community. Or maybe you’re broke and you’re not hitting your profit goals. You feel underpaid and undervalued and you’re really really doubting yourself. Are you spending all your time marketing and strategy hopping but nothing seems to be working? You want consistent growth. You’ve seen the bookings here and there but you need more.
If any of this resonates with you at all then I want you to hop on a 30 minute call with me. I want to talk about where you’re at, what your goals are for your business, what your next steps should look like. And I really want to get to know you and see how I can help you. Whether that’s through coaching or my coaching program. Whatever that looks like I want to be your resource. And more importantly I just want to speak life over you and your business. So if that resonates with you I want you to go to www.brookejefferson.com/blueprint and click the book a call with me button. Let’s just talk about your business and figure out where the holes are and what’s next for you. And more than anything I just want to encourage you that you can do this.
If you enjoyed this post then you may also enjoy these posts: