How to find clients in the new real­i­ties, when Meta, which owns Insta­gram and Face­book, has been rec­og­nized as an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion, and Tik-Tok has restrict­ed work in Rus­sia? We have col­lect­ed plat­forms and meth­ods that are worth pay­ing atten­tion to in 2022.

What­ev­er social net­work you use, the main thing for pro­mo­tion in it is a decent port­fo­lio that will make you stand out from your com­peti­tors / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Where to find clients for a novice photographer — which social networks to go to

Small busi­ness­es with­out huge adver­tis­ing bud­gets find it eas­i­est to pro­mote on social media. Pho­tog­ra­phy is no excep­tion. Pro­mo­tion on pop­u­lar sites helps the pho­tog­ra­ph­er to find clients online, with a min­i­mum of finan­cial invest­ment. The main prin­ci­ple here is to become famil­iar, to be every­where so that as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble learn about you. Don’t skimp on any plat­form.

We fig­ure out which social net­works a begin­ner should pay atten­tion to in order to show their work.

The audi­ence of VKon­tak­te is 50 mil­lion peo­ple, which is more than a third of the pop­u­la­tion of Rus­sia. This social net­work has many the­mat­ic com­mu­ni­ties where a pho­tog­ra­ph­er can send his work with a link to him­self. At a min­i­mum, this will bring likes and a sense of sat­is­fac­tion, and, at a max­i­mum, you will be remem­bered and signed up for the shoot.

  • Class­mates

This social net­work is con­sid­ered out­dat­ed, but accord­ing to sta­tis­tics for Novem­ber 2021, it was used by 46.5 mil­lion users, and accord­ing to infor­ma­tion for Feb­ru­ary 2022, Odnok­lass­ni­ki is in 6th place in pop­u­lar­i­ty among social net­works in Rus­sia. Per­haps those who shoot fash­ion will not find clients there, but fam­i­ly and chil­dren’s pho­tog­ra­phers will def­i­nite­ly fall into the tar­get audi­ence.

Not yet blocked social net­work, where edu­ca­tion­al con­tent will go per­fect­ly. Now mon­e­ti­za­tion on YouTube is dis­abled for Russ­ian users, but this plat­form will help you cre­ate a per­son­al brand, increase your exper­tise in the eyes of poten­tial cus­tomers.

The Russ­ian repli­ca of YouTube, into which the audi­ence will flow if YouTube is blocked. Per­haps you should take care of cre­at­ing a chan­nel now, while there is low com­pe­ti­tion.

On March 28, 2022, they announced the open­ing of a new social net­work — Ros­gram. This is an ana­logue of blocked and rec­og­nized as extrem­ist Insta­gram / / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Social net­work and at the same time pho­to host­ing, 10th most pop­u­lar in Rus­sia as of Feb­ru­ary 2022. It allows you to add themed boards with images to your page, share them with oth­er users, or cre­ate pri­vate col­lec­tions for your­self. This ser­vice is often used to find ref­er­ences for pho­to shoots, tat­toos, draw­ings, and even repairs.

This is an inter­na­tion­al social net­work-pho­to host­ing. It can also store videos. Social net­work is con­ve­nient to use as a port­fo­lio. In addi­tion, it allows you to upload full-sized jpeg files, so it can be used as stor­age. Pho­tog­ra­phers also praise Flickr for its lack of cen­sor­ship — just check the box “adult con­tent” so that the image is not banned.

An ana­logue of Tik-Tok, which allows you to record short videos with spe­cial effects. It is believed that they pub­lish main­ly con­tent for chil­dren, but after the block­ing of Tik-Tok, many mil­lion-plus Tik­Tok­ers switched to it. This means that after them their old­er audi­ence will also migrate there.

More recent­ly, Insta­gram (banned in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion; owned by the Meta Cor­po­ra­tion, an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion banned in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion) was con­sid­ered the best plat­form for pro­mo­tion. For pho­tog­ra­phers, this is espe­cial­ly true, because this social net­work focus­es on visu­al con­tent. After block­ing, the site works inter­mit­tent­ly for users in Rus­sia, you can freely get there only using a VPN (read how to set up a VPN here). This means that the social net­work will con­tin­ue to be used. You can con­tin­ue to pub­lish there, attract­ing cus­tomers and using the net­work as one of the pro­mo­tion chan­nels.

In some cas­es, even a VPN does not help. For sev­er­al years now, some VPN ser­vices have been blocked in Rus­sia. So on Decem­ber 2, 2021, Roskom­nad­zor announced the block­ing of 6 ser­vices at once / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Two “buts” are impor­tant:

  • Do not post the Insta­gram logo (banned in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion; owned by Meta Cor­po­ra­tion, an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion banned in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion) in oth­er social net­works — this may be regard­ed as a pub­lic dis­play of extrem­ist sym­bols. The same applies to qr busi­ness cards.
  • Buy­ing adver­tis­ing can be regard­ed as financ­ing an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion. So now there are only free ways of pro­mo­tion — pub­li­ca­tions in the­mat­ic accounts, hash­tags.

In March 2022, the use of this social net­work in Rus­sia is lim­it­ed. Russ­ian users are not shown for­eign con­tent, and local tik­tok­ers can­not pub­lish videos and broad­cast live. You can bypass the video ban.

As Tik­tok­ers note, pub­lish­ing con­tent after block­ing can give more results than before — Russ­ian-lan­guage con­tent is active­ly pro­mot­ed by algo­rithms for the Russ­ian-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion, which increas­es sub­scrip­tions. For a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who wants to find clients in Rus­sia, in his city, this can only be ben­e­fi­cial.

How to find clients for a beginner photographer without using social networks

  • Friends, TFP and word of mouth

Your first cus­tomers are your imme­di­ate envi­ron­ment. The more friends and loved ones you pho­to­graph, the more peo­ple in their social cir­cles will learn about you. The main thing is to ini­tial­ly shoot what you want — if you are inter­est­ed in love sto­ries, you should not pho­to­graph the hand­made soap that your friend makes, because clients will come to what you have in your port­fo­lio.

Don’t for­get about TFP (time for print) shoot­ing. This is a for­mat of coop­er­a­tion when the mod­el does not pay you for shoot­ing, but you get spec­tac­u­lar shots for the port­fo­lio / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Grad­u­al­ly, word of mouth begins to work — this is when your past clients rec­om­mend you to oth­er peo­ple. To do this, you need to think about the qual­i­ty of the pic­ture, and about good ser­vice, respect­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the client — you will not be rec­om­mend­ed if you work on the prin­ci­ple of “got the mon­ey and that’s it.”

In addi­tion, it has been proven that old cus­tomers are more reli­able than new ones, it is eas­i­er to attract them, to per­suade them to use your ser­vices — try to keep peo­ple.

  • Free­lance sites, job exchanges and job search aggre­ga­tors

There you can find cus­tomers, includ­ing for remote work. On these sites, as a rule, your per­son­al rat­ing and reviews are impor­tant. Be pre­pared that at the begin­ning you will have to make a cer­tain num­ber of orders for the min­i­mum cost, by barter or even for free, in order to get the first rat­ing points. This is suit­able for food pho­tog­ra­phers, sub­jects, those who take off clothes.

A great option for wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phers is to part­ner with wed­ding plan­ning agen­cies. In addi­tion, there are cat­a­log sites where you can upload your port­fo­lio and leave con­tacts.

It is impor­tant to use all avail­able plat­forms for pro­mo­tion. Espe­cial­ly if they are free / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Lentchevich / vk.com/lizma

A per­son­al web­site is a great way to present your­self and store your port­fo­lio. It can also be used to cre­ate edu­ca­tion­al con­tent there that can be clicked through search engines. The eas­i­est way is to use free web­site builders. The goal is to cov­er as many venues as pos­si­ble and be present every­where.