The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute


I just got back from spring break, and jumped right back into brainstorming with my studio manager Andria, who just got back from maternity leave. We came up with a GREAT idea that I HAVE to share with you on how to get photography referrals from previous clients. It’s so easy, and took me just a few minutes!

How did I do it?

Let me show you!

How I Used Last Year’s Bookings to Get Photography Referrals

The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals

A 15-second Animoto video can generate nealy passive photography referrals.

This time of year, I am looking for seniors. I really wanted to find that one idea that would make the phone ring and get seniors to call me for their portrait sessions, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money to get new sessions booked. What I really wanted was for them to come to me!

In our brainstorming session, Andria and I came up with an exciting, fast, and what I think is brilliant, marketing method for getting those seniors to swarm into your door! I know you are going to love this idea as much as we did. The secret is to use clients you already have to get those new clients to come to you.

Use Existing Portrait Sessions to Generate Referrals

The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals

Share Animoto videos with graduating seniors and see big payoff for next year’s graduating class.

My strategy for portrait referrals is to play on the nostalgia of past clients who had their senior portraits taken with me last year. The goal is to get this year’s graduating seniors to share their Animoto videos for a marketing boost that will get seniors graduating in 2016 interested in my services.

What I love most about this strategy is that graduating seniors will be excited to share the videos of themselves. The students will share the video online- maybe in a Throwback Thursday post- and I can accept the referrals that come in with hardly any effort on my part!

To make this happen, I am creating mini videos of some of the best shots of the class of 2015 seniors using our Animoto account and I’m sharing the videos with each student through Instagram.

My Portrait Referral Campaign:

  • Create short, 15-second video using Animoto to highlight the best photos from each of last year’s seniors.
  • Share the videos with last year’s seniors using Instagram or other social sites.
  • Encourage the seniors to share their photo videos with younger students (not only seniors, but students in other grades, too!)
  • Include a call-to-action clip at the end of the video.

What I love most about this portrait referral strategy is that it can work for any industry.

The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals

Seniors love showing off their photographs! Use this to your advantage to generate referrals.

If you are a wedding photographer, you can use Animoto to send a video to previous wedding clients. Family photographers, event photographers, and boudoir photographers can also use Animoto to generate and get photography referrals.

Just by creating and sharing these videos, you will be on the top of your previous clients’ minds for future projects and they will WANT to share your content with their friends.

I always talk about how important it is to get clients who gush on you. This strategy will give them a reason to gush on you.

How to Get Photography Referrals with a 15-Second Animoto Video

Wondering how you can use this portrait referral strategy to get photography referrals? Great! Let’s get started!

It all starts with Animoto…

Step 1: Make Your 15-Second Animoto Video

Animoto is a cool web-based video program that allows you to create promotional videos.  Choose between 5 and 10 shots from each of your past sessions from the last few years. Pick the best shots that the subject would be proud of! Animoto allows you to create videos of any length–I make my videos 15 seconds long because that’s the maximum Instagram allows.

Step 2: Include a Call-to-Action

The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals

Use your own catchy call-to-action at the end of the video so viewers know who to call for their portrait sessions.

At the end of each video, include a call-to-action slide stating that you are accepting new clients for 2016 if you have the space.  I used the phrase, “Now accepting models for 2016″ along with my contact info in my video.

Step 3: Send the Animoto Video to Past Clients

Send the Animoto video to previous clients. I used Instagram to send mine, but you can use the platform that appeals best to your audience. Encourage the clients to share the video with friends, family, and anyone who might be interested in doing a photography session with you.

So what are you waiting for? Create a 15-second Animoto video, shoot it out, let your clients gush on YOU, and get GOING!

I know many of you already use Animoto, but if you don’t, today is your lucky day!

Start your free trial right now, and if you make a purchase today, you will get 20% off your first year with Animoto!

Why Networking with Other Businesses is a Must for Photographers

The business world loves the term networking. While it can be thrown around as a buzzword, when you break it down, it simply means making connections and building relationships. While networking is a part of many jobs, it is essential for professional photographers...

The Portrait Photographer’s Guide to Keeping Up With Trends

Who remembers the boom of selective coloring in the early 2000s? Everywhere you looked, you'd see black and white images but for a pop of red in the subject's shoes or a vivid, bright bouquet colored by hand with colored pencils. Trends come and go in all creative...