How to create desire for your photos

Sitting in the chair, staring at the computer screen.

I think, “I’ll publish new photos,” and press the “Click on my gallery” button.

And there it is. The most beautiful photo in the world. The most perfect one in the gallery.

No one cared. It got half a dozen likes, including your mom’s.

I feel sad and think, “I’m screwed.”

But then, after a whole day, you see what people wanted:

A photo with a dog.

Everyone loves dogs.

Alright, here we go! Nothing.

There are many photographers in town. You need to reinvent yourself. But how?

Create ads. Nothing.

Partnerships. Nothing.

When the effort is not rewarded, creativity goes down the drain as quickly as your money.

The reason I didn’t give up in the beginning was my passion for photography. I felt like a little kid arriving at Disney.

The rare sales served as fuel for me to keep trying.

If you’re thinking about giving up, know that you haven’t tried everything (neither have I), but you’ve certainly wondered why some make it and you don’t.

Luck? Destiny? Do you have to go shoot in Russia?

Focus on generating desire.

We’re not in an easy market, and your clients don’t need your service.

But they need to want it.

There is a big difference between needing and wanting.

Most photographers try to sell necessity.

Necessity is the enemy of photography.

You know when you see a movie trailer that makes you want to watch the entire movie?

That’s desire.

Desire is the photographer’s best friend.

When your service generates feelings in your audience, they start to imagine themselves with the beautiful things you will create and what they will do with them.

A gift for grandma?

A picture on the living room wall?

A calendar?

1. Desire can come from relatability.

I prefer to combine stories with beautiful images.

Generating identification draws attention. Something specific to a group that will make them pay attention to what they are seeing: your ad or post.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.

There is a mother somewhere in your area who always dreamed of having a daughter. The girl, now 5 years old, is treated like a doll. The room is all pink, she has numerous dolls and clothes made by her grandmother.

One fine day, she sees a post or ad from someone who photographed a child in a park eating ice cream.

At another moment, she comes across your post, showing a girl playing with dolls.

Assuming she liked both works, which one will catch her attention more?

When you generate identification, you gain attention and create desire, after all, it could be her daughter.

2. Generate desire by telling stories.

The message has to be clear. The photo of the child wearing the dress that the grandmother sewed will catch the attention of that mother who has a seamstress in the family.

The photo of the great-grandmother and great-granddaughter will catch the attention of that mother who is very close to her family and doesn’t want to miss the opportunity, depending on how you convey the message.

You can create stories to illustrate an image or tell true ones. The important thing is to touch the people who will see what you posted.

3. Diversify within your niche.

Attract different audiences but not too broad ones; for example, you may want to photograph children. So try to think of different stories that might attract mothers who go through the things you will depict.

At the moment, I’m working on an ad featuring a mother and a 3-month-old baby. The idea is to catch the attention of those who didn’t do a newborn shoot or photographed in the hospital all disheveled and hated the result.

This doesn’t prevent those who did newborn shoots and loved the photos from getting in touch and doing something different. I’m presenting a new opportunity to these people: photographing mother and baby in nature during the first 6 months of the child’s life.

“There’s still time!” will probably be the phrase I’ll use in the ad after explaining the context.

In parallel, I have an ad of a boy playing with his dog and describing the things they like to do together.

This ad moved the boy’s father greatly and made me sell my most expensive package in Europe for the first time (until then, I had only sold the most expensive package after clients saw the finished photos).

Remember

  • Focusing on a specific desire draws more attention, even if from a small group, than communicating in a generic way.
  • Talking to a small audience doesn’t prevent other people from getting in touch asking if you also photograph pregnant women, female portraits, couples, etc. (but you will attract fewer of these other audiences).

The time I had the most engagement was when I was telling stories. People are curious about other people’s lives.

That time was possibly the one I sold the least. Does it mean it hurt?

No, the problem was focusing only on that. People thought I photographed children for free for a project I had at the time. Feeling excluded from this group, they didn’t even ask for a quote.

My constant changes of city and country also complicated things.

Although I had clients in various places, it’s exhausting to have to start from scratch each time.

When my name starts circulating among my target audience, I’m no longer there.

Occasionally someone from Sweden, the Netherlands, England, or another country where I’ve photographed asks for a quote.

The nomadic life hinders me in generating desire because the decision to do a shoot doesn’t always happen when they see my ad.

This decision can happen months or even years later.

The conclusion I can pass on to you is: generating desire is not easy, but it is essential. Being specific, in my opinion, will help you generate more desire and attract more attention than being a generic photographer.

This applies to how you promote yourself.

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