3 Ways to Find Client Leads for Free with Jeff Rojas

3 Ways to Find Client Leads for Free with Jeff Rojas

3 Ways to Find Client Leads for Free with Jeff Rojas

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Generating new leads is the only way to stay in business in any industry. Photography isn’t any different. Think about it this way: What’s the probability a wedding client will hire you again for their next wedding? All jokes aside, the reality is that chances are slim.

Let’s up the ante. Say that you don’t have any current clients. How do you find your first client? Second? Third? They don’t just magically appear and start emailing you. They need to know that you exist. Let’s add even more fuel to the fire: How do you find these people without a budget? You have to spend money to make money, right? Not necessarily. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, you can find clients without spending a dime. Here are three ways I find client leads for free.

Guest Blog Posts and Articles

Writing articles and guest blog posts has brought one of the best returns on my time. It has allowed me to use different platforms to grow my brand. Depending on the publication or platform, you’ll even find that some outlets pay you for content if it benefits them.

Last December I had two hours to kill before a meeting, and I decided to write an article entitled “Hiring a Professional Photographer? Consider These 3 Things First.” The article included information on how photography organizations can help, who owns the copyrights to the images and unexpected costs when hiring a photographer—prints, digital rights, retouching fees, makeup artists, etc.

I submitted the article to the magazines Inc. and Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur picked up the article and posted it on their site. Since then, it’s been shared 1,100 times. The article listed my portfolio and contact information, and it’s been a great way for me to reach out to a broad audience of business professionals. My favorite part? They’re all educated consumers. They read the article, and there are no surprises when I send them my rates.

So how can you replicate that? Easily. Find an outlet that would benefit from your expertise, and send them content. People are constantly yearning for new information. To be clear, not every outlet will respond. You have to be extremely tactful with your time. For instance, a publication that reaches 100,000 photographers isn’t going to benefit your new portrait business unless you’re trying to teach photography. If you’re a wedding photographer, consider writing a guide on “3 Picture-Perfect Tips for Your Wedding Day” for new brides, and send it to a local bridal publication. You’ll reach the specific demographic you’re trying to market to without spending a single dollar.

Get Social

You need to be social, and I’m not just talking about social media. What ever happened to the art of meeting new people, networking and actually socializing? New contacts open new doors. To be clear, you don’t just meet people at networking events, you meet people everywhere.

I know that for many creatives, the very thought of socializing is nerve-wracking. Here’s a tidbit that I don’t share with everyone: I’m an outgoing introvert. I love people in small spurts, meaning I’m selectively social. I can be all sorts of charming and then the next day I’ll become a hermit because too much socializing leaves me feeling exhausted. The point is, I understand your pain. It’s not easy.

There are days that I need to be social when I don’t feel like crawling out of my apartment. Those are the days that I just say screw it and drudgingly go to whatever event I’m scheduled to be at. Why? Because every missed connection is a missed opportunity. Every missed opportunity is an opportunity that someone else is taking.

If you keep missing opportunities and connections, someone is going to put you out of business or you’re not going to have any new client leads. If you want new business, you need to get over it and get out the door and make it happen. When you feel like you’ve reached the point where you don’t need to network anymore, you need to start networking twice as much and not be lazy—there’s always someone willing to take your money when you’re sleeping.

Want to know the easiest way to network? Talk. Talk until people are tired of listening to you. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your pastor, tell your mom that you’re a photographer. Tell everyone. That may sound like the simplest idea, but not many people capitalize on it. You need to let everyone know you’re a passionate photographer. When I first decided to make photography my full-time career, my friends and family told everyone. I received inquiries about pricing for everything from weddings to baby showers. In order for anyone to know what you’re doing, you have to inform them.

Engaging Video Content

It’s almost 2017. Newsflash! You don’t need millions of dollars to produce and edit video content. You can create it without spending a dollar, especially if you have your own video-capable DLSR. If you don’t, you can even use your iPhone. But what about audio and lighting? The content matters more than the production. Once you see the return on investment, then invest in new gear. Don’t believe me?

Here’s an example. My good friend and fellow photographer Miguel Quiles and I started a YouTube video project earlier this year entitled “These Guys I Know.” The name started as a bit of a joke because Miguel’s quip to all of my jokes is, “This guy…” and also because of the New York phrase “I know a guy…” I digress. We merely bantered for three hours on camera about photography-related shenanigans. We filmed the segment on a Sony a6300 (retail $999), and that was about it. No audio, just what the camera picked up. I edited the content the next day, and we started releasing the content weekly.

I was able to grow my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/sajorffej) from 6,000 subscribers to 10,000 in a few short months. Some of those videos have reached tens of thousands of people. The best part? People are subscribing to my newsletter, and they’re signing up for my workshops and buying my premium content.

Our following has grown so that we have companies regularly requesting to be part of the channel either as a topic or simply to send us gear to goose our production value. Rode was actually kind enough to send us mics to use—and Miguel, our followers and I thank them wholeheartedly!


1.     Set your DSLR to record 30 frames per second.

2.     Set your shutter speed to 1/60 of a second and leave it there.

3.     Your f-stop and ISO should be adjusted for the correct exposure of the scene you’re filming.

4.     Go film.

So, what do you create and promote? You don’t have to be revolutionary. Simple is often better.

You don’t need to promote only new content. If 1,000 people saw your video, there are still 7.125 billion people in the world who haven’t. Share away, my friend.

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

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