Ancestral Findings

Marketing and Networking

Don’t Forget Your Own Advertising!

Don't Forget Your Own Advertising!

We photographers often forget to create promotional images—and there is more to these types of images than just the self portraits. Here are my thoughts.

Photographers are noted—perhaps even notorious—for their exacting attention to detail, right? But there are some details where we notoriously fall short. One of those is our own promotional assets.

If you’re not sure what I mean, these are the photographs that are meant to help promote our own works. We will spend all day on location taking photographs of a particular location for a project that we’re working on, and then at the end, we’ll skip the selfies—or whatever else we could be created to use for promotional work.

But the thing is, if you plan to sell or popularize your photography in any way, then your own advertising photographs are extremely important. To start with, you should have at least one good portrait of yourself—and a few self-portraits can be very helpful if you have multiple places where you might need to place them. We artists sometimes like to hide our faces behind our art—and in fact, some of us, ironically enough, despite being masters of the lens, cannot stand to step in front of that lens ourselves. Still, self-portraits are important because they help to humanize you. When someone sees your portrait, it’s an instant signal that tells them that they’re not dealing with a faceless print seller, but rather an actual person who is an artist. Such a small token, but it’s one that helps to build trust.


So self-portraits are one type of advertising photograph you can be creating periodically, but they’re by no means the only advertising images that you’ll need—and the next types that I’ll mention are those that are most often forgotten. For instance, when you are creating a project, you might need a variety of different promotional photographs for that project’s cover, or for various promotional materials that you may want to put out in advance to build buzz.

Think of it like this: If you have a six-image project that you want to show or sell, you don’t want to give all of those images away in the social media postings that you use to build a buzz so as to attract people to the gallery. Rather, some related photographs, perhaps of you on location while you were creating the project or something of the like, can be useful to hint at what is to come without spoiling the surprise.

And when you’re creating a website? You’ll probably need assets for the header or for other spots on various pages—and you may not want to use something from your portfolio here because you’ll want to avoid repetition between peripheral imagery and the portfolio itself. Similarly, books will need more than just the photographs you’ll display on each page. You’ll need a cover photograph, perhaps more than one, or multiples if you’re doing a slipcover.

The list goes on—no matter what type of photography you’ll be marketing, you’ll need the tools to market it properly, and that includes marketing images. But we photographers spend so much time thinking about art that we quite often forget to create a few extra images that we can use specifically for promotion. At the end of the day, if your goal is to promote, then these images are just as necessary as the art itself.

Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.

About the author

Will Moneymaker

I love making photographs and exploring my surroundings through my lens. Follow along as I share my thoughts and adventures in the art of photography.