A: Going it alone as a freelancer you are a one man/woman band. Not only are do you need to be on top of your game as a retoucher but you also need to consider how you are going to market yourself to keep busy, plus all other aspects of business. When marketing yourself as a freelancer you may want to consider the following:
Identify your target market
The first step for any budding retouchers is always going to be identifying your target market. If you are interested in advertising then photographers working in advertising and ad agencies are going to be your main clients. If you are into fashion then magazines, PR companies and fashion photographers will be your main target. Start to build up a database of people to contact so you can start to organise how you will approach your marketing campaigns. Some photographers prefer to handle their own retouching and others already have their own team of retouchers so it is essentially ensuring you contact enough people ensure you find work. Get a website It is vital that you have a website to show off your portfolio. Fortunately, you no longer need to be a great coder in order to do this or pay a small fortune to have a developer build you a site. Companies like WordPress provide templates (many of which are free) that allow you to create your own portfolio website in a matter of hours.
This can be a great opportunity to network and get to know people face to face. You have a unique opportunity here to find out more about your target audience, what they are interested in, what their ambitions are, whether they do have a need for retouching and you have the unique opportunity to create rapport that could later translate into work. Ensure to bring business cards with you to look professional and they can then find out more about you on your website later.
Be prepared to send out a lot of emails to your target audience. This is where having that contact database will come in useful so you can keep track of who you have emailed, on which date and whether they responded. People tend to get a lot of emails so it is best to keep them as short and informative as possible. Make sure that the subject is something that will grab the attention of the audience but ensuring that it is not misleading or too selling otherwise you may put your audience off. You should also check to see if your email is being picked up by spam filters before sending; keeping the email to plain text and avoiding highly marketing words should avoid this. However, whether you want to include a few images to create some initial impact is your choice and certainly worth experimenting with. Based on our own research most ad agencies would expect to see 1 to 3 images in any email marketing campaign as they have little time review emails.
Depending on your budget you may also consider sending image/s to your potential clients by mail. Since less people are choosing this method now due to it being more costly, it could be an opportunity to stand out and make a lasting impact. Some ad agencies have a wall where they put up the images they receive so aiming for this wall could be your way to landing a great project. Therefore, something postcard sized may be the best option but creativity in your overall package may also get you noticed. So there are our main tips for marketing yourself as a freelance retoucher. When it comes to marketing the main point to remember is to be consistent. This is a very big area and we will be going into some of these topics in more detail soon. If there were any other pointers you wanted to share then please leave your comments below.