Day in and day out in my business, I work in photography PR and marketing.

I help professional photographers get featured in the media and create and publish search-optimised content that their ideal clients want to consume and which gets them noticed! I offer both ‘done-for-you’ and ‘done-with-you’ services.

Many times, I have been asked how I came to work only with professional photographers. I’m also asked a lot whether I am a professional photographer myself (the answer to this one is ‘no’, by the way). 

So, if you too would be interested to find out a little bit about the story behind my photography PR and marketing agency, then here it is….

A career-defining encounter

Let me take you back to 2012 when it all started. My eldest son had just been born and I knew I wanted professional photographs of him. Newborn photography was not as popular back then as it is now, but I realised the value in capturing this previous stage and there were a few local photographers for me to choose from.

Karen Wiltshire of KW Photography is a Dorset-based newborn and family photographer. Her professional baby portraits literally leapt out of the screen at me when I visited her website for the first time. I loved her photography style and knew instantly that she was the photographer I wanted to hire.

Of course, I wasn’t disappointed! I adored every image that Karen created, recommended her to all my friends and instantly built a rapport with her.

Once I set up my own business the following year, Karen and I began working together.

I had identified stories and opportunities which I knew I could use to help Karen grow her photography business. Her work was amazing and she was achieving great things including international photography awards! I was confident that with just a bit of help from me getting the word out, she could reach more people and grow her business as a result.

A two-decade long career in Communications (and counting!)

It’d probably be worth me explaining that, at this point in the story, I had ten years of experience behind me working in senior PR and marketing roles. I had graduated from University with a BA (Hons) in Communications in 2002, spent a year travelling the world and then spent a decade working my way up in the PR industry.

My first job in PR involved working with local and regional clients, helping them to use the power of media publicity to promote their businesses. I quickly caught the PR bug!

National and international PR experience

I later worked at the luxury paint and wallpaper brand, Farrow & Ball managing PR activities both in the UK and across Europe, gaining valuable national and international PR experience.

Then, I became PR Director at an integrated marketing agency. For four years, I led PR campaigns for national and international clients; my team created marketing content and secured invaluable media publicity. There, I promoted everything from funeral directors to national charities, and housing associations to superyacht manufacturers.

In 2011, my PR campaign for the British Tinnitus Association’s ‘Tinnitus Awareness Week’ – which involved working with celebrity influencers and international DJs – won a Chartered Institute of Public Relations Regional Gold Award – a career highlight for sure!

Supporting busy photographers with their marketing and self-promotion

Back to the story…For six years Karen and I worked together on an on-going retainer basis, and she has hired me for project work since then too. She invested in my ‘done-for’you’ PR service because she recognised the importance of marketing to the success of her business and that she couldn’t do it alone.

Finding the time and knowing how to pitch the press and create blog content was a big challenge for her, as it is for many professional photographers who are juggling many hats running their business. This is where I came in!

Press success!

Working as her in-house PR manager, I was able to quickly demonstrate to her that sharing stories about herself and promoting her work in the media would be an impactful way of reaching potential clients. I also significantly boosted her website SEO by creating regular blog content for her. This got her noticed online and helped her to climb the rankings on Google.

Over the years, our work together led to local, national and even international press articles, as well as radio interviews and feature opportunities in glossy magazines and photography trade titles.

Thanks to her commitment to content, Karen has also been able to maintain highly coveted, top-ranking positions in Google for search terms relevant to her business that we secured in the early days and since. This has secured her valuable visibility online and has been responsible for tens of thousands of visits to her website, translating into enough enquiries and bookings to keep her very busy.

“Zoe has transformed my business from a local, largely unknown small business to being recognised on a national level. She has been a fantastic asset, improving my PR beyond my expectations!”

Karen Wiltshire

I began working with more professional photographers

The success of the photography PR and marketing work I did for Karen led to her kindly recommending me to other professional photographers in her network.

This, combined with the fact that I was taking steps to position myself in my own marketing as a specialist in PR and marketing for creative businesses, led to me developing a client base almost entirely of photographers within a short space of time.

Finding my niche in photography PR and marketing

Finding my niche in photography PR and marketing wasn’t straightforward though. I’ll be honest, I initially had some resistance to the idea of niching down into the photography industry and to exclusively helping professional photographers.

I guess I was fearful that by niching down, I would no longer be considered for work outside of the photography industry.

Was there going to be enough demand for my services? Would the photography industry prove to be a good fit for me long-term? And, could I make it work without leading to a conflict of interest between clients? These were all questions I had at that time.

But, with the encouragement of my brilliant business coach, Laura Phillips, back in 2015 I took the leap and made the transition to being a PR and content marketing consultant exclusively to independent professional photographers. That decision was the best decision I believe I’ve ever made in business!

PR Savvy Photographers Facebook group

PR consultancy for professional photographers

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to get the chance to work with many incredibly talented professional photographers. Many are the leaders in their field; multi-award-winning photographers who are well renowned in the UK and abroad!

Any fears about a lack of demand were unfounded, and there’s never been a conflict of interest issue since the photographers I work with at any one time are in different geographical locations or are in non-competiting sectors, for example, newborn photography and widlife photography. I’m careful to only work with one photographer on a ‘done-for-you’ basis per region in the UK at a time.

Providing marketing support to professional photographers around the world

Word-of-mouth referrals from happy photography clients continue to bring professional photographers to me. And, as I transitioned from working part-time to full-time, not long after setting up my business, my own marketing efforts increased too. This has helped me to get visible in the professional photography community and to become known as the go-to PR consultant for photographers.

I have led PR talks at photography events and shows, hosted online training workshops of my own and been invited as a guest expert at various photography marketing summits.

I also am committed to creating blogs packed with tips for professional photographers here on my website. These help me to rank highly in search engine results pages – yey! I have also organically built a email list and share value through my email updates to my subscribers, and give access to free resources designed exclusively for professional photographers.

Also, I have created a Facebook community – called PR-Savvy Photographers – where I share PR and content marketing tips, advice and offer accountability for photographers who are keen to up their marketing game.

In addition to my 121 consultancy services, I also now run a marketing mentoring programme called the Photographer’s Visibility Blueprint which allows me to help more photographers who are struggling to market and promote themselves. This is my flagship course and something I’m really excited about supporting professioanl photographers through.

Helping professional photographers grow their businesses

So, in truth, the photography industry found me, really. But I’m so glad it did!

It’s now a decade since I set up my business and, in that time, I’ve had the honour of working with baby and family portrait photographers, wedding and elopement photographers, boudoir photographers, pet and equine photographers, wildlife photographers, commercial photographers and those who train and mentor other photographers.

Securing local, regional, national and international press coverage, and creating search-optimised blog content that boosts my clients’ rankings in search engine results and attracts clients, is the work I love to do!

Related reading: Pitching, Publicity and PR – Zoe Hiljemark on the Pet Photographers Club podcast

Photography PR and marketing services

I’m passionate about helping professional photographers promote and grow their businesses because I want to see them succeed. Experience has taught me that too many small businesses fold simply because they didn’t adequately market themselves. I don’t want that to happen to your photography business!

To find out more about me and my photography PR and marketing services, check out ways of working with me. Do also join my free Facebook community – ‘PR-Savvy Photographers‘ to gain tips and advice on how to use media publicity and content to promote and grow your photography business.

I’ve also written this blog post outlining the ways you can work with me if you’re looking for outsourced marketing content and PR services.

Don’t forget to subscribe to get access to my free downloadable PR and marketing resources for photographers and to receive tips by email. Subscribe here or click on the image below.