An old standby: How business cards can help photographers self-promote

In today’s world we’re flooded with digital promotions. Spam emails, banner ads, popups — you name it. And while some of these ads are tasteful and catch our attention in an appealing way, other times we can be overwhelmed by the sensory overload.

As you promote your business online, you want to make you don’t get caught up in the noise — or you might lose the ability to stand out as a unique and attractive brand.

That’s where business cards come in. Sure, they may seem old-fashioned. But people in the business world have been relying on them for self-promotion for centuries. In fact, they’re thought to have originated in 15th-century China! Even today, 600 years later, business cards stand the test of time as a great initial way to promote your brand. Here’s why:

They’re cheap and easy. While lots of advertising can feel like a big money investment, business cards are relatively cheap. Some companies will even give you your first stack of business cards for free. They’re also made pretty easily, with plenty of helpful online services offering great designs and quick turnaround.

In the early going of your business, it can sometimes feel nice to just get some promotional task done — and with business cards, you can knock something off your to-do list quickly and easily.

They’re classy and professional. When someone hands you a business card, you feel like you’re beginning a business relationship. Sure, you may never look at that business card again. But you have it in your hand — and something about the whole transaction feels professional and classy.

When you have business cards, you’re telling the recipient of the business card that you’re serious about the work you do and serious about working with them. It’s a simple way to start a hopefully fulfilling business partnership.

They stand out in today’s digital world. Everything is online today. And more and more companies are investing in only digital advertising solutions. While many of these online solutions are effective, their dominance in today’s advertising landscape makes anything that isn’t digital feel special.

Being able to hold someone’s name and phone number in your hand feels more impactful than just reading it on a screen. And if you put this information on nice paper with an appealing design, the recipient of your card is likely to keep it in their wallet for a while. Seeing a pretty business card in your wallet is definitely a nice change of pace from a barrage of email ad copy in your inbox.

They convey your aesthetic. You’re a photographer. While you’re working for money, you’re still an artist and you’re working in a craft that is aesthetic in nature. Business cards enable you to convey that aesthetic with a great design.

Think of this business card as a mission statement. For instance, if you print a fairly minimal card with a nice font on a quality piece of paper, this should align with your business — one that is organized, down-to-business, and focused on quality above all else. You’re not glamorous — but you get the work done and you do it well.

If you’re a more colorful, whimsical business, create a card that reflects that. Because at the end of the day, your business card can be a crucial first step in terms of branding your photography business.

They have a personal touch. Handing a business card to someone feels intimate. You have to go out of your way to put one in the hands of prospective clients. And when they see this business card in the future, they’ll think of the person who gave it to them. In this way, a business card puts you in the head of potential clients. Assuming the interaction was good when you met, the business card will build a positive association between you and the client.

They have your name and contact info. Lest we forget, business cards communicate vital information. They get your name, phone number, and email in a prospective client’s pocket. What more could you ask for?

Sure, business cards might seem basic. And let’s be frank: They are! But that’s part of why they work so well. They’re a great, easy way to get started promoting your business — and they do so in a way that feels handcrafted and people-focused.

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