Olly Stabler is a portrait, commercial and event photographer based in Leicester, UK. He photographs for three major agencies as well as his local newspaper; shooting everything from music events through to weddings.

To see more from Olly, follow him on 500px, visit his website, or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Promoting your photography business can be stressful and costly at times, especially when you are first getting started. I have therefore written this post to introduce you to 5 ways that you can market your photography business for under $100 each.

Front of cafe in Verona by Geert van Leeuwen on 500px.com

1. Put up a Canvas in an Art Cafe – Estimated Cost: $100

Visit different cafes in the area that you want to reach out to and approach those that you think will suit the photography you capture. Most cafes will ask for around 20% commission, so make sure you include this in your pricing once you have enquired. The cost to print out a big enough canvas will be no more than $100, and having your work on show will give you great exposure and hopefully lead to sales.

If you sell your canvas, the cafe is likely to want to put up more of your work, as you will also be making them money. I recently wrote a guide on preparing photos for canvas print that may be helpful to look over before approaching cafes in your area.

The Letter by Dina Belenko on 500px.com

2. Guest Post – Estimated Cost: $0

Guest posting is ideal for creating exposure and costs nothing but time. Many people don’t consider guest posting as an option; they feel they need to be an outstanding professional photographer and writer in order to add value to content online.

However, I have been shooting for a year and half and know that I am not a strong writer, which I why I call upon the help of one of my friends who is a professional copywriter. They suggest changes and correct errors in my posts—the ideas and experiences are all mine, but there is no harm in having someone edit your work.

If you can write a guest post that includes a link back to your website this will help you with your natural Google rankings, ensuring that more people will find your business and contact you for bookings.

Safety In Good Hands by Ben Robson on 500px.com

3. Donate Your Time to a Charity – Estimated Cost: $10

Many people debate the advantages and disadvantages of working for free, with one of the most common cons being that you are often associated with doing free work, which can be detrimental for your brand. Having said that, one of the ways you can work for free without negatively affecting your brand is to work with a charity on an upcoming auction by donating a headshot session or a portrait shoot for the charity to auction off.

Many charities are supported by commercial businesses, so there is a possibility that a commercial business could end up purchasing your product. If you do a good job, you may get more work from them and anyone else they happen to tell about you.

I have done this myself, and gained a client from it. If you attend the auction itself, you can arrange for a chance to show off your best photos to the attendees, and you may find that people who missed out on winning the bid may approach you after if you network with them well.

Nice by Cheglakov  Eugene  on 500px.com

4. Email List – Estimated Cost: $100

This is a great way to remind existing clients and potential clients that your brand still exists. All you do is send out an informational email detailing what your company has done over the last month, including any killer shots that you have taken. It is a great idea to showcase the offers you have on and to discuss a few unique selling points that make your photos look better than anyone else’s.

I would recommend using a service like MailChimp with a custom template so that your branding is consistent with your website. Using a custom template will also ensure that those familiar with the software you are using will know that you have invested time and money in your brand.

The $100 estimated cost is to cover the time of a graphic designer who can make you a custom template. Essentially, the more time you put into making your emails look good, the better. But don’t make the mistake of sending out too many emails—one a month is standard.

Cathy 1 by Brian Wilson on 500px.com

5. Post out Promotional Postcards – Cost: $70

You can print 100 postcards for about $35-40, and I would advise you have photos on one side and a written message on the other. If you want to mail all 100, your costs will be roughly $46 (assuming you are in the US).

If you are looking to do this as cheaply as possible, the most inexpensive solution would be to post these cards yourself, and as you will usually be targeting your local area, this shouldn’t cost too much in gas. Companies such as PS Print offer a mailing service as well, if you don’t have the time to send them out yourself.

You won’t need a graphic designer for these prints, since you will only need a few photos, your logo, and a short message aimed at prospective clients. As with the email designs, if you can’t create something that looks slick, professional, and effectively shows off your photography skills, it is worth spending the extra money on a designer who will create a design that does your work justice.