renee bowen


HOW TO Find Clients as a Photographer



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photo collage of high school seniors in various poses by high school senior photographer renee bowen

The most asked question I get in my Facebook group for High School Senior Photographers is “How do I get more clients?” so let’s talk about it because I have a LOT of advice on this.  I also do a lot of content about this on TikTok and Reels and be sure to check out the SUMMER SALE TOO


I know that you might not feel super confident YET but I’m gonna need you to act like the future version of yourself here What does THAT version of you DO to have what they have? I bet they: ✅ know their deep sense of purpose ✅ communicate that in marketing ✅ SHOW UP in person & online ✅ tell people what they do ✅ show how they make them feel ✅ know their biz numbers ✅ make time for themselves ✅ FEEL excited & hopeful ✅ live in abundance not scarcity You can be that version of yourself NOW – it’s not as hard as you think but it DOES require you to let go of old ways of thinking and being That stuff won’t get you there – it got you HERE & if here isn’t what you want, it’s time to change Get out there and be who you want to be – NOW Lmk how I can help; I have everything from free stuff to low cost memberships to high level coaching – but you’re gonna need to take the step #photographycoach #photographyresources #photographybusinesscoach #photographybusinesstips #seniorphotographer #photographer #photographymarketing #marketingtips

♬ original sound – Abundant Creative

How to find clients as a photographer:

First, you need CLARITY on these —>

  1. What kind of business do YOU want to run?
  2. Who are YOUR target clients? (And we have two as a senior photographer – the senior and the parent – you need to know both at a deep level)
  3. What are their pain points? How do you solve them? What is aspirational to them?
  4. What is your brand story?
  5. What is your deeper purpose and vision – outside of photography?
  6. How much money do you want and need to make?

Next steps:

Once you have clarity on those things,  then you can find clients and market to them intentionally. Without that clarity, marketing will be hard and frustrating – especially if you are trying to build a lower volume/higher priced biz model.  What I see many photographers do is spend way too much time in the high volume/low priced biz model and when they DO raise prices, it is not high enough so they stay in that dreaded “gray zone”.

photo collage of high school seniors in various poses by high school senior photographer renee bowen

That middle area – between the $200 and $2000 price points is HARD and I’ll explain why: 

You know you want and need to be priced higher, but you have limiting beliefs and doubt that tells you “nobody will pay that” or that you are unworthy of that level of income. Most of us have unconscious programming from our childhood that keeps us stuck, but the truth is that the ONLY job of your unconscious mind is to keep you alive. It perceives raising prices as unsafe so it’ll keep pulling you back to your comfort zone by distracting you and filling your head with lies like “nobody will pay that”.

It is up to YOU to rewire that

And you can, I promise.  While this blog post isn’t specifically about that, it is a big part of finding clients because if you do not believe in yourself, you will never get what you want. I believe that if you are drawn to this profession, there is a version of you already living in that success in a different timeline (we know time is not linear) and that just by having the idea of this business, it is already YOURS if you choose to align with the energy of that version of yourself.

What does that version DO daily to achieve the success he/she has? 

I knew that I wanted to build a boutique, high-touch photography business and let me tell you – I’ve been where you are.  I’ve had the doubt and unworthiness thoughts.  I’ve glared at an empty calendar and felt the panic rise as I realized there would be another month with no clients – and had NO clue how to find them! I didn’t have teens of my own when I started out – just little kids at the time, with no idea about how to reach teenagers in my area. All I had was this vision of an amazing senior photography biz that nobody else here was doing at the time.

And that’s also when I realized: nobody is coming to save me.

I personally don’t have the luxury of having a spouse who supports the family while I delve into my “hobby”. I have three kids, one with special needs, who all needed to go to college and as talented and awesome as my husband is, he is an actor and a writer. There isn’t a more unpredictable career path! When he works, it’s amazing. When he doesn’t (oh, like at all during the pandemic and last year’s actor and writer strikes!) it’s terrifying.

I knew I had to build a business that was profitable because I wanted to be home to raise my kids – especially for my son with autism. This isn’t necessarily “easy” as photographer in LA, where you could spit and find one lol! But I wanted it REALLY BAD – so I got scrappy (meaning, I was broke and didn’t have any money to invest in anything)

That obsession is what you need from a mindset viewpoint. Get super clear on what kind of business you want and then GET OBSESSED with achieving it. All roads point to your destination. No veering from it, and that means getting your unconscious programming in check. I am a certified life coach, so I don’t just teach marketing strategy. I believe we need both strategy and mindset to get what we want – in life and business. It’s even the basis of my podcast.

So the MAIN thing I want you to get from this blog post is that you absolutely need to develop a strong AF mindset. One that does not negotiate with your unconscious mind. This usually looks like daily habits to keep you on track but they can be different for everyone; the key is to find what works for YOU.  When I work 1:1 with coaching clients, I take into account their human design chart as well as their personality traits to make sure we are creating a path that feels good because if it doesn’t feel good, you aren’t going to do it. Period.

photo collage of high school seniors in various poses by high school senior photographer renee bowen

Feel good FIRST is my mantra.

Then do the things needed to succeed – like marketing.

So here is a list of things I did and that you can also do to market that will get you clients – but just know that unless you have a clear plan going in, it will be like throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it sticks (and also, these are based on a boutique biz model – I wanted to make a minimum of 100k a year working with 50 or so seniors a year; now I do 200k with about 60 – this is very different from shoot/burn or a high volume biz) 

THE List:

✅ Find the other local businesses who are either working with or who WANT to work with your target clients, and create relationships with them

✅ Find the coaches, teachers, etc. who are in front of your target client and ask them to nominate teens to work with you

✅ Start a SENIOR REP TEAM (focused on what the teens in the area want – not what you see other photographer moms doing necessarily; approach it from the teen clients’ perspective) – I have a program that teaches this and it is how I built my senior biz from the beginning.

✅ Work with the ASB, or student government at your local schools

✅ Who do you already know who has teens in your target client pocket?

✅ If you have been a photographer for awhile, what past clients could you be connecting with who might have kids that age?

✅ Where do your target clients go? Where do they spend time and money? Be there.

✅ What teens in your area are already “of influence”? Get to know them and connect

✅ Get your elevator pitch down and tell it to everyone you meet (this should be 1-2 sentences and make people lean in and go “Tell me more”.

✅ Are there schools who might need your services as a photographer and in return, can you get an email list?

✅ YOUR email list should be a main concern fyi – get people into your universe; you don’t own social media. I highly recommend Flodesk if you do not already have an email provider you love – I love how easy and pretty my emails are and the scheduling is KEY.

✅ Do the local schools hold boutiques? If so, consider getting a booth.

✅ Mailing or emailing lists: not all schools will give you this info; mine won’t – so you need to be more scrappy to get them … hence the relationships mentioned. If you DO get one, make sure that piece of marketing material speaks to YOUR target client or it’s a waste of $$.

✅ Find your pocket with social media – it needs to support all your in person marketing. Show UP for yourself; this does not have to look like being on your phone 24/7! I am a huge proponent of creating strategies so that you are actually working LESS while making more.

✅ Understand SEO and for goodness sake, BLOG! Your website needs to attract your target client immediately; it should do the heavy lifting for you and your blog supports that with fresh content, ideally twice a month. This does not have to be hard; I have a minicourse called Repurpose that teaches you how to take one blog post and turn it into 25+ pieces of short form content. I’m a big believer in creating efficient workflows.  In this same category – make sure your website is GOOD; I use and love Showit and Tonic templates! 

✅ Get out of your own way – if you want it, go get it. The only one stopping you is you.

You CAN build a senior biz without:

  1. A studio (I did)
  2. Money (I did)
  3. Expensive equipment (I did)

But you can’t do it WELL without CLARITY & focus, because if you go into it without those, you’ll wind up exhausted and burnt out even if you are making money.

If you’re serious about building with intention, you can always email me to chat about coaching and my signature senior photography program – it’s not for everyone but for those who have worked with me, it’s been transformational.

And if you can’t swing that financially yet, at least hop inside my $49 a month group coaching membership – includes actual coaching with me and tons of education! 

What you’ve been doing won’t get you where you want to go. It got you HERE. If you want to different, you will need to BE different. Let me know how I can help!



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