If you’re a photographer, you’re familiar with referrals. You already know they’re one of the best ways to get new customers familiar with your business.

Photographers that specialize in family portraits, weddings, and engagements have an advantage. Clients of photographers build up trust a lot faster because most often photography sessions are one on one experiences.  When people are happy with your photos, they’ll share them on social media and frame them in their homes. They’ll happily share your name wherever they go, but you can encourage them to refer even more of their friends and family with an official referral program.

We’ve compiled a bunch of photography referral program ideas for your photography business:

Ask for the referral

The hardest part about asking for the referral is actually asking. You have to realize that as long as your photography business is professional, people are going to want to refer you. The key is creating a culture that makes it easy for customers to refer you. Basically, you need to make sure you’re delivering photos that people love. Then, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.

Email your friends

Email has proven itself to be a powerful tool for every type of business, and it’s especially good for photographers or photo retouchers. If you’re not updating your current clients with a newsletter to stay on top their mind I highly suggest signing up for a free service like MailChimp and start sending out newsletters that make it apparent that you welcome referrals for your photography business.

Here are a few resources for writing emails for referrals:

Facebook Posts

You can use Facebook in a number of ways. Use it to engage your readers and attract them to your website to hopefully close their business. While doing that you also want to show appreciation to current clients that you have by posting about them.

If any current photography clients get you referrals, it’s always a good idea to show appreciation by posting about it on Facebook. This helps create the type of ‘referral culture’ that will help people drive their friends to your business.

Send out thank you cards

Being great at something starts with doing a lot of easy fundamental things right. If you want to see better results you have to do everything for your photography business, no matter how small it seems. Even thank you cards help with photography referral promotion.

Host a giveaway for your clients

Host a giveaway for your clients who send you the most referrals this month. It’s something easy to do that gets everyone involved and lets you show that you appreciate what they do for you.

Use your social media bio

An easy way to get new photography referrals or to promote your photography affiliate program is by letting it be known in your social media bios. Think of them like your email signature (where you should include this as well), everyone comes across them and it’s your chance to get a point across.

Custom business cards

One of the key elements of a successful referral program is integrating it throughout your whole business. Even on your business cards. You can hand them out wherever you go and who knows where they’ll end up.

Don’t forget to add a URL to your portfolio or a landing page, or better yet, use a QR Code linked to the landing page so that the card doesn’t look cluttered.

I can’t tell you how many random business calls I’ve received just by handing out my business card to someone that gives it to another person.

Photography referral incentive ideas

Free photoshoots

It costs you nothing but time! In your customer’s eyes, it’s worth some money, though. Take advantage of resources like these that you can leverage and give your customers an incentive to get you some referrals!

photography referral program incentive

Discounts for future purchases

If you have a lot of repeat clients then discounts will be very attractive to them. If not you’ll be wasting your time with this.

Wedding photography rewards

Everyone needs a wedding photographer at some point! And who doesn’t know of at least one wedding going on at all times?

Building a free wedding shoot as a wedding photography referral program is a huge motive for people to help you out. Don’t make it easy on them, though 🙂

Exclusive gifts

Who has a selfie in a gold frame? Pretty ridiculous right? Those type of gifts get attention though because they’re fun. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside of the box to get some attention you wouldn’t normally get.

These are great ways to build photography referral programs that work.

Group discounts

This isn’t the best referral incentive idea. Only because it’s really hard to get groups together unless you’re on Groupon. Most people are going to be sharing your stuff on Facebook and not actively searching for groups of friends to use your services for.

If you can make it work for you then do it because this also has the largest payout. For most people though you’re better off coming up with a different reward.

Gift cards to local restaurants

The reason you would gift something local is that people might value it more than your actual services. It’s not that you’re not an amazing photographer but, they might just not need some pictures at this stage in their life.

They do probably have a friend that does and they also probably would love to eat out somewhere nice.