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The Best Free Advertising for Photographers: The Sneak Peek


As photographers, we rely heavily on referrals and word of mouth for free advertising. However, finding a way to encourage clients to refer you can be challenging.

One of the most effective ways to prompt referrals, increase traffic to your website, advertise your work for free and attract your ideal client is by perfecting the Sneak Peek.

In this article you will find:

  • What is a Sneak Peek
  • Why it’s important to do a Sneak Peek for EVERY client
  • How to add the Sneak Peek to your workflow with ease.
  • Tips for using the Sneak Peek to attract more clients
  • How to drive more traffic to your website

What is a Sneak Peek

The Sneak Peek is a short blog post that features a select few of your favorite photos from a session. The blog is shared with the family 2-3 days after a session to leverage the excitement and anticipation from the session.

The Importance of a Sneak Peek

I know the thought of adding one more step to your workflow might sound crazy, but trust me on this. This is one of the most effective ways you can spend your time and here is why:

  1. You control the images you want shared. We’ve all had photos we contemplated leaving in a gallery, only to have the client post them on social media. I can’t quite figure out why that always is but that’s not the point, I guess! The Sneak Peek curates your favorite photos, the ones you want people to see and the ones that fit your brand the best. Controlling the photos you want shared helps to attract the clients you want. 
  2. Leverages the excitement of the session. Whether they say it or not, families always have an excited anticipation in the days after their session. They planned the perfect location, picked the perfect outfits, said their prayers for cooperative children and officially survived photo day. And now for the fun part, waiting for those beautiful photos. Giving a sneak peek within a few days of the session boosts their anticipation and gives them more reason to be excited to see the full gallery. 
  3. A Sneak Peek is easy to share. Organizing your favorite photos from the session into a single Sneak Peek blog post, gives them an easy to access and easy to share gallery of their photos. With a quick copy and paste, the link can now be shared via text, email or social media.  
  4. Increases traffic to your website. By hosting the Sneak Peak as a blog post, you are inviting your client’s audience into your website. If they love what they see or want to know more, it’s a simple click to learn more about you. 
  5. It’s free advertising. There is nothing more effective than word-of-mouth advertising and doing it right even moreso. Having your excited clients share their Sneak Peek, of your best work, to their audience of friends, while inviting them to your website is what is called a WIN WIN!

How to Implement The Sneak Peek

Now that we know why it’s so important, let’s talk about how to do it. You are probably thinking that I’m a little crazy adding yet another step into your workflow, but it’s not necessarily adding more work (if you already blog), just re-arranging the order in which you do the work. Stick with me! Here is how to deliver an effective Sneak Peek to your clients:

  1. Day of the Session – Pick Your Favorite Photo of Mom: To leverage the excitement from the session, it is a nice gesture to send a single photo from the session. Pick a photo that is the most flattering for mom since she is usually the one most concerned with how the photos turned out. This isn’t the sneak peek I am talking about by the way – it’s just a little something extra that let’s mom rest assure that you got some great photos and show her how beautiful she looked. 
  1. During Initial Cull – Choose Your Favorites:  During your initial cull, in addition to flagging your photos, note the ones that really stand out as your favorites. Narrow your favorites to 5-10 photos depending on the length of the session and size of the gallery. These photos are meant to attract your ideal client. The photos must showcase your absolute best work, represent your brand and your style, and are designed to attract your ideal client. Once you have narrowed your photos, edit those favorites!

Behind-The-Scenes:  On the initial cull, whether it’s the day of the session or the day after, I always flag my immediate favorites on my first pass. These are the photos that you just know are winners. From those flagged, I use color labels in Lightroom to label my absolute favorites Red. In a typical full family session, I will typically have 250-300 photos. I am an admitted over shooter! I usually cull my photos down to 75 favorites and from there I usually label anywhere between 10-15 absolute favorites. 

  1. Day 2 and 3 – Write Your Blog Post:  This step does not have to be daunting. The blog post should be short, sweet and unique. Right after the session, write down a few notes about your session. How did the family make you feel? Were there any moments that made you laugh? Writing just a few notes while the session is fresh in your mind will allow you to easily summarize a short blog that will be genuine and memorable. If the family had 2 toddlers that just wanted to run, comment on that and how much energy kids have. Challenge yourself to write something unique to that family’s session.

    Blog posts are a great way to improve the quality of your website and boost your SEO. Don’t forget to include key words organically in your text.  
  1. Day 2 and 3 – Add Your Favorites: When your blog is polished and complete, add 5-10 of your absolute favorite photos from the session to complete the post. 
  1. Day 3 – Share the Sneak Peek with Client:  Once your blog is published, it’s time for the fun part! Copy the link and share it with your client. Don’t forget to encourage them to share it with their friends and family. 
  1. Day 4 – Share the Sneak Peek on Social Media:  It’s always best to allow the client to see their photos first. Give them a day or so to absorb and share the link as they desire before sharing the Sneak Peek on your own social outlets. Always confirm with them that they approve and have signed a Model Release in advance before using any photos. 
  1. Get Ready for Some Web Traffic:  Depending on the client, they will likely share the link in one way or another. They may share it with close family and friends. If they are very active on social media, they may share the link on Facebook and that is usually the holy grail of free advertising. If they do this, you will see your web traffic spike. 

Tips For Success

The Sneak Peek is one of the best free advertising tactics for photographers and should be viewed as an investment. Sending a Sneak Peek did not add any more work to your plate but instead expedited some of the tasks that get put on the backburner, like writing that dreaded blog post! We all know that blogging is important but without deadlines, it’s easy to neglect them. Adding the Sneak Peek to your workflow keeps you on task and on the top of your game. 

Some things to keep in mind when implementing the Sneak Peek: 

  • Always include the Sneak Peek in your contract so that the client knows about it in advance. 
  • Confirm at the session that they will be OK with your posting a Sneak Peek AND sharing the photos on your business accounts. 
  • Do not overthink the blog post. A simple paragraph or two will do the trick!
  • After the full gallery has been delivered, be sure to update the blog post and share that with your client as well.

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Hi, I’m Danielle Blewitt! I am a photography business consultant and I help professional family photographers market and grow a profitable and sustainable business they can take pride in through a series of simple, easy-to-implement strategies. I will be your biggest cheerleader and most honest coach as we build your dream business together. More about me »

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