first things first, I think the most important thing is to keep going, be patient and keep your portfolio up-to-date in order to constantly release new content… second of all: always be friendly and make people feel comfortable around you. They will recommend you… and this is gold!
For finding clients, I would love to say that there’s a step-by-step plan but I guess there isn’t. I could still ask the same question in fact and I’m still finding out.
Here’s a few things that I would suggest and depending on which type of person you are and what you like to do they may be effective or not so much:
Network + Exposure:
– assisting other photographers is building experience and network but make sure you won’t be an assistant forever
– publishing your work in magazines creates exposure but also a network and the impression of professionalism
– partaking in contests can up your game – if you win advertise it everywhere
– if you like to network at events (obviously not now), this may offer great opportunities in the future
– send newsletters, and/or do cold acquisition while keeping a list of all contacts and noting when and with whom you’ve been in touch. It can turn out to be fun and most important: it will keep you name coming up again and again. If you think they will ignore you, do it anyway! Mostly, it’s a matter of timing whether e.g. advertising agencies are right now looking for a photographer for a project.
Marketing + SEO:
– many active users get jobs through social media – it depends on your target group whether this is an option for you
– you may want to rank high on Google and this can be done only by containing good texts on your website. Working on my SEO in fact changed my whole approach to things – it made me come up with so many ideas and visions!
– not from my own experience, but if you can invest in advertising it will sure help you get more visibility
– look at your communication from the outside: are you talking about yourself or considering what would sound most interesting to your business partners, followers, etc.?
Photography + Personality:
– even if you’re happy with your work – try to reinvent yourself, or your photography, constantly. You may find innovative approaches by going back to the roots, experimenting, etc. – if you do, make them your thing! People are always looking for something unique and different, especially, because there are so many images out there.
– try to always improve the way you work – find out about any weaknesses there are at your shoots (maybe organisation, conversation, to name a few) and come up with solutions. Maybe everything is fine already but then you may want to think of how to make a day more entertaining (maybe you know this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A__6QyhqdZA – standard job but the way he does it made him famous)
Hope this helped a bit 🙂