Facebook Ads For Photographers: 3 Killer Ad Ideas

by Toby

March 1, 2017

facebook ads for photographers

As a photographer, a steady stream of new photography clients is important to growing your business. The challenge for any business wanting to grow its clients has always been, where should I market and advertise? The options are many – from traditional marketing like print, postcards, local papers, and networking, to newer online options such as Facebook ads.

The problem with using traditional media to advertise your photography services is that it is very expensive, incredibly inefficient, and delivers a poor return on your ad spend.

The cost to acquire a photography customer from traditional marketing channels can be 10 times as expensive compared to digital tactics, such as through Facebook ads. The reason for this cost discrepancy between traditional and digital channels will be clearer in just a moment.

In this post, I will outline 3 killer advertising strategies that you can use to target new photography clients.

If you have thought about Facebook advertising but weren’t sure if Facebook ads work for photographers, then read on.

Enter Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are so highly effective for three main reasons:

  1. The amount of information they have about us
  2. Consumer behavior and the sheer volume of people on Facebook
  3. Ad costs

These three combinations make the Facebook ad platform unmatched in its ability to reach your target photography customer effectively and efficiently. Whether you’re advertising for weddings, family portraits, or newborns, Facebook is one of your most effective options.

Information and Data About Your Target Audience:

Part of what makes Facebook so effective and valuable is the amount of information it has about you and me – this makes marketing efficient and effective because we can be so precise in our ad targeting, which traditional media channels cannot match.

With Facebook ads, we can be incredibly precise in our targeting eliminating wasted ad spend that is so common with other traditional advertising channels.

Facebook knows what we like, dislike, our household income, gender, married or single, if we are engaged (and how long we’ve been engaged), how many kids we have, what we read, our political affiliations, where we live, and where we go on vacation, and even our household income. It is truly mind-blowing. Much of this information that Facebook knows about us is collected right within Facebook based on what we have “liked”, commented on, and put in our profile.

However, here’s what makes Facebook demographic targeting even more powerful – Partner Categories. Partner categories layer on what we do offline and outside of Facebook – our purchase history, what sites we visit, do you own your home, and more. Facebook was already powerful, but by layering on offline data, it has become even more efficient and targeted for advertisers.

No other advertising channel can match the level of detail that Facebook ads offer.

Stay with me here…I will get to the 3 killer ad strategies in just a minute

Consumer Behavior:

It is no surprise that consumers spend more and more time on mobile devices. We have our mobile phones with us 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. And many people check their phones immediately after waking up in the morning.

So where does Facebook fit in with the mobile consumer? Right in the middle of it!

Consider that the average person spends up to 3 hours per day on their phone. Of those 3 hours, almost 1 hour alone is spent on Facebook. Think about that for a moment. Of all the apps people have access to on their phones and nearly 1/3rd of the time is spent on Facebook alone. Not only that, but if you summed up the amount of time that people spend on the next most popular social apps (e.g. Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc), it would not sum to the number of time people spend on Facebook.

Also, consider the sheer volume of people on Facebook – billions are active daily not only on the desktop but also on mobile devices.

Ad Costs and Spend:

And unlike traditional media such as print magazines or mailers which are incredibly expensive, with Facebook ads you can spend as little as $1 per day.

Make no mistake, there’s a clear opportunity to win new business and stay ahead of your slower less sophisticated photography competition for those photographers willing to learn how to promote their business using Facebook ads.

Now on to the more exciting stuff.

Let’s see how specific and targeted we can get with Facebook ads for photographers.

3 Killer Facebook Ads Strategies For Photographers

Facebook Ads for Wedding Photography

wedding photography ad idea

Facebook Ad For Wedding Photography Services

Let consider promoting your wedding photography services on Facebook.

With Facebook ads, you can target people that are newly engaged, for example

  • Newly engaged 3 months
  • Newly engaged 6 months
  • Newly engaged 1 year

How great is that?

However, you can narrow that down even more by also layering on additional targets – people that read Martha Stewart Weddings magazine or have an interest in wedding planning, wedding dresses, wedding rings, and more.

Then you can layer on your geo-targeting – in the Facebook ad example below, I am targeting people within a 20-mile radius of the pushpin within San Diego, but you could go broader or narrower here too depending on how large geography you target.

Our target audience for this is approximately 20,000 people that are newly engaged 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months between the ages of 23 – 50, and read Martha Stewart Weddings.

Wedding photography facebook ad targeting

Wedding Targeting newly engaged couples for wedding photography

Wedding photography facebook ad targeting

Wedding Targeting newly engaged couples for wedding photography

In the wedding example, we chose both genders, but if you wanted to run ads targeted towards women with messaging that appealed more to them, you can down select for women only (since they are usually the decision makers).

Facebook Ads Targeting Newborns and New Parents

Now let’s look at an example targeting parents with newborns.

In this case, we have selected the same geography, same age, and gender demographics, but are targeting parents with newborns AND we have now layered on household income to down-select for those families that can afford your photography sessions.

Newborn photography facebook ad targeting

Newborn photography ad ideas with Facebook ads

Newborn photography facebook ad targeting

Newborn photography ad ideas with Facebook ads

Seasonal Facebook Ads

The annual seasonal times can also be targeted as well, whether that is the holidays or Mother’s Day.

mother's day photography facebook ad

Special occasion photography ads on Facebook

Below is how you might target mini photo sessions for Mother’s Day, for example.

Special occasion photography ads on Facebook

We are using the same geographic targeting in San Diego, but now we are going to run our ads several weeks before Mother’s Day and target the following:

  • Married
  • Have kids in the home of all ages
  • Household income of $100k – $250k
  • Own their home
special occasions - holiday photography facebook ad ideas

Special occasion photography ad ideas

special occasions - holiday photography facebook ad ideas

Special occasion photography ad ideas

In this case, we can target 11,000 people for our services that meet our geographic and demographic targeting criteria.

Extend Your Photography Ads Into Instagram

advertise on instagram
advertise on instagram
You can easily advertise your photography services on Instagram from within the Facebook ad interface

Your targeting options inside Facebook are almost endless. The examples above illustrated advertising ideas for weddings and engagements, holidays, and newborns, but targeting first birthdays, family photography, or even business headshots are all possible.

Most importantly, however, is that you can be so specific in who you target – no other advertising options offer that kind of specificity in targeting and flexibility in ad spend. So yes, Facebook ads work for photographers. If you’re willing to dive in you will win more new clients and stay ahead of your less sophisticated competition.

Can I just Post To My Facebook Page?

No, without Facebook ads your reach and exposure with organic non-paid posts is about 1% of your fan base. Since 2011, Facebook has been reducing the exposure with page posts for all Facebook pages.

What About Boost Posts?

There are more than a dozen advertising objectives in Facebook – the Boost Post option is just one. However, you should almost never use the Boost Post. If you’re serious about advertising on Facebook, stay away from boosting posts from the page interface. I wrote a related post here about why you should not use boost posts.

In summary, while there are many marketing ideas for photographers, Facebook ads offer one of the most effective and targeted ways of acquiring new customers and creating awareness for your services. No other advertising channel offers the level of precise demographic targeting combined with cost-effectiveness and control over your ad spend.

I encourage you to embrace this digital channel. Please leave your comments or questions below – I’d love to hear your feedback and questions.


Do Facebook Ads For Photographers Work?

How do I advertise my photography on Facebook?

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

  • Lyn Marie says:

    How does Facebook know people’s salary

    • Hi Lyn, Facebook has many partnerships with offline data providers, such as Acxiom, Experian, Epsilon and more – these financial estimates of HHI are matched to Facebook’s user profiles. The match between a Facebook user and income is anonymous and there is no way any advertiser can see this data or download it.

  • Why do you exclude married people on the mini session example?

    • Hi Rachel,
      Good catch on that screenshot – actually I did not intend to have that as an “exclude” in the Facebook ad targeting – it was meant to as an “include”.

  • Fanlow Misc says:

    Great video training! I just took on photographer who is looking to generate new client and this was exactly what I needed to just start her campaign. I wish you well in 2018!

    • Beth Myers says:

      I was curious how the FB ads are going with your new photographer client? I’m a photographer and just getting ready to start running FB ads.

  • I searched in all ad options and I don’t have the targeting option anywhere 🙁 All I can choose from is interests, age, genre, location and budget 🙁 Why don’t I hate the demographic option ?

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