Twelve Creative (and Subtle) Ways to Promote Your Nature Photography Business Through NANPA

Screenshot of a NANPA webinar. Is there a topic you're passionate about or an expert on?
Screenshot of a NANPA webinar. Is there a topic you’re passionate about or an expert on?

By Teresa Ransdell, NANPA Membership Director

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
–Tom Fishburne of the marketoonist

Are you using your NANPA membership to market your photography business? There are some obvious and some not-so-obvious ways to do so. If you’re not, you aren’t maximizing the return on your membership investment.

NANPA’s membership is about 50% professional nature photographers and 50% intermediate/advanced photographers taking nature photography pictures for the sheer joy it brings. Those enthusiast members, and even some of the part-time professionals, are very likely the target audience and potential customers for your business.

Start taking advantage of these member benefits to help build your credibility and gain new followers who may become some of your most loyal customers. The more benefits you use, the more often your name will be seen and the more “brand recognition” you’ll build.

Marketing’s “Rule of Seven”—the idea that a customer must see an ad seven times before making a purchase—is still an oft-quoted axiom. Some even argue that, in today’s crowded media space, simply “seeing” isn’t enough. Today, potential customers want to engage with a business before making a purchase. That’s why NANPA provides a mix of opportunities that can not only help you build name recognition but also allow you to interact with potential customers.  Carving out some time to put your name and business in front of nature photography enthusiasts creates a win-win scenario—an opportunity for professionals to develop a relationship with enthusiasts and enthusiasts to find professionals that can help them improve their nature photography skills and utilize their “hobby time” most efficiently.

Photo of a group of photographers in the winter snow at Yellowstone National Park. 2020 NANPA Regional Event in Yellowstone. Photo credit: Trent Sizemore
2020 NANPA Regional Event in Yellowstone. Photo credit: Trent Sizemore

Quick Hits

  1. Tag the images you post on Instagram with #NANPApix. Our curators select photos tagged #NANPApix to feature on NANPA’s account. If we choose your shot to feature, you’ll have the potential to be seen by our 15,000+ followers. Even if you aren’t selected for a feature, others who follow the #NANPApix hashtag will be able to see your post, which can attract new followers for you, too. 
  2. Submit your news to be included in our weekly NANPA News email and Facebook posts. Received an award or published a book? Featured on a magazine cover, published an article in a journal? Maybe you have an upcoming exhibit to share. We love amplifying members’ success stories. Our weekly email is distributed to more than 10,000 nature photographers, and more than 12,000 follow us on Facebook. Submit now.
  3. Download the “NANPA Member” logo and add it to your website, email footer or other promotional boilerplates to signal that you’re connected to a large community of nature photographers who are committed to conservation and responsible photography in the wild.  Download the logo/view guidelines.
  4. Submit information about your tour, workshop or online learning opportunity to NANPA’s Member-Led Events Calendar. Log into the Members’ Area of the NANPA website, click on the workshop leader profile form, and then copy/paste your bio, event information and URLs that will help those seeking travel and learning opportunities find you. Login now to share.
  5. Use NANPA’s monthly writing prompts to help save some time. Like a loyal marketing assistant, NANPA provides content suggestions and tips to help you create social media and blog posts or e-newsletter material to engage customers and followers online. Find the prompts each month in the Members’ Area of the NANPA website.

Medium Time Commitments Needed

  1. Demonstrate your expertise or areas of interest by authoring a NANPA blog post. What do you excel at that you can teach others? What have you experienced that other nature photographers would love to do, too? What tips can you offer based on a recent outing or project? Posts should be between 800 and 2,000 words and can be submitted to publications@nanpa.org. Exact reprints of material visible elsewhere on the web, such as your personal or professional blog, are not accepted for publication. See blog guidelines for more details.
  2. Host a Sip & Share networking event. Unlike a presentation or workshop, a Sip & Share is a casual conversation with a small group of nature photographers that share a common interest. As a host, or “conversation starter” as we call it, you show up on Zoom at the confirmed date/time and ask questions, share your own experiences, and encourage others to do the same. NANPA sets up the videoconference and finds other photographers interested in the topic you’ve chosen. Submit
    your proposed Sip & Share
    .
  3. Enter images into NANPA’s annual Showcase competition. Top 250 winners receive recognition and publicity in a variety of forms throughout and entire year. There are even cash prizes for the Top 24 winners. Showcase opens August 1st of each year. Learn more.
  4. Contact us about opportunities to host a takeover on NANPA’s Instagram account. We have a limited supply of week-long takeover opportunities—only 2-10 per year beyond Showcase Top 24 winners—but are always looking for photographers who are active on Instagram and may be interested in hosting one. Contact us to learn more.

Photo of a tablet that show a screen with NANPA's Member-Led Events Calendar
Member-Led Events Calendar

More Time, More Specialized Recognition

  1. Present a NANPA webinar. Another opportunity to demonstrate one of your strengths or areas of expertise, NANPA webinars are typically original or slightly revised PowerPoint presentations that allow you to introduce yourself to NANPA members, share your contact information, and present educational content. You’ll present it to a live audience at the designated date/time. NANPA will market the event, manage registration and participation, and also make a recording available on-demand to its members. Those interested in your topic will likely subscribe to your email list or follow you on social media and may seek you out for more information, services, or networking opportunities. This experience may make you more marketable for speaking/teaching opportunities at photo clubs, art centers, and other local venues. Submit webinar proposal.
  2. Pitch an article and photos for a future NANPA handbook. NANPA publishes downloadable handbooks featuring articles and images by members. Available for free to both members and the general public, these focused publications are often saved as reference material for nature photographers. Articles tend to be longer and more dense than typical blog posts. We don’t often take unsolicited material for handbooks, but check with NANPA to see if your idea fits with a publication topic being planned.
  3. Lead a NANPA Regional Event. While this requires the most time of any of the other benefits, it also includes a stipend and several opportunities to market your other events through NANPA. Leaders develop the itinerary for a specific area and send NANPA some copy and images that can be used in marketing efforts, and NANPA takes it from there. We do the marketing, permit filing (if needed), hotel arrangements and pre-event communications with registrants. Get more info or suggest a location and date for a regional event.

Other opportunities to help get your name in front of other nature photographers and build your credibility through NANPA will be available later this year. Take advantage of all that your membership offers you!

Want to keep a copy of this list handy? Download a copy of our checklist.

Teresa Ransdell headshotTeresa Ransdell has been working with NANPA’s membership for seven years and has a total of nearly 30 years of experience in association management, mostly in membership recruitment and retention. She earned her Certified Association Executive designation in 1998 and completed a Master’s program in nonprofit management. Teresa enjoys traveling, reading, walking her dog and spending time with her husband, daughter and son.