How to Get Started with Paid Ads in 2021



What I love about paid ads is that they can very directly target your ideal client. Back in the day, advertisers would purchase a billboard or ad in the paper to reach the masses. A small % of those people would be their ideal client. But nowadays with social media and smart algorithms, these platforms can get really specific and show your ad only to the right people who are likely to hire you. Super cool right??

They also speed up your results. You’re not waiting for people to find YOU, YOU are finding them!



First, a warning before we get started:

A big mistake I see photographers make with paid advertising is that they jump in too soon. For ads to work their best, you need to have a marketing system in place that is working!

We talked about this in the business audit episode titled, Why is your Marketing Not Working?, so if you need to find out if your business is ready for paid ads, go listen to that episode (after this one of course!)


In a nutshell, if what you’re doing to market your business is working but you just need more people into your world – you’re probably ready for paid ads. Your marketing system needs to be running and working!


The reason I’m bringing this up, is because it’s easy to waste a lot of money on ads if you’re not ready for them yet. It’d be like paying to drive traffic to your website, but your contact form is broken. You’re getting the website visitors, but they can’t book with you! It’s the same with a broken piece in your marketing system.




I think when I talk about paid ads, a lot of people assume that I’m talking about Facebook ads. And I definitely am talking about Facebook ads, that’s a big part of our paid advertisement. You can see Facebook ads in your news feed, in Messenger, in Facebook Stories. But one thing that a lot of people might not know is that sometimes you are scrolling through a blog, then you’ll see an ad in the middle of the blog—a lot of times, that comes from Facebook! Facebook ads can pop-up in apps as well. Facebook ads are shown in a lot of places aside from Facebook.

We also use Instagram ads, of course. And now, Instagram is owned by Facebook, so you run Instagram and Facebook ads at the same time in Facebook Ads Manager. With Instagram, you can run ads in the feed and in stories as well.

So, this is something that we’ve been doing for years both in The Beauty in Birth and Tavia Redburn Photography. But one thing that I have noticed is that these have become more expensive in recent years, and in an attempt not to put all my eggs into one basket, I’ve been looking at other ways to run paid ads online and I wanted to also bring those to your attention too.

Youtube ads is one thing I want to be looking into, because I think it was some sort of an untapped market right now.

For Google Adwords, we’ve always had pretty good SEO, especially Tavia Redburn Photography. It pops up on page 1 for everything we want it to pop up for. But if your website isn’t yet, you could and should consider Google Adwords.

Tiktok ads are becoming more prevalent and I definitely see a blue ocean there. There’s not a lot of competition there.


The principles we’re talking about today will apply to all those types of ads!



1. Choose a Platform

When it comes to choosing a platform, I want you to ask yourself: Where is your ideal client hanging out already? Start there!



2. Determine: What is my goal for the ad?

I know the end goal of course is “more clients,” but let’s get a bit more specific.

When you think about your marketing system – where do you need more eyes on your work? Where do you need more traffic?

  • If you’re getting good engagement on your social media posts (1-3% of your total followers), maybe you need more people to see them!

  • If you’re getting people to opt in for your freebie and join your email list, maybe you just need more people to see that page, right?

  • If your contact form has a high conversion rate (meaning when people land on that page, they contact you about a session), maybe you just need more people to that page!


Using ads is a way to accelerate something that’s already working. It’s NOT a quick fix to force something that is broken to work.



3. Test Your Ads

One of the best ways to get more people to opt in or become a client through paid ads is A/B testing your ads. A/B testing is otherwise known as split-testing. Basically, it lets you test two versions of the same ad against each other to see which one performs better.

Let’s take Facebook ads for example. There are 3 main things to test:

  • Image
  • Copy
  • Audience

To test, you want to keep 2 of these the same but change up the other. For example:

  • The image & audience are the same, but you change up the wording of the ad.

    The best part about this form of marketing strategy is that it gives you an answer! The audience and the image were the same for these two ads, but I changed up the headline. So now, when you look at how each of the ads are performing, you know that the only variable is the headline, and you know which headline is performing better. Not like when you have different images, different audiences, and different headlines, you wouldn’t know what it is about that that made the difference.

  • Just choose one thing to test at a time. For example: “which headline will convince more users to sign up?” or “which photo will people like better?”


I would never run ads without split testing. This is a great way of finding out which content works best for your audience. And I’ve noticed for me, what I think people are going to like is actually different from what they actually like! Make sure to do this the next time you run ads!

Another key part of testing your ads is leaving them alone for AT LEAST 3 days. I know (TRUST ME , I know) it can be tempting to want to change things after a few hours, but it’s important to give the algorithm time to do its job and find your right people with the ad! The longer the ad runs, the more data the algorithm or the AI has about how people are responding to that ad.


4. Write the Ad

Maybe you’ve been here: You pick out your perfect audience to deliver the ad to and you selected a beautiful photo… now what do you SAY in the ad, right? I’ve absolutely been there myself!

Where photographers get it wrong is (because it’s an ad) they turn into this robot grammar machine and the wording in the ad is stale or doesn’t sound at all like the author in real life!

So my advice here is to write the ad like you would write a social media post! What would you say if you were posting this on Facebook or in an IG story? Make it casual, valuable, and with a clear CTA.

There are benefits to paid and free traffic, for sure. I don’t think one takes priority over the other, but most photographers don’t fully understand how to use social media ads. And I’ll admit, they CAN be confusing so most people give up on learning it or hire someone else to do it for them (which can be thousands per month). So when you conquer learning about paid ads online, you’ll absolutely have another advantage over your competition!



Episode 49: How to Create a High-Touch Experience for Your Clients to Get More Referrals

Episode 50: 6 Ways to Make Extra $2k-$3k in Your Photography Business in 30 Days

Episode 51: 6 Easy Steps to Create Authentic Testimonials (So You can Book More Photography Clients in 2021)

Episode 52: Why is Your Marketing Not Working? Listen Up If You Have No Idea What’s Wrong!

Episode 53: Simple Ways to Improve Your Money Mindset

Episode 54: How to Get Started with Paid Ads in 2021



If you know that you are supposed to be a birth photographer, but you get tripped up with all the ‘what ifs’ that come along with photographing such a big day, The Beauty in Birth Certification Course for Birth Photographers is currently open for enrollment!

Inside the certification, you are going to learn:

  • How to set up your business to become the go-to professional birth photographer
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  • Learn how to craft stunning birth images
  • Learn how to post-process images to give your clients the best results

    PLUS, $2000-worth of bonuses including The Beauty in Birth’s Birth Photography Model Call Process so that you can book up to 5 photography clients in 30 days. 


To know more about the course, go to



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More and more photographers are now realizing that using paid ads is a great strategy to find your ideal client easily and quickly. But, getting started with paid ads can be a daunting project, especially when you’re new to it. In this episode, you’re going to learn where to run paid ads online, how to maximize the money you’re spending and my secret strategy for writing the ad itself.

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having an awesome and relaxing summer with your family!

Ok so, I have a question: are you on TikTok? I’ve been spending time the last few weeks learning TikTok. I have been on as a consumer since early 2020, but I’ve committed to posting daily over there. If you’re on TikTok, come hang out with me @taviaredburn!

If you want to learn how to get done-for-you workflow e-mails for your clients, listen up. I’m giving away our BRAND NEW e-mail templates for photographers to someone who leaves our show a review by August 3rd. The e-mail templates will be fully written and customizable to walk your client through the entire on-boarding process. From right after they book with you until their session is complete. If you need help giving your clients an amazing experience, this set of email templates is for you. This is a $97 value so to enter to win just leave this show an honest review by August 3, 2021. If you need help leaving a review, head over to



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