I know that sounds harsh, but anything you could do that might possibly bring in business now will, in the long run, hurt your business. Things like lowering your price, offering unlimited rights for the price of a year of web use, or shooting (heaven forbid!) on spec, might possibly get someone in your door today, but when the market turns for the better, you will be known as the place to go to get it cheap.
Thing is, the clients that might come to your door for such deals are going to be lousy clients usually. They will be demanding, difficult, show up late, want it yesterday, and pay slowly. Trust me on this, I’ve seen it too many times. They will not respect you, your skills, and certainly not your vision. You will be a camera with a heartbeat to these clients.
When they have better budgets, these cheap and difficult clients will go after “better” photographers. It happens in every downturn. It’s like the old story of the wife who puts her husband through med school only to get dumped for the trophy wife when the money comes in. Don’t let this happen to you.
A better way to spend this slow time is to market for the future. The economy will get better and clients will need great images. Work on your portfolio, explore your vision, play creatively, develop a long-term marketing plan–these steps will do you more good overall than some panic-driven photo fire sale.
And this doesn’t mean you can’t help out clients you have long relationships with. There is nothing wrong with working together where there is mutual respect. But going fishing by offering sales and deals to try to bring in new work is not a smart plan. Think long term and your business will the better for your efforts.