This is my FAVORITE thing to talk about! I have been in business for about 5 years and have been portfolio building all along the way! Want to see my first ever one?
This session taught me that I can’t just show up to a shoot, I have to have poses and direction! Who knew?! From the beginning I knew there were things I needed to learn and there was only one way to do that. Practice! But we don’t want to practice with paying clients. The key is to be very specific about what you want to practice. You need to know ahead of time what you are looking to achieve so you can coach your model families (they don’t have to be actual models). You pick the location, time of day, and even help with their outfits.
Like I mentioned in my social media post, instagram is where you show what you love and want to shoot more of. Portfolio building is all about practice, and creating content for you to show. Almost all of my best performing Instagram posts have been from portfolio building sessions. yup. And those sessions shared have always brought in at least one paying client.
Portfolio building is also the best way to location scout. I don’t ever shoot places that I haven’t been at least once with a “practice” family.
Do I have to do it for free? Nope. If you are portfolio building to build your business, set a rate! Decide what you want to make, then offer a deal for portfolio building sessions. I always recommend setting the price you want to be making, and offering discounts off of that rate until you are booking from your website without the deals. I started at $50 and went up in $100 increments as my work improved and demand went up.
Ok ready for your challenge? If you want to be a full time photographer and are not shooting at least once a week, you need to add portfolio building to your schedule. To both improve your shooting and bring in paying clients you NEED to be shooting at least once a week.
So, how do you find families to shoot for free or reduced rate? One, ask your fiends! The key here is being clear about what exactly you are looking for. Are you wanting to shoot a more candid/lifestyle session? Make sure you communicate that. Advertise on social media, and then be picky about you pick for your session. Two, search social media! I have found many influencers/local mommas via Instagram to work with.
Does that help? If you end up trying this for the first time please tag or DM me!