Someone asked me a great question in my photography business class the other week; it was about how someone should go about advertising weddings when they had never shot a wedding before. You can read all about that here. Anyways, it got me thinking and lead me to this blog post about Portfolio Building.
I see a lot of photographers portfolio building but not creating work that they love themselves and instead trying to use portfolio building as a way to build their client base. I can see how that is confusing so let me write it out like this before explaining it further:
Portfolio Building is NOT here for you to build your client list. Portfolio Building is here for you to create work that INSPIRES YOU. Which in the long run help you book MORE clients.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOOT
You will never attract your dream client if you are not shooting what inspires you personally. You should be excited to shoot sessions; they should line up with your vision.
"I know what I want my sessions to be like, but no one is ever booking me for it!".
I hear this ALL the time. You have a vision in your head of something that inspires you, something you want to show the world, but there's one problem.
NO ONE, who is currently booking you for your session is up for it or don't want it. Instead, you have people booking you what you have shown since starting your business. You need to get out there and SHOW the world what you want to do. You only attract what you put out there. If no one sees that vision in your head, no one will book you for it. You have to create it, show it, and then find clients that want that exact thing. This is where your style lines with what your customers love. This is how you separate yourself from the other 100 photographers in your town. Don't get stuck in shooting the same thing over and over again if it doesn't inspire you. The secret to successful portfolio building starts with you figuring out what it is you want to create.
DO A CASTING CALL
Utilize social media and put out a casting call. Be specific in what you are looking for. The goal is for you to create a session that inspires you and finding the right people for that session is crucial. I usually put a casting call out on Facebook and Instagram and then wait for people to contact me.
Once you have a list of potential models to use for your session choose the one that fits into your styled session the best.
Shoot your portfolio session. Remember, this is 100% for you to create something you'd like to show in your portfolio. Have fun while shooting and don't be scared to try something new. Portfolio sessions are there for you to learn, experiment and try something new. This is not a session for a client; this is a session for yourself.
SHOW NEW WORK
Once the portfolio shoot is complete make sure to share it on your blog and on social media. You have to show your work to find clients who love it and are willing to book a session with you.
BOOK MORE CLIENTS BASED ON NEW WORK
Now that you have completed your portfolio session the goal is to book more clients based off your new portfolio. Anytime I shoot a session for myself where I want to try something new I shoot it for free. I also know that if I can pull together the vision that is in my head and show people what I'd like to do, I can book more sessions. Anytime I shoot for myself, I end up booking a lot more clients because of it.
CONTINUE TO DEVELOP YOUR STYLE
Your style might change throughout your entire photography career. As long as you take time to shoot what inspires you-you'll be able to continue to grow as a photographer. Never stop learning.
Now get out there and create some magic!