How does your portfolio look?
Your portfolio should be helping you attract your ideal clients.
Today, I’m going to share with you how to market your photography business with an epic, stunning curated portfolio. I’m going to walk you through step by step the decisions that you need to make and the things that you need to be focused on in order to attract your ideal clients and make them want to hire you. So let’s get into it.
Step #1: Choose a Niche
I have an entire podcast episode on choosing your niche, it’s Episode 72, The Power of Niching Down. I hear a lot that the market for photography is saturated, which I would agree. That’s why it’s so important that you have a niche to your photography. So that you can instantly be known for the photography that you do. Now, this is one incredible way that you can stand out in a sea of photographers. That way, when someone is looking for the type of photography that you do, instead of kind of thumbing through all the photographers that do everything, they think of you because you specialize. It’s also really cool when you niche down because you’re able to charge more as you’re an expert in that specific niche of photography.
Step #2: Show What you Want to Shoot
This is a fun one that I think a lot of newer photographers sort of don’t embrace, or maybe don’t realize that they should be doing. Even seasoned photographers I think can sometimes forget about this too. I want you to blog about and post photos on social media that are only your absolute favorite sessions. Yes, you might be thinking like, oh my gosh! I have so many clients that are not my ideal clients. That happens when you’re starting out, but the goal here is you want to curate your ideal clients as fast as possible.
I also have an episode all about Identifying and Attracting your Ideal Client and that’s Episode 73. Both Episodes 72 & 73 are really great episodes for you to check out, to help you home in on who it is that you want to shoot. But while you are waiting for attracting those ideal clients, it’s still so important that you’re only showing what you want to shoot. Say for instance you want to specialize in weddings, but you’re getting tons of family sessions. Don’t post your family sessions as those are the types of clients that you’re going to start attracting. I have two tips below that can help you if you’re not getting what you want to shoot.
Tip #1 Participate in a Styled Shoot
Now where I live, there is a Facebook group specifically for Arizona styled shoots, this could be something that you search for in your area. I am sure that there is at least some sort of photography group in your area where you can ask people if there’s a specific group for styled shoots. If not, you can ask if anybody is setting one up. These shoots can range anywhere from $100-$300 to participate in. The person who produces this shoot is responsible for hiring the models and networking with vendors who will provide the furniture, décor and other things for the shoot. Then they will let in a certain number of photographers, like 10 or so and then everybody can kind of rotate through the various stations set up for the shoot.
You want to be very particular about which ones that you do participate in. If you can’t find any that are already done, create your own!
Set up your own style shoot or go in on it with a friend or two.
This is a really great way, especially if you’re in the wedding industry, to network with other vendors who are at a similar stage of business as you. Because they want to get portfolio images as well and they want to get exposure as well. So, this is a really great collaboration opportunity for you.
If you don’t want to do weddings, you want to do seniors, maternity, newborn, you could set up the same type of styled shoot. Catered to your ideal client and the images that they would they want. I would advise against doing model calls. That has become popular with newer photographers and I don’t want you to get stuck with whoever responds to your model call. I would recommend that you find a couple or a family or your ideal client on Instagram or Facebook who has the look that you’re going for. That’s a really great way for you to gain the type of portfolio curated images that you are looking for.
You have to also be very careful that you don’t get into the habit of only shooting for free. I recommend doing this maybe a few times and getting those solid, curated portfolio images, and then being done. You don’t want to get known as that photographer who’s always looking for someone to shoot for free. That just makes you look desperate and it doesn’t make you look like you know what you’re doing.
Tip # 2: Create a Shot List
The next tip I have for you here is to create a shot list for your shoot, so that you can have the marketing images that you need for your website or social media.
- Close ups of your subject
- Detail shots
- Pulled back wide shots
Diversify your photos a little bit, so that you’re not always doing close ups and then your whole feed ends up looking exactly the same. Be very particular and intentional about what photos you’re looking for to get the most from your session. When you are showcasing your images, on either Facebook or Instagram, share multiple photos from the session.
You want to create an album on your Facebook page that has 10 to 20 stand out images from their session and create a story as you go through. That way people feel like they’re there with you. One of the biggest mistakes that photographers can make is just posting only one or two from the session. It doesn’t give people enough to envision themselves in that session and that’s exactly what you want to do. To create that feeling that people are going to want to book you after they’ve just seen that sample of images.
Step #3: Curate the Best Images for Your Website
Now, while we’re on this note, I think it’s really important that you update the portfolio on your website at least once a month. If you are not super busy and you don’t have enough sessions, maybe once every other month. You want to showcase the best of the best on your website. Your website should be an amazing first impression, it shouldn’t be a last resort. The worst thing that you can do is tell a client to check your Instagram page as your website is outdated. Get into the habit of curating that portfolio and refreshing it every single month.
Don’t just show one to two of the best photos from each photo session. Curate a couple of standout sessions showing about 10 to 15 images each and create little sub galleries for those. You want to show to people that you know what you’re doing, and you can consistently deliver incredible images. Not just a few.
Remember to show diversity with shooting from different angles, like close ups, details, pulled back, etc. But also show off multiple lighting situations. If you are a natural light photographer, then show your natural light stuff. However, if you’re a wedding photographer, you should show photos with natural light and the reception photos with flash. Showing off the diversity of how you shoot will give you a leg up against the competition who’s too afraid to show those photos. Then also showcase different people’s ethnicities on your portfolio. If you don’t have different ethnicities, then that should be one of your styled shoots. Getting some of that diversity into your portfolio will really help you stand out among the competition.
All right, Mama, how are you feeling about curating your portfolio? Let me walk you through those three steps again to create the portfolio that will help market your photography business.
- Step #1 :Choose your niche. What type of photography are you going to be known for?
- Step #2: Show what you want to shoot.
- Step #3: Curate the best of the best on your website and make sure it’s up to date all the time.
As always, Mama, I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.