Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

How to Boost Your Portfolio and Build Credibility

One of the predicaments many new photographers find themselves in is quite painful – they don’t have a robust portfolio of images to get new clients. Yet, they need new clients in order to fill their portfolio. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg type of situation, isn’t it?

In this post, I’d like to share a few ways to get high-quality, targeted images in your portfolio without having to bang your head on the wall.

 

Be Strategic About Your “Free Work”

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with doing a limited number of free sessions in order to begin to fill your portfolio. As long as you’re strategic about the process and limit the number of free sessions you offer, it can be a good way to kickstart your business.

Establish “normal” pricing

However, make sure you carry out this crucial step: determine your normal pricing beforehand and make sure to communicate it to the client you decide to do free work for. I would even recommend walking them through the normal contract and invoicing process, making it known up front in the documentation that they are getting a deep discount on a professional service that normally has a fee. This helps ensure when they spread the word about you to their friends, they will have your normal pricing in mind, as opposed to spreading the word that you are a “free photographer,” which can kill your business quickly.

Request a video testimonial

Also, since they’re getting a free session from you, consider asking for a marketing trade of sorts. Don’t be shy. In exchange for the complimentary photo session, you could ask for a video testimonial of how great the experience was (granted they actually enjoyed their session).  Or you could ask them to become an informal ambassador for you, recommending you to their friends and family when the topic of photography comes up. Or they can post about you on social media or leave a positive review on your Facebook page.

Throw a Portrait Party

For the brave, a portrait party is a great way to both build a portfolio in a day and bring in some income while you’re at it. In order to attract clients, you can offer a mini session type of price, and be sure to market your portrait party towards the type of clients you want to work with. Having a portfolio full of relevant, well-done images goes a long way towards attracting similar clients in the future.

However, keep in mind that even with a portrait party, there will be a limit to how many sessions you can fit in (and be sure to mention this when you spread the word about it). There are many benefits to strategic portrait party, and it’s a great way to launch a photography business.

Tip:  Your “Behind the Scenes” Footage is Powerful Too

As you begin getting your feet wet with photo sessions, be sure to get some behind the scenes footage to build your credibility. For your photo sessions or even your portrait party, have an assistant document the evening with photo and video so that you can later post that material on social media and your website. While your photography portfolio should be powerful in and of itself, this additional behind the scenes footage can be just as powerful in convincing potential clients that you are the photographer to work with. As they watch footage of you interacting with happy clients, it allows them to insert themselves into their shoes.

There are no excuses for not getting BTS

By the way, not having an assistant is no excuse. Simply ask your client beforehand if they don’t mind you taking a few “candid” photos of them getting settled into their portrait chair. Or you could even flip your DSLR to video and take some fun, informal video of your client interacting with the camera. You can even ask them questions about themselves for a fun informal interview, which you can later post on your website and social media.

A Few Final Thoughts

As you fill your portfolio with images, be sure you are only showing  THE BEST images on your website. As tempting as it will be to show every single image that you are emotionally tied to, vomiting excessive images onto your online portfolio will only serve to dilute the impression you make. Even if you only have a dozen strong images to show, display them as large as you can, and proudly. More will come with time.

Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

You might also like:

Thanks to our partners who make Photofocus possible:

Drobo – Drobo is the smartest storage solution in the world. Drobo is storage that protects data — photos, videos and everything else — from hard drive failure. Drobo is peace of mind for the working pro or serious amateur who have a lot of external drives cluttering up the desktop. Save 10% with the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS.

Lume Cube – Proudly known as the World’s Most Versatile Light™, Lume Cube represents the future of LED Lighting. Check out the new Lume Cube STROBE, offering anti-collison lighting for drones!

Backblaze – Get peace of mind knowing your files are backed up securely in the cloud. Back up your Mac or PC just $6/month.

B&H – B&H is a world renowned supplier of all the gear photographers, videographers, and cinematographers need and want to create their very best work.

Skylum – Your photos, more beautiful in minutes. Makers of Luminar, Aurora and Photolemur, Skylum adapts to your style and skill level. Check out the new Luminar 3, now available.

Perfectly Clear Complete – Built for precision. Made for beauty. Perfectly Clear has mastered the science of intelligent image correction – creating superior quality photos in record time, so you can get back to doing what you really love…in no time. Special Photofocus deal here.

Viewbug – Learn and improve your photography with over 500 videos. Trusted by millions around the world, join over 2 million photographers who already use Viewbug.