Portfolio building is so important when it comes to building a photography business. I am currently in the process of doing so. I came across a fellow photographer while browsing online one night. Her name is Rachel Brenke. She is based out of El Paso, TX and not only is she a photographer, but a lawyer, author, and a mom among other things. Can you say Superwoman?! Portfolio building is just that—the building of your portfolio by gathering up examples of your work for others to see. As Rachel mentioned, this is crucial and even essential for newer photographers, like myself. If new photographers on the business scene are going to make anything of themselves, we will need examples of our work as a small way of proving that you know what you're doing.
I am not trying to copy her blog post here, but rather point out what she had written using it as a springboard and add my own input. You can surely read her blogpost here. So what did Rachel have to say about portfolio building? Here goes it:
1. You should portfolio build because You will attract more clients.
This is the most obvious of the points. If you have a portfolio to show, people will talk (in a good way) about you and you will gain clients. Clients are important, and all you need is one to get started because if that one friend has "1,000 local friends, The chances of getting at least look-sees at your page are phenomenal." People will ultimately see your pictures, like what they see and you'll book clients. Obviously this isn't an overnight job and it'll take time for you to see progress but ultimately, if you have tags, sharing, referrals and even incentives, you'll begin to see things turn out for the better.
2. You should portfolio built to attract a Newer Market of Clients
If you build your portfolio properly, you may be able to pull in a newer market of clients. Maybe you wanted to try something that you haven't done before as far as shooting is concerned and perhaps you want to try it out. In your portfolio building- that is the time to do it. That way, you'll be able to see what feedback and response you get from potential clients and see where that can lead. I would definitely say with this, to be careful not to go too far out and stray away from what your niche is and what your brand is all about.
3.You should portfolio build by Staying Creatively Fresh
Just like writers get writer's block so can a photographers feel "creatively dry" as Rachel put it. Find a idea and roll with it and express your creativity. I think a brilliant quencher for those dry moments would be creatively themed shoots. Gather up some of your photogenic friends, props, costumes, etc. and get creative! I came across a blog post one day, sadly I don't remember whose, but they had a Downton Abbey themed shoot, together with a couple other photographers they just had fun with lighting, posing, executions, etc. It was a chance for their creative juices to flow and take a break from the routine type of shoots.This is also a great way to fill those down times between shooting seasons or as for newer photographers (on the business side) to have material for their portfolios.
OK, So how do we do all of this in 5 quick ways? Let's see what Rachel had to say:
1. Put out a casting call. This can be through social media like blogs, Twitter, Facebook—even Craigslist ads or other online classifieds can be a good avenue.
2. Ask your friends to be your models.
3. Attend shoot outs with photography groups ( I'll even ad to this being a second-shooter for someone—just make sure to get permission to use the photos you take with your own camera, in your portfolio)
4.Donate your services—Maybe your church or local organization is having a small banquet and are in need of a photographer but it isn't in the budget, this is an open opportunity for you.
5. Business cards!! Start leaving them everywhere (not literally though). Drop one in the business card fishbowl at your local coffee shop, ask to put one up on the community board of your town center, you get the picture.
For a little more information on this subject check out her blog post-it's good stuff.