Home
Stories
Photogs
Favorites
more

How to build your portfolio to attract the right clients

and exactly how we do it

We can pretty much all agree that our portfolio is one of the most crucial parts of our business. Building it up though, is not always easy; but it’s also not impossible either.

KNow who your target market is

and what will attract them

As with any new business out there, it’s important to know WHO your target market is. Are they the adventurous, outdoorsy, boho type of people or are they more classic and contemporary? There are so many different markets out there and knowing which one you want to attract more of will really help you out.

example

Ask yourself the following question

"Who do I want to attract with my wedding photography?"

I want to attract couples who are outdoorsy, stylish, live near me  and can afford my prices

This is a very basic example with limited information – in your case, try and create this “person” with much more detail so it will better help you fine tune everything to meet their needs & attractions. 

Let's break it down

and analyse who these people could be and what is it about them that we can use to help create a portfolio to attract them. We know that they are outdoorsy, stylish, live close by and can afford us. great!

Below in the example, we are going to break down each piece of information.

outdoorsy

Wears outdoor brands

Goes skiiing, hiking & kayaking

Has / likes pets

Spends days outside

Likes to take pictures

Confident

etc…

stylish

Wears cool brands

Active on pinterest

Goes to events

Tattoos?

Grooming products

Active on instagram

etc…

Lives near me

Speaks the same language

Goes to restaurants i know

Has friends in the area

etc…

Can afford me

Has a decent job

Drives a car 

Has X level of education

Is employed / self-employed

etc…

Don’t over think these little descriptions. Let your mind & imagination be free and try and list as much as you can. If it feels like some are contradicting the other – create a new “person” and list those points there. The more the merrier.

Have you started to notice something? With breaking down WHO our target market is, we can now start to build products (or in this case, a portfolio) that will attract them. Right? 

 

Right! So this leads on perfectly to our next topic…

go out and create your portfolio

no excuses!

One of the best ways to build up a portfolio that not only attracts your ideal clients, but that you are proud of  – is to go out and create it yourself.

Taking into account who your target clients are, think about what will attract them in your pictures. Find a couple (ask friends and/or instagram), dress them up in a similar style to what your clients would like, take them somewhere cool (again, following your what we broke down above), create some epic images and share them everywhere on social media (especially the places you know where your clients hang out). If you want to go into the world of advertising, you now have a whole bunch of information that you can use to target them!

 

Rinse and repeat. 

The more fresh, beautiful content you can be putting out there that relates to your target clients – the better. It sounds so simple. And it is. 

 

The only thing that you need to overcome is that it is work. It’s not always easy, and especially in the beginning. But here’s a little secret that we all know… 

 

We all started somewhere. We all were lost at one point. We all made mistakes (big and small). And we got to where we are now just by being persistent. Constantly pushing ourselves to improve our skills, our style, developing our target clients and trying new ways to reach them. 

 

Below are just 2 examples of “styled” shoots we created to attract couples who would be into this sort of stuff

Great! So, how do we create these shoots?

where to find people and collaborators

Firstly, the easiest way to find someone to photograph for your portfolio is to ask friends & family. If that isn’t really an option or you have used them before, then you could always try reaching out on Instagram. 

 

Find a cool couple there that you like and is somewhat in your area and reach out to them. Butlisten up – 

 

Never be rude, creepy or send a copy/paste message. ever!

 

People can sense this a mile away. Be genuine and send a personlised message, even make yourself known by interacting on their feed for a bit before you reach out.

Secondly, as you doing this shoot for free (for your portfolio), you have to make sure that you are in charge. Of everything. 

 

You are in charge of the styling (clothes they wear), where the shoot happens and when it happens. Trust us when we say that leaving any of these three up to your couples is a bad idea. 

 

Finally, once you’ve got everything setup – go out and shoot! Make sure you bring a shoot plan with you with a bunch of shots that you want to get (grab some inspiration from instagram) and try your best to start creating these awesome photographs. 

example

You could approach someone like this…

“Hey (name)! We’ve been following you guys for a little while on instagram (insert personalisation) and absolutely love your style and way of being with each other. We’re looking at putting together a couple shoot to build our portfolio in (location) and wanted to know if you’d be keen to be “models” for us. Don’t worry – you don’t need any experience and in the end, you will of course get some pretty epic images of you two together. Let me know if this works for you and we can make a plan to set things up! Cheers (your name)

Make it personal. Talk about things you saw in their feed or comment on their latest post

Secondly, as you doing this shoot for free (for your portfolio), you have to make sure that you are in charge. Of everything. 

 

You are in charge of the styling (clothes they wear), where the shoot happens and when it happens. Trust us when we say that leaving any of these three up to your couples is a bad idea. 

 

Finally, once you’ve got everything setup – go out and shoot! Make sure you bring a shoot plan with you with a bunch of shots that you want to get (grab some inspiration from instagram) and try your best to start creating these awesome photographs. 

The many benefits of creating your own shoots

more than just building your portfolio

Besides the obvious benefit of building an awesome portfolio with images that you’re proud of and that are going to attract your clients, you’re going to meet a whole bunch of new people!

 

Whether thats through vendors who want to collaborate with you or simply just the couples that you meet. The more people you meet and leave a good impression on – the more they are likely to recommend you to their friends, family and fellow vendors. 

 

Another great part about this is that you also get so much more experience! By creating these shoots often, you are gaining so much experience behind the camera and this can only be a good thing. Especially if you push yourself to try new things and really try understand why it worked or didn’t work. 

share like a boss

get your stuff out there!

Market the heck out of your work. You’ve created something you are really proud of, make sure to bring it in front of people’s eyes.

 

Use Hashtags, tags, and even link the brands you’ve used with your couple’s styling as they are most likely on Instagram. It’s also where your target audience is probably shopping so if they see it and share it – extra brownie points for you.

 

Save your photos on Pinterest with a killer caption about the styling and the location. Alt tag your blog post with all the sweet sweet keywords and backlink to your brands and who knows? maybe they return the favour or even share your work on their social media.

 

And in case you’re lost as to where you can share your stuff – here’s a list:

Instagram

Pinterest

Your website (With Alt Tags)

Facebook Groups

Facebook Page

Reddit

Private Page

Tag the couple & vendors

 

and with that

we come to a close

Thank you so much for reading through this, and as we always do here on How I Shot This, we totally encourage discussions, comments, suggestions and sharing of your own tips & advice! 

[anycomment include="true"]