Tips for After Your First Portrait Portfolio Building Session by Pamela Topping
Yesterday I discussed 7 tips for your 1st portfolio building session. Today I will give you some more ideas on what to do after you photograph your 1st “big shoot.”
1. Learn from Your Photos
Examining your images is the best way to develop your talent. Assess both technical and creative aspects of your photos. Vital technical elements are proper focus, exposure, composition, contrast and temperature. Likewise, significant creative components include emotional appeal, story telling and the overall message behind the capture. Additionally, post in a photography forum for critique because fellow peers with a trained eye offer the ideal feedback to grow as a photographer. However, do not let negative comments discourage you. Remember that art is subjective and rarely results in consensus.
2. Choose Compelling Images
Keep your portfolio consistent by displaying your best work only. Sharing fewer images is more desirable than throwing in mediocre captures with rockstar photos. This way, prospective clients gain confidence in your abilities and book sessions.
Make your portfolio easy to navigate by avoiding black & white copies of each color photo. Show a variety of both, but keep your galleries interesting and refrain from repeating photos.
Equally important, consider your target market. If your niche is portraits for children, do not post wedding photos.
3. Showcase Your Work
Word of mouth is the most effective way to boost popularity. In addition to uploading watermarked web-sized images to client galleries, post the session on social networks and tag your clients in the photos. Since an online presence often generates more clients, feature your best images from the session on a blog post.
4. Price Yourself Accordingly
The ideal time to put together your portfolio is after mastering your camera. At this point, the process of building a business begins. The optimal scenario is informing clients of regular session and product pricing while offering discounted portfolio building rates. Advertising an expiration date for the reduced prices prevents clients from experiencing sticker shock.
The economics principle of opportunity cost explains the reason behind charging while portfolio building. Your time is worth the amount you could be making elsewhere, contingent upon the opportunity. Doing unpaid work is costing you money that you could be making at a paid job. Similarly, since product value is correlated with money, clients are more likely to appreciate a digital portfolio package when they pay for it.
Enjoy this new stage in your photography career. Spark your creative vision. Love, laugh and photograph!
Pamela Topping is a bilingual natural light portrait photographer and USC alum. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three year old daughter.