So, you want to be a photographer, do you? Earning money taking photos of people that they’ll cherish forever, with absolute joy; and tapping into your creative soul, making you the true artist you are? Well, what are you waiting for? Ah, of course. To get that work you have to show that you can do it. Well then, here are four sure-fire ways on how to build a photography portfolio when you don’t have any clients yet.

Offer free shoots

Whatever your niche, you need models to capture the kind of images you want to show on your website and social media, so that you can start booking your perfect clients. 

Make use of your friends and family. I’m sure plenty would jump at the chance of free photographs, especially great quality ones. So, start asking! 

Once that supply runs dry, head to Facebook and reach out through local groups. You could even offer one or two free sessions as a giveaway – building your portfolio as well as gaining some valuable recognition in your area. (But remember, shooting for your portfolio is different than just doing free work. Make sure you are choosing subjects and sessions that fit within your targeted niche. This is crucial to building a photography portfolio that will be useful to your business.)

Second shooting

Photographers are never in short supply. I’m sure there are at least a few in your area you’ve already admired. So, what about volunteering yourself as a second shooter when they are working on shoots of their own? Ask if you can tag along to take some shots for your own portfolio and to learn from them. 

Truthfully, not every photographer will take up your offer as they may already be mentoring others, but don’t be disheartened. Remember that, while you may be looking to get something out of a partnership like this, you need to be putting into it as well, so be genuine and helpful and you’ll find the right photographers who will want to help you build a photography portfolio.

Create a styled shoot

If there’s a particular style of shoot you want to capture and show in your portfolio, why not create it yourself? Contact local vendors whose work you admire. Again, this is about collaboration so you could offer them the images for free in return for their skills or services. 

Photography workshops

With plenty of photographers around, photography workshops are also plentiful. These are a great way of not only building a portfolio, as they usually incorporate a shoot, but they are also a fantastic learning tool, in both photography and running a business. They’re even a wonderful way to make new like-minded friends too.

The thought of parting with money at this early stage might seem a little scary, but what you learn is absolutely invaluable, so they are well worth the expense if you choose your workshop wisely. Read more about my upcoming Spring 2020 workshop opportunity HERE.

Ultimately the main goal, in these early stages, is to practice as much as possible. The more photographs you take, the better you will become. By constantly shooting and reviewing and learning, you will fine-tune your skills and, eventually, your business too, and build an awesome portfolio along the way!