So you’re interested in personal branding photography and thinking about adding it to your list of services? But you don’t have a personal branding portfolio!
And if you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, then you know how much easier it is to sell something when you have a sample. Think: wedding albums, portrait albums, canvas, and prints.
The same thing goes for your portfolio. You have to be able to show what you can shoot. At least it helps A LOT to have samples of your capabilities.
Having a branding portfolio will help you attract your ideal clients as well as establish your credibility. If a client is investing in their brand photos with you, they need to see what you can create for them.
But maybe you’re thinking, I don’t have a portfolio and I don’t know how to get one started!
Brand photography is not a “new” thing. It’s always been there. It’s just been in the last 4-5 years that it’s really had a name assigned to it. Before, people might just refer to them as headshots, lifestyle headshots, or business and marketing photos. Branding photography encompasses all those things.
But you may be feeling like, I don’t have any brand photography work to show potential clients. How do I get started?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be complicated. And it doesn’t have to be extensive. In fact, I booked my first 4-figure personal branding photoshoot with only 2 branding specific shoots in my portfolio. And because every shoot is so different (small businesses can be anything!) you mainly need a starting point.
If you’re already a wedding and portrait photographer, then I’m guessing you have a good body of work that you can show potential clients. That being said, you don’t have to start over if you get into brand photography. However, you’ll probably want to shoot a few brand-specific shoots so that you can specifically show potential clients what you can do for them…beyond smiling photos.
Sometimes choosing a niche right off the bat can feel limiting or like you have to “choose the right one”. You don’t have to choose a specific industry, but it helps if you can create an ideal persona and once you get more clients under your belt, you can expand or contract that definition.
So that might look like “women business owners, between 35-55, building a personal brand, with 1:1 clients”. This definition both narrows and encompasses a specific group of people. It’s a nice starting point, particularly if you identify with this group well.
This is the fun part! This is your portfolio, so brainstorm ideas of what your ideal photoshoot looks like. There is no right or wrong answer. In fact, you can truly design what your dream shoot looks like. If that’s working with a floral designer, a life coach, a plumber…sky’s the limit!
Ask yourself this question: who is your dream client that you would love to shoot for?
Design a portfolio session with that person in mind – so that they can see themselves in that photoshoot…but for their own business.
How you go about building a branding portfolio is entirely up to you. You can do it for free, discounted, or full price. I think it just depends on how much you want to build your portfolio so that you can hit the ground running with brand photoshoots.
One of the easiest ways to get started with your brand portfolio, is to reach out to the businesses you already know. As a wedding and portrait photographer, I’m sure you know at least 3-5 businesses, if not more. This might be other wedding vendors, small businesses you collaborate with in your community, and more.
A great way to get your portfolio started in a jiffy is to create a personal project like what I like to call a “Networking Tour”. Use this opportunity to visit other small businesses in your area, feature them on your blog, shoot a few pictures, and share that with the business owner. This will help you introduce yourself to your community, start building relationships, and get your name out there.
Brand photos should tell the story of what the business owner does, who they do it for, and what makes them different from others in their industry. Brand photos do a lot. But remember that the main purpose of these photos is to help the business owner make more money at the end of the day.
Showcase what the business does and how they do it. People love to see a good behind the scenes photo that shows how it’s done, how its made, or what it takes to make or deliver the “thing”.
Think about how the business will use the photos. Are they promoting anything specific? Are they launching a new product or service? Do they have a new website on the horizon? These types of questions will help inform how you can create targeted photos that your clients will ACTUALLY use.
I hope these tips have given you some insight into how to get started with a branding portfolio so that you can start offering brand sessions ASAP if that’s your goal.
While you don’t need an extensive portfolio in order to book your first client (I didn’t have one!), it really helps to have something to reference when you’re getting started and sharing what brand photography is with a client.
Brand photography for women-owned businesses, I've got you covered!
I'm Catie! Brand photographer based in the North Dallas, Texas area.
I work with busy women CEOs who crave more than generic stock photos to promote their business. You want an effortless strategy to connecting with your ideal clients through personal branding photography.