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How to Build A Portfolio That Will Get You Booked

This post is part of the series, The Ultimate Guide To Being A Wedding Photographer — advice for running a successful wedding photography biz. Click here to view a list of all the posts in this series.

Tips to take your wedding photography portfolio to the next level and book your dream client. Business and branding tips for photographers. Small business, portfolio building, branding, marketing for photographers #portfolio #portfoliobuilding #photographer #photobiz #marketing #branding

Yesterday I was talking about How To Book Your Ideal Client, and today I’m diving even deeper, helping you craft a portfolio that attracts that Ideal Client.

So if you haven’t already, go read yesterday’s post about Booking Clients You Love (That Love You Back), fill out your free Ideal Client Avatar worksheet — and then pop right back here to get going on crafting your perfect portfolio!

Tips to take your wedding photography portfolio to the next level and book your dream client. Business and branding tips for photographers. Small business, portfolio building, branding, marketing for photographers #portfolio #portfoliobuilding #photographer #photobiz #marketing #brandingShoot. Shoot. Shoot.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or a total wedding photography newbie, you need to be busy shooting and constantly updating that portfolio.

If you are totally new to the wedding game, you can start building your portfolio by second shooting for more established photographers. (Check out this post for everything you need to know about second shooting! >>)

But, even if you’re not a newbie — if you’ve been shooting for years, you can still work as a second shooter.

Maybe you’ve got a few open dates on your calendar that you’d really like to fill. Reach out to some other wedding photographers in your area and see if they need a second shooter for those days!

You’ll gain valuable knowledge by shadowing another photographer, stay on top of your skills, grow your portfolio, and even earn some extra dough. Win, win, win, win!

Another option is to produce your own styled shoots (which I’ll be talking about more in a later post!), to keep growing your portfolio. You can work with other vendors to produce really elaborate shoots — or just do a small model call on your own.

Tips to take your wedding photography portfolio to the next level and book your dream client. Business and branding tips for photographers. Small business, portfolio building, branding, marketing for photographers #portfolio #portfoliobuilding #photographer #photobiz #marketing #brandingCurate

You know you need to be shooting to be booking clients… that shouldn’t really come as any surprise. The busier you look, the more in-demand you’ll appear to potential clients.

So what do you do with all those images you just shot?

This is where I see a lot of photographers get into trouble.

You need to curate.

You actually need to be pretty ruthless.

By now you should have filled out your Ideal Client Avatar worksheet. (Seriously, if you haven’t, go do it right now >>)

So you know, and I mean really know, who your Ideal Client is.

Awesome!

But that wedding you just shot? Maybe it wasn’t your Ideal Client.

Maybe it was baby’s breath, burlap, and mason jars in a rustic barn. But your Ideal Client’s wedding is designer gown in an art gallery.

That’s okay. You’re hustling hard, bring home the bacon, making your dream a reality. And that deserves a big “You Go Girl!!”

BUT… (and you knew there was gonna be a but), those images probably don’t belong on your website.

And this is where it gets hard.

Because you shot those photos, and you brought your A-game to that wedding. You really love those photos. You even really loved that couple, and maybe you secretly liked those burlap-covered mason jars… just a little. 

Listen, there’s nothing wrong with your photos, with that couple, or with that wedding.

But they don’t belong in your carefully curated portfolio. Because they’re not going to attract your Ideal Client. In fact, they’re going to drive them away.

If I’m your dream bride and I’m planning my designer-gown, art gallery wedding, and I land on your website… I’m going to click away as soon as I see those other wedding images. That’s not what I want, and I’m going to look for what I do want. I don’t care how good those photos are… I won’t be looking at that. I’ll be looking for a photographer who can capture my wedding.

So be ruthless. Cull and curate.

The thing is, you don’t need a ton of photos in your portfolio. 10-30 is ideal.

But those 10-30 need to be amazing. And your Ideal Bride should be able to picture herself in every. single. one.

If she can’t, cut it.

Tips to take your wedding photography portfolio to the next level and book your dream client. Business and branding tips for photographers. Small business, portfolio building, branding, marketing for photographers #portfolio #portfoliobuilding #photographer #photobiz #marketing #brandingShare

Now that you’ve curated the perfect portfolio, that your Ideal Client will fall in love with… what do you do with it?

You share it.

And you share it a lot.

The most obvious, and very first place is your website. I’m going to go into way more detail about websites in tomorrow’s post. But bottom line is, you have to have one. It’s not optional.

And Facebook, Instagram, or any other social sharing platform doesn’t count. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional photographer, then you need your own professional website.

Now, let’s talk about Facebook, Instagram, and all those other social sharing platforms. They’re great places to ALSO share your portfolio! (But your main online portfolio needs to be your website).

You should be sharing your portfolio on social media, and linking back to your website to have them get more information.

Instead of trying to be an ace at every single platform (because that can get overwhelming, fast!) pick one or two and really rock them. Since you’ve already nailed down your Ideal Client Avatar, you’ll know which social media platforms they’ll be hanging out on!

In addition to your website and social media accounts, here are some other places to share your portfolio:

  • Your Blog | If you aren’t already blogging at least once a week, you need to be. It’s great for SEO and even better for building for building a following of loyal fans! Don’t think you have anything to blog about? Well you do, and later in this series, I’m going to help you with that!
  • Your Space | Where do you meet with clients? Do you have your own studio? Then make sure it’s filled with your favorite portfolio pieces! If you are meeting with clients at a coffee shop, think of how you can bring your portfolio with you — like having a slideshow of your work on an iPad at your table!
  • Your Branded Pieces | I help my branding clients create printed marketing pieces that perfectly attract their own ideal clients. These include things like postcards, fliers, client welcome kits, style guides, and media kits. They are a great place to show off your portfolio! Click here to learn more about the Moriah Riona Branding Experience >>

There you have it, friend! By staying busy shooting, but also being selective about the images you share, you’ll start attracting your Ideal Client.

So, here’s your task for today: go through your website and pull out any images that wouldn’t make your Ideal Client think “that’s MY wedding photographer!”

And when you’re done come back here and leave me a comment with your website — I can’t wait to see it!!

Tips to take your wedding photography portfolio to the next level and book your dream client. Business and branding tips for photographers. Small business, portfolio building, branding, marketing for photographers #portfolio #portfoliobuilding #photographer #photobiz #marketing #branding

hey friend!

i'm moriah

I’m your visual branding BFF, an award-winning graphic designer and I’m legitimately obsessed with your success. Check out these links for more ways I can help you elevate your brand!

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