How To Build Your Brand Photography Portfolio When You Haven’t Booked Your First Client Yet

December 8, 2022

If you’re pivoting into brand photography, you might be wondering how to build your brand photography portfolio. As a photographer you have hundreds of pictures from weddings and family sessions, but you don’t have a portfolio that attracts a business owner to book with you. Episode 5 of the Become A Brand Photographer podcast details how to build your brand photography portfolio, without working for free! Tune in to the 11 minute episode, or find the readable version below!


Listen to the episode now

Listen and subscribe on your favorite platform: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify


Episode Highlights

  • (00:48) Using mini sessions to build your brand photography portfolio
  • (01:31) Tips for an efficient and effective mini session day
  • (03:14) Services Trades
  • (05:16) Using weddings to build your brand photography portfolio
  • (06:49) Cold pitching your brand photography services


How To Build Your Brand Photography Portfolio


Build your brand photography portfolio through mini sessions

The first way that you can build your portfolio is to host a mini session day. Mini brand photoshoots are a great way to get multiple industries, clients and personalities into your portfolio. This is also a quick way to highlight multiple props and outfits for different professionals. 

If you’re a new brand photographer, mini sessions are typically a lower cost offer, so it’s an easier entry point for a potential client to agree to. They are a way for you to practice your craft at a discounted rate, instead of building your portfolio for free. 

2 Tips for an effective brand photography mini session day:

  1. When it comes to picking a location for mini sessions, it’s best to find a place that has a lot of different settings. When you share these photos in your portfolio, you don’t want them to all look like they were taken in the same place. So if you have a setting that’s local to you that has a lot of variety, that will serve both you and your different clients best. It will also support  different niches and industries better. 
  2. When I host mini sessions, the reason I typically host them is because I’m updating my own personal brand photos or working on an internal project first.I love using mini sessions to cover the cost of an hourly rental or Airbnb that I’m using for my own personal business projects. Mini sessions are a great way not only to build your portfolio, but also if you have not gotten your own brand photos taken, it’s a great time for you to get photos of yourself or to create your own photo and video content.


Build your brand photography portfolio through business trades

 Idea number two for building your portfolio is to trade with other service providers or other businesses that would be a good fit for your brand or lifestyle. You want trades to be with business owners and people that you want in your portfolio in the first place. 

As a photographer, it’s really important to have boundaries in place when you’re trading. You need to have a contract or agreement that’s signed by both parties so you guys have clear expectations, have some clear communication as to what is included and make sure that you value your time.


Build your brand photography portfolio through wedding styled shoots or wedding days

If you’re a wedding photographer pivoting into brand photography, you can take pictures of those vendors at your weddings and use them to grow your portfolio. Styled shoots are another place where you can shift your focus from just the wedding details to the vendors of the wedding details. 

On a wedding day, offer a few head shots to the wedding planner or another vendor on site. Get some behind the scenes pictures and action shots of them working. You can get pictures of the setup and tear down. A lot of times the florist is on site so you can get some pictures of the florist if they are putting together a wedding arch or offer the hair and makeup team a group shot before they pack up their bags.

That’s an easy way to just start getting some different business owners into your portfolio without having to schedule additional shoots.


Cold pitching for photography clients

The last idea I wanted to share to build your brand photography portfolio is to do cold pitching. 

As a new business owner, cold pitching could be a great way for you to get some clients into your business. I’ve never recommended working for free, and I don’t think you should offer your services for free in order to build your portfolio.

What you can do instead is to cold pitch and have an introductory rate or explain that you are launching this new side of your business and that you would love to offer an introductory rate. As a new brand photographer I don’t think you should work for free, because you already have all the tools and skills from other photography niches that you need to become a brand photographer. So you need to value your time… but cold pitching other business owners that you would like to work with and giving them your pitch about why you’re getting into this type of work, what the benefits are to them by you doing this type of work and how they can use the images that you create all at an introductory rate is perfect.



Want more content and resources about pivoting into brand photography?

Check this out next!

  • Visit The Brand Photography Shop and find templates and digital downloads to grow your brand photography business. You can even purchase The Brand Photography Starter Kit, which has all the resources and tools I use to run my own 6-figure brand photography business!  If you need brand photography email templates, a brand photography client workflow or planning questionnaire, you’ll find all the downloads in the shop!
  • Listen to the Become A Brand Photography podcast to learn how to pivot into brand photography. On the podcast I share everything I’ve learned the last 5+ years (and 200 brand photoshoots later) about running an in-demand brand photography business!



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Nashville entrepreneur, personal brand and wedding photographer, and digital marketing consultant. I'm on a mission to empower and encourage women in their current season of life, whether that is business and entrepreneurship, marriage, or motherhood. 

I'm Mandy


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