7 ways to beef up your photo portfolio

The wedding photographer's digital workflow

It’s a chicken and egg situation – you can’t get new work as your portfolio isn’t big enough, but you can’t expand your portfolio without getting more work.

Navigating this impasse will take some ingenuity, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. In their latest guest blog post our friends at Photoventure suggest some ideas for expanding your image base
The smart way to build your photo portfolio: 01. Offering to assist

01. Offering to assist

A good way to get experience of weddings is to offer to be a ‘second shooter’ for an established photographer in your area.

This is tried and tested route and many local pros will be happy to help so long as you:

  • have the skills
  • don’t get in their way
  • don’t then nick all their clients

You might get paid a bit too.

SEE MORE: 10 camera settings you don’t use (but probably should)

Be realistic about what you are going to get on the day though, as the bride and groom, and guests, will mainly want to pose for the main shooter.

There’s no reason you can’t get some good images, though, particularly those all-important detail and funny relative shots.

Offering your services as an assistant to a commercial baby and family photographer in your area is another good strategy, and will help you get more contacts.

SEE MORE: 10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes

The smart way to build your photo portfolio: 02. Offering to shoot groups or organisations

02. Offering to shoot groups or organisations

Smaller bands, theatre groups, organisations – they all need decent images to help with PR purposes, and this can benefit you too.

If a group visits your neighbourhood and catches your eye, why not offer to take some PR images for them?

Unless they already have a relationship with a photographer, chances are they will be interested — and you get better access on their next performance, and more pictures.

SEE MORE: 10 rules of photo composition (and why they work)

03. Be realistic about travel commissions

Any serious travel photographer dreams of a client stumping up for an all-expenses-paid trip to a great location, but these gigs are hard to come by.

Even recent winners of Travel Photographer of the Year, such as Larry Louie and Louis Montrose, fund most of their travel photography themselves.

Maybe you can ease the pain though by contacting a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and offering to take some images of their work — they might be at least able to help with accommodation and food costs, which often account for a quite a large slice of a trip’s costs.

Or maybe a tour company or a hotel can give you a discount on food and board if you offer to supply images for them.

Going to travel industry shows is a good way to network.

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