My #1 Tip for Building Your Photography Portfolio

January 20, 2021

You can’t be a photographer — or social media manager, stylist, or another service-based biz owner — without your clients! Finding clients can be one of the hardest parts of getting a new business up and running. 

Wanna know a secret? Building an excellent portfolio can help you find the clients you want to work with. Your dream clients. Clients that get you excited to do your job every day and keep growing your biz!

You may have spotted my #1 tip for building your portfolio, but why not spread the love here, too? Let’s get down to it!

@lishcreativeI always get asked this….. hope these tips help! #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #smallbusiness #photographer #businessadvice

♬ Get On It – Clutch

Build your portfolio the right way

What’s the “right” way, you ask? 

When putting together your portfolio, only include the type of work you want to be doing. Leave out the stuff that you’re okay with doing because it pays the bills, but it’s not the work that gets you hyped up and motivated.

For example, I absolutely love working with vibrant brands. I love using bright, bold colors and arranging fun, creative flatlays. That’s why you’ll find brands like Seagram’s, Nickelodeon, Yes To, and Norman Love Confections on my social and portfolio!

All these brands have products and brand strategies that fit with the type of styling and photography work I want to be doing. I showcase their work on my portfolio so I can attract similar vibrant brands. Make sense? 

Treat social media as a living, breathing portfolio

Your “official” portfolio probably lives on your website, but guess what? Your social media accounts can act as a portfolio, too! 

Sometimes your social media content can attract clients even more if it’s updated often with your work. You can also share behind-the-scenes stuff and let potential clients get to know you.

Take advantage of this and post on social media CONSISTENTLY. Every day, a few times a week, once a week, it’s up to you. But create a schedule and map out some content in advance so you’re always ready to post!

Encourage good word of mouth

Having a profesh portfolio and great social media is important, but don’t forget about one of the most powerful marketing tools of all: good word of mouth! 

Positive and negative reviews can make or break your biz. Make sure you reward good word of mouth and reel in new clients by setting up a referral program. 

Here are some quick tips for setting up a referral program that really works:

✅ Give clients a reason to share. Referral incentives — discounts, extra services, credit, or free products — give people a reason to spread the word about your biz.

✅ Make sharing easy. Use referral links on social media. Provide a pre-written message so your clients can share the referral in seconds. And make sure your program is mobile-friendly!

✅ Offer lots of options. Let your clients choose how they share referrals, whether it’s through email, social media, or text. Don’t limit it to just one platform.

Remember, good word of mouth is free publicity for your biz. Use it to find more clients and make existing clients happy!

Gain extra exposure

Got a few happy clients sharing your work on their social media accounts? Ask them to tag you for extra exposure! It can be a tag in the caption, a tag in the photo itself, or both. 

Many biz owners and brands follow similar companies in the same industry on social media. (It’s good to know what your competition is up to, right?) By getting tagged in social posts, you’re expanding your brand reach. This is a super easy and free way to find new clients who run in the same circles as your existing clients.

Is your biz lookin’ good?

With these tips, I know you’ll build a portfolio you can be proud of and start attracting more of your dream clients!

How your portfolio looks is important, but the overall look of your brand is important too. Do you know what your brand colors are? How about your fonts? Do all your icons match?

A set of brand guidelines can keep all the visual details of your biz organized. And I have a Brand Guidelines Template to help you do just that. Check it out!

brand guidelines template lish creative

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