The Blog

Building a Photography Portfolio Should I Shoot for Free?


So you’ve decided to start your photography business! Great! Now what?

You’ve taken the plunge, invested in some education and finally flipped that switch from auto to manual! You are ready! With the skills, talent and excitement of sharing your art you need something to show prospective clients. Here is where your portfolio comes into play! But how do you start building a photography portfolio before you have clients? Kind of  sounds like the chicken before the egg scenario. Let’s explore some options.

I searched long and hard for different ways to build your portfolio. There are literally hundreds of ideas out there. I’m going to share my opinion on the way that worked best for me.

I shot for free!

Yep! Shot. For. Free! I felt the best way to develop my skills not only with my camera but with future clients was to get out there and practice. I had no street credit to ask for money at this point. As much as I would have loved to have been paid, I felt gaining the opportunity to practice my skills on people other than my children was more important. So I was completely transparent and asked my closest friends if they would gift me an hour of their time so I could develop the experience I needed! In exchange I gifted them the portraits from their session. All of them? Yep! All of them! Well, all the good ones 😉 What better way to say thank you than to gift your friends the beautiful images you captured!

How long should you shoot for free? That is a question only you can answer! Truth be told I still shoot for free on occasion. What better way to explore a new method, technique or niche I’d like to explore. Now after you’ve gained some great images it’s time to share them! I’ll save that talk for next time.

Happy Monday!

P.S. Thanks to all the friends and families that gifted me with their time and encouraged me to pursue my passion!

Not sure where to start? Check out the post about my first steps!