If you missed PART I, read it HERE! In this four-part series, I’m sharing the steps to take your portrait photography business and transition it into a wedding photography business. Part II is all about your portfolio (including your social media and website). This week I’m sharing three things you can do NOW to build a portfolio that will attract brides.
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If you’re trying to branch into wedding photography but all you have to show is a portfolio full of families, newborns and senior portraits, it’s going to be tough for you to not only convince potential brides to trust that you know what you’re doing but also that you even shoot weddings at all!
SHARE WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOOT To market yourself as a wedding photographer, you’ll want to start adding more couples and wedding-related imagery to your most recent work (i.e. portfolio, social media, website). To make the transition faster, you’ll want to start sharing fewer photos of the families, seniors and newborns. I’m not saying zero, but if you want to market yourself to potential brides, you’ll want to make the majority of your portfolio, social media and website imagery to be “wedding things”!
You may be thinking, ‘uhh…ok, Courtney… how am I supposed to share “wedding things” when no one is booking me for wedding things?!’ And I totally understand. Here are three ways to do it:
1. Couples Only
If you’ve got a family session with a young family, why not grab a photo of just mom and dad? Especially if they’re in an outfit that would work for an engagement session! First, this will enhance their experience because it will remind them of their wedding day! But secondly, if you pose them like you would an engaged couple, you can get a few photos to have in your pocket to save for later.
This family here had a session with me and dressed in formal attire (which was AMAZING) and at the end, I took photos of just mom and dad. By looking at just the photo of them below, you would think this was an engagement session! If you can start booking family sessions of young(er) moms and dads and can style them to look like an engagement session, you will absolutely start filling your portfolio with more couples!
2. Staged Bridal Details
None of the images below are linked to a wedding that I shot. They are all STAGED bridal details photos! When I was first starting out, and still to this day honestly, I would get this itch for creating beautiful images when I didn’t have anything to shoot in the winter months. So I would practice shooting bridal details! It made for great filler photos on my website and Instagram and I would also work on perfecting my craft.
So I looked around my house for pretty stuff (heels, bracelets, earrings, etc). If I couldn’t find anything, I would order stuff on Amazon — fake wedding rings, cheap shoes that look expensive. Then I would order a free Invitation Suite Sample (free samples below!) and grab some grocery-store flowers.
GET CREATIVE — I mean, look at those photos! I used my best friend’s wedding dress and one time I had my local florist make me a small bouquet (for like $20). These photos make great filler images on your website and social media.
Wondering what to caption these photos with on social media? Bridal advice!!
Grab my free cheat sheet to get the wheels turning!
25 BRIDAL EDUCATION TOPICS CHEAT SHEET
3. Model Calls for Styled Sessions
Model calls are when you make a little post about a very detailed styled session you want to shoot and see if anyone wants to model for you! You get the photos you want for your portfolio and the models get photos of themselves for free!
This is a great option if you can’t get portraits of moms and dads that look like engagement photos. NOTE: there is nothing wrong with being selective! If five people respond that they want to model, (make sure you wait a moment to respond to anyone) and choose a couple best matches your style and would relate to the types of couples you want to attract!
Yes, this is that same young mom and dad, it’s my brother-in-law and his wife. This shoot was before they had kids lol (turns out she was actually pregnant during this shoot haha) Anyways, they love to model for me 🙂
WHY it’s okay to work for free on this one: I styled the whole thing. I picked out all the outfits and the location and my couple would get the images for it! I’ve done this a couple of times now and it’s always great practice when I haven’t had couples in front of my camera in a while throughout the winter months!
Hope Taylor has a great YouTube video explaining this topic! Hope Taylor: When to Work for Free
Things you can DO LATER that will help you share what you want to shoot and transition into wedding photography! Part three has more ways to build up a portfolio of wedding-related images but they just take a little more planning (and investment most likely) but still so worth it for your business. Join the list so you never miss a single piece of education that goes live!
Have questions or thoughts on this topic? Let’s connect!
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Courtney is a Wedding Photographer in Indiana. Her specialty is joyful, timeless and playfully romantic wedding photography for classic and timeless couples and educating photographers on how to build a business that delivers an unforgettable client experience. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings. Contact her for investment details and reserve your date.