Credit: Jaime Rowe

Before you can advertise your photography business, you need to create a collection of your best work and display it on your website. These images should represent the type of work you want to offer to your clients. For example, if you are a portrait photographer,  then please do not put landscape images on your website. Clients want to see that other people are used your services and you have the ability to create beautiful images for other people. Here are some ways to build your photography portfolio.

#1 - Ask Friends & Family. Think about the people that you are around that could use your photographic services. For example, ask your aunt if she needs an updated picture of her toddler or ask your mom if she would like a picture of her dog, Rover. Call an old college roommate that has three children and ask if you can take their picture in a local park. Be honest with them and let them know that you are building your portfolio. Offer them 5-10 high-resolution images in exchange for them being portfolio-building clients for you. This is a great way to let your family and friends know that you will be opening your photography business soon and they could potentially send you photography jobs in the future. This is also a great time to determine if you really want to be a photographer and a time to decide what you would like to specialize in your photography business. For example, you can decide that you would like to specialize in children, families, boudoir, pets, executive head shots, wedding, stock, seniors and the list goes on!

#2 - Attend a Photography Workshop. If you are interested in becoming a child photographer then attend a child photography workshop put on by a local photography group. You can capture some great images and also learn from other photographers. Talk to the organizer of the workshop and explain to them that you are building your portfolio. Ask them if all parents or guardians will have signed release documents so that you can use the images on your website. One word of caution: other people will be at this workshop and they might also be building their portfolio so be careful that the images you put on your website are not exactly the same as everyone else's images.

#3 - Put an ad on Craig's List. Create a post on Craig's List that states that you are building your portfolio and you would like to offer your photographic services for free. You could also offer 5-10 high-resolution digital images for free as a thank you. I would be careful with this step and talk with the person before photographing the event or family. Always be aware of your surroundings and meet in public places like parks.

#4 - Ask a Local Charity. Contact a local charity and ask them if they need images for their charity. For example, if you are looking to building a event photography portfolio then you could offer to photograph their next event. Non-profit charities usually do not have a photography budget so this would be a great way to help your favorite local charity and build your portfolio.

#5 - Ask Your Church. Get in touch with your pastor or church leader and explain to them that you are interested in building your photography portfolio. Church leaders could then direct you to families that would be good candidates for your photographic services. You could help your church community and build your photography portfolio.

To conclude, there are many ways to build your photography portfolio. It depends on what area of photography you are interested in specializing in and thinking about creative ways to achieve your final goal: a beautiful and professional photography portfolio!