By Anne B.
Hey, hey Ramblers! Happy September! I cannot believe that we are already in September. I swear the summer just flew by and my classes just appeared out of thin air (which is why this blog is up a little later than usual). Anyways, this week’s blog is about photography, specifically portrait photography. Besides working, studying and baking, I am also passionate about photography. Even though I like all types of photography, I tend to do more portrait photography because I love doing photoshoots with people and editing portraits. Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, however, one of the hardest things about portrait photography… is finding models. So here are 7 super easy, convenient ways to find models, clients, or guinea pigs to improve your portrait photography.
This probably isn’t very surprising since family is usually the first place you turn to whenever you need anything, but I think it’s still worth putting in here! The great thing about asking family members to be models is that both sides of the camera will be more comfortable, you’ll get honest opinions on the photos (cause it’s family), and it allows you to be more versatile. For instance, with family members, you can practice a wide range of portrait photography from groups/ family portraits to couples to kids to one person to pets (yes, pets are family members. Fight. Me).
Note: I didn't take the picture of me and my parents. This was taken when I did my high school graduation pictures by another photographer. I just didn't have any family pictures I could use haha.
Asking friends to do photoshoots with you is another way to have relaxed, casual, and more versatile photoshoots.
For both family and friends, you can also do impromptu photoshoots whenever you go out or do activities together by just bringing your camera! For instance, cute terraces, corn mazes, pretty hikes, or festivals with family/ friends make amazing backgrounds for photos. Family and friends are also a great way to build your portfolio without having to pay for a model. Now, you might not necessarily get paid for these photos, but you’ll probably have a blast and maybe your family/friends will repay you in drinks or food.
This is great if you want to practice portrait photography for more professional settings! You could bring your camera to work and offer headshots. Or maybe you could talk to your communications department and become a photographer for company events! You can also ask your coworkers if they have family members or friends that are looking for a photographer.
If you’re friends with your coworkers, then you can do photoshoots outside of work (refer to Friends section). In the picture above, I took some pictures of my coworker when we were at a lake. He and some other students were doing a research project at a summer camp for diabetic children and they were renting a chalet near the camp and this beautiful lake. He needed help with recruitment for one of the camp sessions so I went up to the chalet the day before. We hung out by the lake and I got to take some gorgeous pictures of the sunset. I also decided to try taking some action shots of him swimming too (I mean, look at them back musclesss).
Networking/ Community Apps
You can usually find models through networking apps like Bumble (career profile) or apps that have a sort of community like Bunz. You can create a Bumble profile and say that you’re looking for models to build your portfolio or if you’re looking for clients, then you can explain your packages and prices. You can also advertise your photography services on apps like Craigslist, Kijiji, and other platforms where you can sell things and services.
You could also trade your photography services for other items, services, or cash on Bunz! The model above is actually someone I met on Bunz. I wanted some granola bars that she had posted but she couldn’t find anything on my profile that she wanted/needed, so I offered to take some headshots of her! I had so much fun meeting her and taking pictures, plus she let me use my new Google Pixel 3 for the photoshoot so I was able to test the camera on it! She was looking for good quality headshots, but not a full-blown photoshoot.
Similar to networking/community apps, you can advertise your photography services on social media! The big three, of course, are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but there are other social platforms where you can post about your photography business. For instance, you could add your photography business to Google using their My Business service. This means that when people search your name or “photographer” your business will show up for people searching near you. If you want to add your business to Google, though, you might want to register your business with your state, county, province, etc. I don’t think Google requires you to, but if you’re gonna add your services to Google, you probably want everything to be legal.
Fun Fact: In the province of Quebec, you don’t have to register a sole proprietorship as long as you use your first AND last name in the company name. As soon as you change the name or want to employ people, then you’ll have to register. You can also choose to register your business anyways if you want it to be on the public list of organizations in Quebec, but there is a $40ish fee.
If you know of any special occasions happening in your family members’, friends’, or coworkers’ lives, then raise your hand and offer your photography services asap! Special occasions are a great way to build your portfolio or make a lot of money. Special occasions can range from small reunions and birthdays to bigger life-events like weddings, baby/bridal showers, bacherlor/ette parties, and gender reveals!
Clubs / Organizations
My last tip for finding portrait photography is especially good for students or those who have connections in clubs or organizations. If you’re in any student clubs, you can let the student board know about your photography skills. You can take pictures whenever you have club meetings, fundraisers, and so on! If you’re not in any clubs, you can still reach out to random clubs and offer your services. If they don’t need a photographer, then you can ask them to pass out your business card or send an email out to all of their members! You can even give them student discounts to get more bites.
If you’re not surrounded by student clubs, you can ask pretty much any organization if they need a photographer. Sometimes, small or up-and-coming businesses need photographers to take pictures of their products, their employees, and so on. Since they don’t always have a big budget, you can offer to just take pictures to build your portfolio or give them a discount. If you’re big on volunteering, you could also offer non-profit organizations your photography services for free and volunteer at the same time!
Well, there are my 7 ways for finding models to build your portrait photography portfolio or find new clients and expand your business! No matter if your models are family, friends, or strangers, make sure you ask them for testimonials that you can add to your website! Having testimonials will make your business look so much more professional and people are more likely to hire someone with shining reviews.
Now go out there and snap some pictures! Grab your nearest friend and find a cute area, or just wander around the street and take pictures of random strangers (without looking too creepy).