infographic stating 5 steps to take when starting a portrait photography business

Are you tired of twiddling your thumbs during those off-season months? Starting a portrait photography business could keep those off-season blues and boredom at bay, help you earn some extra cash, and allow you to showcase your talent to a wider audience. As a professional wedding photographer, you’re already halfway there to becoming a successful portrait photographer. By expanding your services to include professional portrait photography, you’re not only diversifying your wedding photography business but making sure that there’s cash flow throughout the year. So, if you’re looking for a way to stay busy while also expanding your skillset and creating more business opportunities, turning to portraiture could be the solution! 

Different Types Of Portrait Photography

a portrait of a groom looking at the camera in his wedding suit
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @apollofields

Listed below are the different types of portrait photography that you could consider adding to your repertoire as a professional photographer:

  • Senior portraits
  • Family portraits
  • Pet portraits
  • Corporate headshots
  • Engagement and couples portraits
  • Maternity and newborn portraits
  • Boudoir portraits
  • Fine art portraits
  • Environmental portraits
  • Lifestyle portraits
  • Glamour and beauty portraits
  • Sports portraits
  • Travel portraits

Suggested Read: 8 Secrets To Shooting Stellar Portraits In The Snow

How To Start & Run A Successful Portrait Photography Business

From researching and defining your target market to curating a portfolio and pricing guides, a lot of things must be considered when starting a portrait photography business. 

1. Identify Your Niche & Target Audience

do your research consider the type of portrait photography business you want to specialize in, and identify your target audience

Before you dive into starting a portrait photography business, choose a niche that aligns with your goals. Whether you choose to specialize in senior portraits, reportage portraits, family sessions, or any other type of portrait photography, having a niche can open up potential business options and help you attract only your ideal clients. 

Identifying your target audience is the next step. Think about it: Who would benefit most from your portrait photoshoots? Understanding your target audience’s needs and interests can help you to tailor your marketing goals and approaches in a way that resonates with them and captures their attention. So, take the time to do some research, consider what type of portrait photography business you want to specialize in, and identify your target audience.

2. Develop A Business Plan & Pricing Guide

When starting a portrait photography business, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive photography business plan and pricing guide. While your experience in wedding photography will certainly come in handy, pricing your portrait services the same way you price your wedding packages won’t work. To start, you’ll need to create a new pricing guide specifically for your portrait services that takes all areas into consideration, including transportation costs, legal requirements, editing time, permits, and more. 

Creating a new pricing structure can be challenging and time-consuming! But here are some tips that could make the process slightly easier for you. First, research what your competition is charging and offering, and then consider your USP (unique selling point). Additionally, don’t be afraid to offer different pricing tiers, such as packages that include location-specific photoshoots or longer sessions. Be confident in your pricing, and avoid undervaluing your expertise. A clear pricing structure can help you stay transparent and professional with your clients.

Suggested Read: Being Unique As A Wedding Photographer: 5 Ways To Stand Out

3. Create A Portfolio & Establish A Strong Online Presence

infographic stating use a website and social media platforms to showcase your best work and attract potential clients

Consider setting up a new website dedicated solely to your portrait photography with the help of user-friendly website builders like Wix and Showit. Furthermore, you could create a new page for portrait services on your current website that showcases your best work and outlines your pricing and services.

Social media is also an excellent platform to display your artistic work and attract potential clients. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok to create a cohesive brand image that reflects your skills and personality. Share tips for portrait photography, post behind-the-scenes glimpses of your photoshoots, and interact with your followers. Using hashtags and collaborating with other photographers and influencers in the industry can also help expand your reach and pull in more clients.

4. Set Up A Photography Studio

As a professional wedding photographer, you may already have the latest gadgets and equipment needed for portrait photography, which means you can easily set up a cost-effective photography studio in your home or rent out a space if your budget allows. With a cozy corner, a window, your photography gear, and some basic amenities like a changing room or a small makeup zone, you can create a comfortable and stylish ambiance for your clients. You could also consider personalizing the studio with different wallpapers or backdrops and providing props to clients.

However, opting not to invest in a portrait studio is also a valid choice. You can offer location-based portrait services, such as shooting at a college, favorite cafe, parks, gardens, beaches, landmarks, or even bars. Regardless of the choice, it is important to ensure that the location looks and feels professional and creates the right ambiance for your clients. Moreover, if you do decide to photograph your clients in public spaces, we’d highly recommend that you take care of any photography or entry permits in advance. 

5. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is essential when starting a portrait photography business, or rather any business! Your clients are trusting you to capture some of their most cherished moments, and it’s important to make them feel valued and taken care of throughout the process. From the initial consultation to the final product delivery, always prioritize clear communication and reply promptly to their questions and concerns. 

Go above and beyond to ensure their satisfaction, whether it’s adding some extra shots, providing a few finishing touches, or offering custom packages and discounts. These small gestures can go a long way in creating loyal clients and also generate positive word-of-mouth referrals, which means more business and more money! 

Further Read: From Meh To Magic: Mastering Long Exposure Portraits

a portrait of a bride in her wedding dress
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @flavio_d_photography

Starting a portrait photography business is a smart move for any wedding photographer looking to diversify their business and stay busy all year round. By identifying your niche, developing a clear pricing guide, creating a strong online presence, setting up a photography studio (if possible), and providing excellent customer service, you can build a successful portrait photography business. With some extra cash in your pocket, a chance to experiment with new styles, and the opportunity to meet new people, there’s no reason not to give portrait photography a shot. So, go on, take that leap of faith, and let your talent shine!

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow as a wedding photographer. However, if you find that endless editing tasks are blocking your way and sapping your energy, let us help! To learn more about how our professional photo editing services could give you your time back, check out our pricing plans.

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