Free Guides Offer Expert Tips on Building a Portrait Photography Business

PhotoShelter, a leading provider of portfolio websites and online sales tools for professional photographers, has published two free educational guides for anyone who wants to build a business around portrait photography.

Growing Your Portrait Photography Business: Part 1” offers tips for photographers who want to shoot portraits  of families, kids, and high-school seniors. Part 2 is for photographers who want to shoot commercial or editorial portraits for ad agencies, publications, and corporate clients.


Both of the “Growing Your Portrait Photography” guides are available free from the PhotoShelter library of business guides.

Part 1: Families, Kids, and Senior Portrait Photography

The introduction to this guide points out that, “Photographers in this market have to enjoy working with groups, understand family dynamics, and should be great with children, teens or babies.

This guide explains how to build a portrait photography business from the ground up. Read how to price work, create a personable brand, and influence word-of-mouth referrals.

The guide discusses how to:

  • Grow a presence online
  • Capture a subject’s personality
  • Read body language
  • Find the right location
  • Manage the styling
  • Be an expert storyteller
  • Demonstrate a unique style when shooting kids and seniors.

Successful family and senior portrait photographers explain how they target their ideal clients, determine pricing packages and fees, build real connections with clients, and develop a brand. 

Laura Novak, founder of Little Nest Photos, explains that, “There isn’t one way of developing your brand, but you must have a heightened awareness of every interaction with your customers and think about things from their perspective.”

Part 2: Editorial and Commercial Portrait Photography

Shooting portraits for editorial and commercial use is substantially different from shooting photos for families and kids — mostly because you have the develop relationships with both the subject and the client. Clients for editorial and commercial portraits are creatives for publications, corporations, and marketing agencies.

Editorial portraits (of celebrities, writers, etc.) are created specifically for publications. Commercial portraits are used for personal promotions or advertising campaigns.

In this guide, you’ll find expert advice on how to:

  • Impress photo editors with an exceptional online portfolio
  • Prepare for a shoot by asking certain questions before you arrive
  • Provide the type of customer service that strengthens relationships with clients
  • Price your services and negotiate contracts and licenses

Seasoned editorial and commercial photographers such as  Brian Smith, Jim Jordan and Jason Myers share tips on shooting killer portrait photography, including secrets to great portrait lighting and techniques for capturing big personalities.

The guide points out that photographers who specialize in editorial or commercial portraits must juggle client’s expectations and visions while building a rapport with the subject(s): “You need to be a good people person, build great relationships, make sure your subjects feel comfortable — and network, network, network to get the word out.”

Photographer Nicolle Clemetson says it’s OK to relax and be yourself. Instead of trying to shoot and act like I thought others in the industry wanted to see, she says, “I found that I was happiest and producing my best work when I stopped caring about what others thought… Now, I’m shooting the projects I want to shoot with people who have the same attitude and energy that I do.”  

About PhotoShelter

“Growing Your Portrait Photography Business, Parts 1 and 2” are the latest in PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s library includes 30+ educational guides including topics such as creating a successful photography portfolio, email marketing, and starting a photography business.

PhotoShelter offers professional, reliable and innovative online tools to build and grow a successful photography business. Its latest release, Beam, offers a suite of portfolio website templates built with the latest technology to showcase images at their best. More than 80,000 photographers use PhotoShelter’s websites, social and SEO tools, online image archives, and image delivery and e- commerce tools. You can try PhotoShelter free for 14 days


Growing Your Portrait Photography Business Part 1: Families, Kids, and Senior Portrait Photography

Growing Your Portrait Photography Business Part 2: Editorial and Commercial Portrait Photography

PhotoShelter Library of Free Business Guides

About PhotoShelter