Building Your Portfolio – Hire a Model

geishaThe ugly truth is that pretty people sell. And, hiring a model is cheaper than you’d think.

How do you think other photographers build their portfolio? More often than not, the portfolio work on their website is not client work, it’s work that they purposefully shot for their portfolio.

When someone hires you and is paying you to take photos of their family, their wedding, their event, you are for the most part, following their instructions and their wishes.

When you shoot for yourself and your portfolio, you are more freely able to express your own creative style.

If you had hired someone and bought the right clothes like in this photo to the left, people will think you flew to Japan and back. If she’s your friend, she may just do this for fun in return for some really fine art prints of herself.

If you’re lucky enough to have photogenic family and friends, think of the possibilities… Think locales, think “costumes,” hair, makeup. It’s easy to transplant yourself across the world in seconds.

You don’t even have to fake an exotic location. Think of kids playing in the backyard. Stage the scene right with cute clothes (not too trendy) and props like a beach ball and a lemonade, and you’ll create a photos that tell a story.

Another idea is if you see someone who would make for a great model, ask them. This might creep some people out, but if you hand them your business card (you can get cheap ones at, and tell them to check out your website, see that your legit and ask them to call if they are interested, they may just take you up on it. I must say, women can get away with this more than men. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Remember you can offer to do it for free, in exchange for allowing you to publish their images on your website and promotional materials (make sure you get them to sign a photography release). Almost no one has a problem with that!

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