How to Grow Your Photography Portfolio (for Beginners!)

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

Learn how to build your portfolio using test shoot days

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How to grow your photography portfolio (for beginners!)

Using Test Shoots to Build Your Portfolio

How to grow your photography portfolio using test shoots. Get the most from your free shoots to get your dream portfolio.

Kayleigh June, in this tutorial, shares how to use test shoots to grow your portfolio when you are just starting out!

How to use Test Shoots to Grow Your Photography Portfolio

Portfolios are the best way to show potential clients what your work looks like and what you can do for them. But how do you get portfolio shots when you’re a beginner? Test shoots!


What are Test Shoots?

Test shoots generally are something you do with out getting payment. You ask a friend or family member to take their photos for free and in turn you get photos to add to your portfolio.

So its really helpful when offering test shoots to think through all the ways they can benefit you and how to really maximise the time you are offering!

They should be about filling your portfolio and benefiting your creativity.

If your test shoots leave you feeling taken advantage of and giving free work to people, maybe its time to rethink how are are doing these!

Here are some tips from a beauty photography background to help you get the most out of these shoots for you!


Tip 1 to grow your portfolio use more than one model for the day

Grow your photography portfolio Tip #1 Organise more than one model for a shoot day

Organising mutiple models for the shoot day can  help you get as many looks as possible, gives you a bit more variety from the day as well, different features in the different models and different faces to try out different make up looks

Also asking models to bring their own clothing helps you with less things to need to source for the shoots.

If you are hiring a studio or location for the day as well you want to be able to get as much from it as you can as it is out of your pocket. This will help you get the most you can for your portfolio


Tip 2 to grow your photography portfolio plan more than one look for each model

Tip #2 Plan More Than One Makeup/Fashion Look for Each Model

If you are able to collaborate with a stylist for your shoots, work with them to plan multiple looks for each model. This will help you to get more shots for your portfolio, and thinking this through yourself before the shoot will help you make the most of them.

Organizing a lot of different looks in this way will help you get as much different content as you can to maximise the day.

Having a plan for these looks can help you save time and makeup as well. It’s easier to transition looks when you start with a lighter make up style into heavier styles later, for example.


Tip 3 use the test shoot to find what is missing in your portfolio and fill in the gaps

Tip #3 Find What’s Missing in Your Portfolio 

Take a look at your portfolio before you plan out the test shoot to see what is missing, like what kind of shots and looks you need to add to fill out your portfolio.

You can then use tests shoots as ways to fill the gaps in your portfolio to make sure the time is doing you good too.

Diversity is really important for a strong portfolio to show prospective clients what you can do, having the forethought and intentionality to use test shoots as opportunities for this will really help you out.


Tip 4 use the test shoot to create content for your social media

Tip #4 Create Content for your Social Media from Test Shoots

What are other things that you can take away from test shoot days? Have your social media accounts on your mind when you prepare.

What kind of content do you need for your Instagram, or what can you upload to your youtube channel? Think how you can take away content for that kinda stuff in your test shoot days. 

Getting the most out of your test shoots helps you walk away with wins and good content for you, making them as worth it as possible!


Test shoots are a great way to build your portfolio as a beginner photographer!

The last thing you want is to be signing on for free work that doesn’t help you out either.

Whether you are fronting money for hires and venues, or traveling great distances for a test shoot, the more you can purposfully squeeze out of it the more worth the investment of time and money it is!

There can be a lot of costs involved so use the time to build your business in the process.

Want to improve your photography? Check out this guide to be a better photograher!


Which of these tips will your use to grow your photography portfolio NOW?

Comment below!

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