So you're struggling with getting new clients. You feel like you need work to show work, but you can't get work to show, to get more work! Damnnn itttt. 

Hi, this was literally me when I first started out. "HOW the efffff do I get more clients?" ran through my head every day. For 6 months (SIX MONTHS) my inbox was empty and I didn't get a single inquiry, much less any bookings!  

My least favorite thing people used to tell me when I asked how they got their name out there: Word of Mouth. Ok thanks, super helpful to someone who has no clients to begin with! 

I'm going to share with you EXACTLY how I got more clients with zero background in photography + a very scarce portfolio. 

1. Free work + Model Calls.

Guys... free work is not evil nor is it degrading. It's ok to take free work! I promise. When done right, free work and model calls can help further your portfolio and brand quickly. You need a strong portfolio, plain and simple. 

Free work done right is key here. When considering who to ask to collaborate, make sure that it will *actually* further your vision for your company. Be intentional with who you provide free services to, otherwise you're wasting your time. For example, if you want to be a wedding photographer and you're photographing a family for free, it won't help you further your wedding business. 

Check out my blog post on Giveaways for more on this! 

1a. Styled Shoots for Portfolio Work. 

Quick word on styled shoots, I don't really believe in them for portfolio work. I didn't do one until two+ years into my career and that's when I had an idea that I wanted to see come to life... however! That's just me. Styled shoots are a perfectly viable way of getting a portfolio started. 

Tbh, building a portfolio off second shooting (if the lead photographer allows you to do this) is a much better way. This way, you're gaining experience and not just pretty images.

2. Make sure your branding is on point. 

Take a hard look at your website design, portfolio, social media pages, and copywriting. Do they look professional or sloppily put together? In a saturated market like photography, you need to stand out above the rest if you want to make this biz your career. 

If potential clients land on your website and it's a hot mess, they're not going to trust that you'll be able to take care of them.

Invest in yourself - coaching, courses, and design. Do your research and figure out who can actually help you with this (not all courses and coaches are created equally, so be wise with how you spend $1000s on a coach or design). 

Want more in depth info on branding? Stay tuned for our Rise Up Lab mini workshops! SO many tips on design + copy. 

3. Social media helps... if you open up. 

Oh hey... Ms. Awkward extraordinaire over here. Basically zero friends growing up through middle/high school makes for a socially inept individual! Like how do I relate to other humans even though I so dessssperately want to?

Well... just be you and your tribe will find you. This is where I'm going to challenge you to post more than "Look how beautiful my clients are!" on your social media captions.

Share about you. People will care, I promise. 

4. Networking yo! 

Seriously, get to know your community. Make friends. Reach out to vendors other than the ones in your industry, hang out. 

DON'T invite peers to coffee just to pick their brain. I've been emailed about this before and honestly, I get kinda butthurt. It means that you only want to meet with me to better yourself and you have no genuine interest in a relationship past using me for info. Womp womp. 

If you reallllly want to learn from someone in your industry, ask how you can help them. 

If I got an email saying "Hey, I'd love to meet you for coffee! Yes, this is totally because I'm into photography and want to better myself, but if I can also help you along the way somehow, I would be happy to! Do you need a free assistant and/or intern?"

I would be more likely to reply "Hey! I would love to meet you! Turns out I could use an assistant at pretty much every wedding I do because it's so much easier with two people. If all works out and you think you'd like to intern with THP for a few months, we can figure that out later!" See? Both win and nobody feels used. 

5. Reviews

Testimonials are powerful. If tooting your own horn makes you feel uncomfortable, let your happy clients do it for you. 

6. Marketing Materials.

Sprinkle these shits everywhere like glitter. Be creative and thoughtful on how you use your marketing materials. 

I hope, hope, hope this gets the ball rolling for you. Nothing will stall you faster than inaction btw. Start making moves! Be fearless - like RAWR. 

Got anything to add to this list? Comment below! 

If you want more in depth info and more specific ways to implement these points, keep a lookout for mini workshop dates on and follow @riseup.lab on Instagram!