Fashion Portrait in LA, Creative Portraits for Business


What Is Fashion Portrait Photography?

A fashion portrait is a portrait of you (or your team) that has been shot in a fashion-forward approach.

Effective fashion portraits have interesting lighting (think more moody and editorial), interesting poses and engaging expressions. 

When all this is combined together you are able to capture creative business portraits that are unique and specifically branded for you and your business.

Otherwise known as fashion portrait photography.

Who Needs Artistic Portrait Photography?

Creative company headshots or a business portrait can be fun, cheeky and engaging. The idea of traditional corporate headshot photography in Los Angeles is fleeing.

Therefore you want to work with a modern Los Angeles fashion photographer who has the creative eye and lighting abilities to capture fashion photography headshots.

Professional Portrait Los Angeles for Upscale Branding

Individuals and businesses that are seeking fashion portraits are doing so because they don’t want boring portraits of themselves.

They are looking for a portrait studio Los Angeles that captures creative headshots of themselves with a fresh twist.

Creative Business Headshots Are Calling

Working with a creative portrait photographer like Sergio Garcia is key!

For instance, one can’t capture creative real estate headshots by hiring a photographer that doesn’t have creative headshots in their portfolio.

Why? Because that photographer won’t have eye needed to capture creative professional headshots.

A fashion portrait takes more than having you stand in front of a camera and saying “cheese”.

LA Portrait Photography That Works

Shooting creative fashion portrait photography is about a mood and persona that can only be captured by a creative Los Angeles portrait photographer, like Sergio Garcia.

Creative corporate headshots by SGP will be top quality business portraits that you can use on your website, business marketing material and as personal branding and social media photography.

Contact SGP for your portrait studio Los Angeles.

 

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Fashion Photography Headshots in Los Angeles


Below: Portrait photography in Los Angeles of celebrity comedian Margaret Cho. Photographed by Sergio Garcia.

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What Makes The Best Fashion Portraits?

The best fashion portraits are captured by both the client and photographer working together to capture a mood.

This means that the client listens to the photographers guidance on posing and the client elaborates exactly what it is they are wanting to say in their portrait photography Los Angeles.

For example, if you want your fashion portrait to be more luxe and high-end that type of posing and lighting will be different than a client who wants a fashion lifestyle portrait that says relaxed and approachable.

So you, as a client, need to know exactly what it is that you want your creative headshots to say.

High End Corporate Headshots in Los Angeles

When you hire Sergio Garcia Photography for your fashion portraits he will ask specific questions to help you determine the best route to take when planning your artistic photoshoot. It’s crucial we understand what your business is about, who you are as an individual and the type of clients you want to attract. 

Our portrait photography studio enjoys providing creative agency headshots for clients who need to stand out from a sea of look-alike portrait photography. When you’re looking for a premier Los Angeles corporate photographer, contact Sergio Garcia.

Fashion Portrait Lighting For Killer Photos

Need corporate headshots in Los Angeles? As an experienced fashion portrait photographer, SGP will provide you with plenty of killer lighting options during your professional corporate photo shoot.

For example, soft even lighting that makes you appear instantly younger (perfect for women). And harsher light with more contrast that screams power and authority for lawyers or business professionals.

Corporate Headshots Near Me: Perfect Your Portraits

Listed below are 3 tips you should consider and discuss with your Los Angeles corporate photographer. One of the big main goals when you get corporate headshot photography is to have options! Meaning you don’t just want one pose or one type of lighting style.

  1. Backlighting – Backlighting in a fashion portrait works great as it can read soft, airy and a hint of mystery. Perfect for yoga instructors, authors, or lifestyle brands. Likewise it makes the skin very soft and even, reducing lines and wrinkles (similar to the photo of the women in the denim jacket)  This type of fashion portrait lighting tends to work best with those who have are worried about their skin or want to appear younger overall. It even makes a great creative director headshot.
  2. Direct Beauty Dish Lighting – An uncovered beauty dish will add direct and hard lighting to the portrait. This can make a great creative portrait because the colors will be more bold and read louder. It also portrays a sense or power in the fashion portrait. For example, this tend to be popular in corporate team photography because everyone in the team photo will look equally important.
  3. Colored Gels – Adding a colored gel to the lighting is a good way to make a fashion portrait more interesting and creative. For instance, if you’re going for a fashion portrait that is more serious, the Los Angeles corporate photographer can add a red or orange gel. If you want a more cinematic or trustworthy appearance, ask for a blue gel. Business headshots for creative professionals can truly be as unique as you’d like them to be!

 


Ready To Book Your Corporate Business Photography?



Creative Fashion Portrait Photography Near Me

You’re now familiar with what a fashion portrait is and whether they’re right for you.

Sergio Garcia Photography wants you to know that you do not need to be a model or celebrity in order to capture fashion portraits. These types of photos can benefit all types of businesses. Whether law firms, creative studios, small business owners or musicians.

SGP and his team are premier corporate headshot photographers in Los Angeles. Together they will provide quality fashion portrait photography for those looking to step outside the normal.

Professional Business Pictures That Show Your Personality

Being a full service fashion portrait studio Los Angeles, we photograph corporate headshots both in a professional photography studio or on-location somewhere. Similarly, SGP can travel directly to your office or city for corporate headshots.

Additionally, we also have access to some of the greatest hair stylist, make up artist and wardrobe stylist.

Effective Portrait Photography in Los Angeles

We make creative portraits fun and exciting while maintaining a level of professionalism you will enjoy.

When you book your portrait photography in Los Angeles with Sergio and his team we provide an easy atmosphere that will make even the most camera shy clients love their creative fashion portrait session.

 

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Above: Professional headshots in Los Angeles for Toyota Connected photographed by Sergio Garcia.


Corporate Photography Near Me

Sergio’s corporate photography studio is for clients needing high end corporate headshots – not the same old cheesy business portraits. As a Hollywood fashion portrait photographer, Sergio and his team appreciate working with clients who need a fashion portrait that is unique.

Whether in a photo studio or on location, Sergio Garcia and his team are one of the best headshot photographers to work with.

Cities Where We Shoot Corporate Headshots 

  • Corporate Headshots in LA – Fashion portrait photography in Los Angeles is perfect for models, entertainers, celebrities and business professionals. When you hire an LA photographer to elevate your brand and business with a fashion portrait, you will command greater attention. 
  • San Francisco – A fashion photography portrait is a great way to elevate your brand or company image. This type of image can serve great for those looking at corporate industrial photography.
  • Honolulu – Our studio in Honolulu is ideal for both business professionals and creatives wanting fashion portraits that have a modern and editorial approach. 
  • Chicago – The best fashion portrait photographer in Chicago are the ones who can direct their clients in a manner that makes them feel at ease. This allows for the fashion portrait photographer to capture authentic portraits of their clients.
  • Dallas – As a premier photography studio in Dallas, we offer modern and contemporary fashion portraits to those looking to stand out.
  • Washington DC – We provide editorial studio fashion portrait for both men and women in Washington D.C. who want to stray from the traditional portrait photos.
  • Nashville – When working with musicians or celebrities in Nashville, a fashion editorial portrait is often times required for marketing, press releases or musician album covers
  • NYC – As a trusted fashion and portrait photographer in New York City we have collaborated with entertainment companies, models and business professionals.

Book your Corporate Headshots: Get Started

Do you have questions about commercial portrait photography? Are you looking to set up your fashion portrait session? Email us using the contact form below.

To better help us serve you, we ask that you please include specific project details when emailing us. These details can include, but not limited to:

  • Company or Business Name
  • Your Location
  • Where You Want Your Fashion Portrait Taken
  • Your Concept For The Shoot
  • Budget You Have
  • Time And Date For Shoot

When searching for Los Angeles headshot photographers and creative fashion portrait photography consider Sergio Garcia Photography.

 

 

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Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

How To Become A Model in LA (Updated)


Why Is How To Become A Model So Confusing?

The steps on how to become a model can seem confusing at first. Where does one even start?

There is misinformation on how to become a model, so it is important that you do research. Your information should come from reliable sources who are familiar with how to start modeling. Otherwise you run the risk of being scammed.

As a fashion and model photographer, I have worked with beginner and professional models for over 14 years. These modeling agencies recommend and trust us to work with their models. So when their models come to us we have a team of hair stylists, make up artist and wardrobe stylist that help us capture new modeling photos that the models then use in their modeling portfolios to gain new clients.

Some of the modeling agencies we have worked with are top tier modeling agencies including IMG, Wilhelmina, FORD, DNA and L.A. Models and ELITE Models.

This Modeling 101 Guide will provide you with everything you need to know when looking to pursue a career as a model. This guide covers all type of modeling, including: fashion model; plus size model; teenage model; male model; or female model etc.

 


Where To Start When Becoming A Model

Best Cities for Modeling

Interested how to be a male model? Or maybe you’re a plus size female wanting to start your modeling career.

The best U.S. cities to live in if you want to become a model are:

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Chicago

These major modeling cities offer the most work for all professional models due to the clients that are headquartered there or that frequently shoot campaigns, e-commerce and editorials there. If you want to become a model you have to live where the industry is thriving and where you can be exposed to the most modeling work and opportunities.

However that is not to say that you can’t “break into” modeling in mid-size markets or smaller. Other cities where you can become a model include Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Las Vegas. Some of these cities have their own market where models can get started and make a decent living. For example in Dallas, TX you have numerous brands headquartered there that need models. These include Neiman Marcus, BELK and JC Penny.

These mid-size cities are a great place to develop your modeling portfolio, whether for plus size modeling, commercial modeling or for male models etc. They also allow you to get to know the ins-and-outs of the modeling industry before you (or your agents) decide to get you placed with another modeling agency in a major city.

Modeling Agencies in Los Angeles for Men & Women

Modeling Requirements

  • Model requirements for women: 5’8 – 5’11 and ages 13 – 25
  • Model requirements for men: 5’11 – 6’2 and ages 15 – 28

Sometimes these requirements vary by modeling agency or the market you are in. For instance, smaller markets may be more flexible with their model requirements as the local clients have different needs.

 

Thought about how to get into plus size modeling? Plus size female models need what is known as a “body shot”, like the example below. Potential clients use these photos as reference when considering plus size female models for jobs.


Dream of Modeling? Follow Sergio on Insta for More!


Open Calls and Model Searches for Male and Female Models


What are some male model requirements? The photo of the shirtless male below is considered a body shot. Used by clients to gauge the body type of the male model and considered a “must” in any male modeling portfolio.

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What Are Open Calls For Models?

If you fit these requirements modeling agencies typically offer what is known as “open calls”. Which means they usually have 1-2 days during the week, at a specific time, where model hopefuls can show up and meet with the modeling agents.

The model agents will take your measurements and take “polaroids” of you (In the “old days” they were actual polaroids; nowadays they are taken with a digital camera). The photos they take are a full-length shot, a 3/4 shot, a close up photo of your face straight on and profile. They make take a photo of the woman in a swimsuit and a photo of the man in briefs (this is so they have a sense of your body type).

This is also a great time to show off your personality! Some of the most successful models also have contagious personalities that keep clients re-booking them on modeling jobs.

Sometimes attending open calls is all that’s needed for you to “get discovered” in modeling.

What Are Model Searches?

Some modeling agencies have annual “model searches”. A model search is where you can submit your photos online or physically show up to the search (assuming they are being held somewhere). During a model search you will be able to meet the agents, walk a runway and partake in whatever other activities they may offer.

One of the most notable model searches is the Kim Dawson Model Search. They have discovered men and women who have gone off to be highly successful models.

Both open calls and model searches are typically free. If you find that modeling agencies are making you pay to show up to an open call or model search, proceed with caution.

Do’s and Don’ts For Open Calls

WOMEN

When you show up to an open call you should wear:

  • fitted jeans (dark blue or black)
  • a simple tank top or spaghetti strap (black)
  • show up with absolutely NO make up on (only moisturizer and lip balm). modeling agents want to see your natural beauty.
  • your hair should be up in a simple pony tail.
MEN

How to get into male modeling is often confusing since most men don’t talk about or admit they want to model. However, if you attend a open call, make sure to show up wearing:

  • fitted pair of jeans (dark blue or black)
  • a simple crew neck (black)
  • arrive with a clean shaven face or lightly trimmed and make sure you moisturize and apply chapstick.

Modeling agencies want to see your natural look. So don’t cover yourself with make up. If you are looking to be a teenage model, pimples are expected. So don’t be shy or embarrassed about them.

Have specific questions about becoming a male model? Email Sergio Garcia Photography below.

Do I Need Professional Modeling Photos?

No and yes. Let us explain.

If you attend an open call or model search, you do not need to show up with professional modeling photos. Modeling agents will know you’re new so they won’t expect you to have modeling photos with you. If the modeling agency decides to sign you on as a “new face” model, they will then refer you to their agency approved modeling photographer for professional modeling photos.

On the other hand, if you show up with modeling photos that are shot correctly by a professional modeling photographer, you may score brownie points. If you do end up getting signed to the modeling agency, they will more than likely use some of the photos you already have in your modeling portfolio to market you and add them to the agencies website.

Again, this is assuming that you worked with a professional modeling portfolio photographer that has experience with the type of photos that models need.

Read our detailed article on what types of photos a model needs in their modeling portfolio.

How Much Is A Photoshoot For Modeling?

You can expect a professional modeling photoshoot to cost anywhere from $600-$1000+ all in. This varies by city and the experience or “name” of the photographer you are working with. A photographer with more experience or a bigger name will typically command a higher rate, as will their team. 

A professional modeling photoshoot will include more than a photographer. There will also be a hair stylist, make up artist and wardrobe stylist. In order to get the best modeling portfolio, we recommend you budget for the entire team.

You may opt to bring your own wardrobe and do your own hair and make up, but the quality of modeling photos may not be the same.

Agency Preferred Modeling Photographer

If you get signed by a modeling agency, they will have you “test” with their preferred model photographer so that you get images for your modeling portfolio. These “agency approved photographers” have been vetted by that modeling agency. Meaning the agency has met with them in person to verify that they aren’t shady characters.

Additionally the photographer has shown that they can capture the exact photos needed by that modeling agency in order to start getting the model work or seen by clients. When you shoot with an agency preferred photographer, you will know that your money is well spent.

Modeling agencies typically work with model photographers that offer their own strong point. For example one photographer may capture the ideal swimwear photos, another fashion photos, or lifestyle photos. So in order to get a 100% “strong modeling portfolio”, you may have to test with a few different photographers.

This is why you can’t shoot modeling photos with a wedding or baby photographer. These photographers may not have the knowledge to capture modeling photos that work.

So if you decide to use another photographer that is less expensive or that the modeling agency does not recommend/work with you run the risk of capturing modeling images that will not work (and you’ll have to eventually pay to work with the preferred photographer anyway to capture the right photos).

TIP: The word “test” is industry lingo meaning a photoshoot for your modeling portfolio.

 


Using Social Media To Promote Yourself As A Model


Marketing Yourself As A Model: Social Media

As a model in todays society, it’s a must to be on social media. Modeling is no longer only about your looks. Clients are looking for models who have a social media presence and following.

Why is this?

When a client has the option to book one of two models, both of whom fit the bill for the project, they are usually going to go with the one with a stronger social media presence.

The model with a stronger social media presence will provide more eyeballs to that client and project, which could result in more sales. A model with a bigger social reach may also be able to command a bigger rate because of this added benefit.

Top models are no longer only sharing their modeling adventures on social media. They are also showing their unique personalities. From those who love to bake, exercise, sing, dance etc. It is all about standing out and sharing your point-of-view.

Those with privacy concerns who choose not to participate on social media may hinder their chances of getting signed to a modeling agency or getting booked by clients.

Dealing With Rejection in Modeling

Modeling agencies have certain looks they are looking for based on current trends and what they know how to market. Likewise there is only room for so many male or female models that have the similar features, eye color, hair types etc within that agency.

This is why you may have all the requirements needed to model, but you don’t get signed to a modeling agency. They may already have 10 people that look like you. So it does not make sense for them to sign a new model when they may be struggling to get jobs for their current models. 

So if this is happening to you try submitting to that same modeling agency again in 6 months. During that 6 month period some models may end up being dropped by the agency or quitting all together. Another route may be to submit to a different modeling agency in the city you live in, if that is an option.

 

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Modeling Scams To Look Out For


Pay Money Upfront Modeling Scam

Be cautious if a modeling agency is requesting that you pay money upfront for classes or a school. 

Even if these model hopefuls don’t fit all the requirements, these “modeling agencies or schools” prey on individuals who are eager to model or act. They do this by building you up with talks of industry connections, classes and schools you “need” in order to succeed.

This is not true and most of these modeling scams have no clients. They thrive by having beginner models pay thousands of dollars directly to the company for schools and classes.

Google Fake Modeling Agencies Scam

If you are not feeling right about the modeling agency, do a thorough Google search. We recommend that you type the name of the company into Google followed by “scam” after it. This will usually provide a list of online complaints by other beginner models who may have been cheated by these modeling scams.

At the end of the day, trust your gut and ask questions. A professional modeling agency will not be irritated or put off by you being inquisitive about the industry.

 


Modeling Agencies Near Me


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How To Get Into Modeling

Whether searching how to become a male model (or female) it is important you do your research on modeling agencies. Below we break down the best modeling agencies in the United States.

Keep in mind some model measurements are pretty standard (for example, a fashion model) but depending on the local clients, these agencies may have slightly different rules they adhere by.

Modeling Agencies in NYC

  • New York Model Management
  • Wilhelmina Models
  • IMG Models
  • FORD Models
  • Elite Model Management
  • Red Model Management
  • NEXT Management
  • MUSE Model Management
  • VNY Models
  • DNA Model Management
  • Heroes Model Management
  • Major Model Management
  • Marilyn Models

Modeling Agencies in Chicago

Modeling in Chicago provides you with experience working with the local lifestyle and catalog clients. The Windy city is a great place to start your modeling career if you live in the Mid-West.

  • Wilhelmina Models
  • Select Model Management
  • FORD Models
  • 10 MGMT
  • BMG Models

Modeling Agencies in Miami

  • MC2 Models
  • Elite Model Management
  • Wilhelmina Models
  • BMG Models
  • Front Model Management
  • Next Management

Modeling Agencies in Dallas

Modeling in Dallas provides a good opportunity to get your feet wet and work with the local commercial and ecommerce clients. Below are local modeling agencies in the Big D.

Modeling Agencies in Seattle

Modeling Agencies in Oklahoma

Modeling Agencies in Atlanta

  • The Salt Agency
  • Ei Model Management
  • Ursula Wiedmann Models

Modeling Agencies in San Francisco

  • Look Model Agency
  • Scout Model & Talent Agency
  • RAE Model & Talent Agency

Modeling Agencies in Portland

  • Muse Model Management
  • Option Model & Media
  • Reaction Models & Talent
  • Ryan Artists

Modeling Agencies in Phoenix

  • Signature Models & Talent
  • Southwest Model & Talent 
  • The Young Agency
  • Deborah Maddox Agency
  • FORD/Robert Black Agency

 


Modeling Terms To Know


There are numerous modeling terms and industry lingo that gets thrown around on set and on the web. This makes it very confusing (and embarrassing) for a beginner model who has no idea what they are being asked about or to do.

Below we break down some of the most common terminology in the modeling industry so that even a beginner model knows how to cheat the camera. 

  • Book – This is another way to one refers to your modeling portfolio.
  • Body Part Modeling – There are some models who get hired due to their perfectly shaped hands, feet or lushes hair, not their face.
  • Buyout – A buyout is an additional fee that is paid to the model due to the client wanting to use the photo(s) in perpetuity.
  • Comp Card – (used to be known as a zed card or composite sheet) is a printed card that typically has your beauty/face shot taking up one entire side. Meanwhile the back side is divided into 4 sections and shows 4 different photos. Typically one is full length, 3/4 and a mix of fashion, lifestyle or body photos. It will also list your name, measurements and the name of your modeling agency. Think of this as your business card.
  • Cheat Towards The Camera – This is when the model slightly turns their head towards the camera. You do this so that the photographer or client can see a little more of your face or body.
  • Editorial Photo –  An editorial shot tends to accompany an article text or inside a magazine.
  • A Fitting – This implies that the model shows up to the clients offices to try on clothes before a booking like runway show or photoshoot. This is to ensure that the clothes or product fit correctly.
  • Go-See – If a client has interest in booking you for a project, they will request a go-see. This is when you simply show up to be seen by the clients. Make sure to show off your personality, if you can, as this is your audition.
  • Request Go-See – When a client specifically requests a particular model to attend a go-see.
  • Model Form – This is filled out when you attend a go-see and includes the basic size measurements like height, waist size, etc
  • Model Release Form – When a client or photographer have you sign a model release, you are giving them legal rights to use the photos anywhere they see fit.
  • Print – Any photo used in a printed format such as in a magazine, ad etc
  • Tear Sheet – This is a physical copy or “tear” off a magazine where the model is featured.
  • Test Shot (or shoot) – This is typically a photoshoot or image specifically for a models portfolio and will not be used in any advertising or commercial use.
  • Usage – This breaks down how the photos will be used, in what format and the duration.
  • Model Voucher – After a model finishes a commercial job, they will have the client sign their model voucher. Think of this as a receipt or invoice. The client will get a copy, along with the agent and model. The model vouchers are provided by your modeling agency once you sign with them.

 

Interested in how to get your kid into modeling? Whether you want to get your son or daughter into modeling, most of the same principles explained here apply to baby, kid and teen modeling. Email Sergio Garcia Photography for more details if your child is a young toddler or tween.

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How Do You Become A Model in LA?

SGP will cover frequently asked How To Get Into Modeling questions below.

If you’re in Los Angeles and looking to book your modeling session in Los Angeles, contact Sergio Garcia using the contact form further below. Sergio provides vast knowledge and professional connections to wardrobe stylist and make up artist will in LA.

This leads to a professional photoshoot that will be a start to your male or female modeling career.

 


Dream of Modeling in LA?

Sergio Garcia Photography is one of the top modeling photographers in Los Angeles. He has 14+ years of experience working in the modeling industry and launching the career of male and female models. With his connections to top modeling agencies in LA, Sergio may even be able to place you with an agency, should you meet their requirements.

You want to make sure you hire a modeling photographer in Los Angeles who has experience with the ins and outs of modeling. Not just someone who can take pretty pictures. Don’t make that mistake. Sergio and his team are available to answer any questions on how to start modeling in LA. If you’re a male or female and are researching how to become a model in LA, reach out using the contact form below.

Searching for Modeling Schools in LA?

We are not a modeling school. Nor do we offer any type of “schooling” BUT we definitely make it a priority to provide as much information to clients who book us for a modeling portfolio session.

Who Are The Male Model Agencies in Los Angeles?

Male modeling agencies in LA include:

DT Model Management; LA Models; Wilhelmina Models; and Two Model Management

Make sure to reference a more complete list at the beginning of the article.

 


Conclusion On Becoming A Model


While the modeling industry may seem confusing or intimidating, it is also a fun creative industry filled professional photographers, hair stylist, make up artist and wardrobe stylist.

At the end of the day, we all want to work with professional models and to create great fashion and editorial photography.

Most of the modeling scams you hear about are due to the individuals not doing enough research or asking enough questions.

 


Modeling Photographers Near Me: Sergio Garcia Photography

Remember that the top modeling agencies are always going to be in the major fashion cities. This is where media and commerce thrive. If you don’t live in Los Angeles or NYC, then the best modeling agencies are going to be those closest to you.

Even if the modeling market in your home town is small, you will still get your feet wet. Likewise if the modeling agency is reputable, they will be able to place you with a bigger modeling agency in one of the bigger cities.

TIP: Also read How To Make A Modeling Portfolio

Ready To Start Modeling?

Serious about starting a modeling career in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas, Miami or Chicago?

When searching for modeling photographers near me, contact one of the best modeling photographers – Sergio Garcia Photography. Use the contact form below to get in touch and make sure to include the following information before submitting your modeling request:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Experience Level

 

 

Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

Starting A Photography Business, From $0 To Over 6 Figures!


What To Know About Starting A Photography Business

Starting a photography business – is it a viable source of income?

I’ve been in the photography industry for over a decade and have shot full time for about the same. I still receive questions on whether or not one can make a living doing this. 

How lucrative is the photography business?

Depending on which genre of photography you decide to pursue, and how you market yourself, you can make well over 6 figures as a photographer (like I have), If you are questioning whether to pursue photography as a career and business, I want you to know that yes, you can make a good living as a photographer.

So … is starting a photography business right for you?

The purpose of this article is so that I may share with you how I was able to make that happen. Before diving in, a short background on my entry to this field.

Starting A Photography Business: My Start

Always considering myself an artist I have expressed that through an array of mediums. Painting, drawing, sculpting and even played the cello along with the flute. Also, I’d rather not recall my memories of school choir. Photography seemed like a natural next move to experiment with.

Little did I know it would end up engulfing my life and leading me down this journey!

When I began my photography venture I had no formal training, my dream was to attend The Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, but, it was too expensive. I’m not sure I fully realized that one can make a living in this field (your ‘job’ is taking photos and you want me to believe you can pay your bills, buy a car or a house (or both!?) – no way).

One of the reasons I wanted to attend Brooks was for the technical aspects of the industry. However, throughout the numerous interactions I’ve had with other photographers who did formally go to a professional school, one thing they did not really learn is how to start a photography business.

What’s the Best Camera To Start A Photography Business With?

My first camera was the Olympus FE-360, a whopping 8MP point and shoot, that my aunt put on her BestBuy card after I had begged and promised to pay her back. Which I couldn’t afford to but mama Garcia saved the days (gracias ma).

Everything I saw, I photographed.

Ant beds, trees, power lines, ketchup bottles, salsa bottles, chairs, trampolines, water jugs, tires, random houses – you name it, I was capturing it.

After photographing inanimate objects for some time, I decided to start photographing, you guessed it, people. I remember dressing up my sister and cousin in some wonky outfit, doing their make up (“make up” used very loosely – all I did was draw a red line across their lips. That’s art … right?) and took some images that I can forever use to haunt their lives 😉  Later I began to publicly share my work on … Myspace. The images were showcased next to, what I’m sure were, obnoxious glittery font words reading “Welcome to My Page” while Greenday automatically played. Yikes.

Then came a day when I decided to friend request a random man, wearing a cowboy hat. Turns out that random cowboy hat wearing guy, was a local modeling agent. I had no idea that would be the start to everything.

Bye, Bye days of shooting ketchup bottles and family members dressed as teenage hookers.

Don’t Rely On “The Best” Camera When Starting A Photography Business

If I could make it starting with that 8MP camera, you can make it with any beginner camera that is in the market nowadays. The camera you choose is not the factor that will make a photographer. It is SO much more than that.

So don’t get hung up on the latest and greatest or what the “pros” are using. It doesn’t matter. 

 

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How To Make Money With Photography

These guidelines are all personal strategies I have implemented over the years that have lead to me making over 6 figures a year as a freelance photographer. 

  1. Altering your mindset – When starting a photography business (any business for that matter) you will be bombarded with negative and self depreciating thoughts. It is important that you constantly train your mindset to believe in your ability. This will keep you moving forward. 
  2. Defining your brand – Before starting a photography business think about your brand. Are you going for the happy go-lucky kid photographer? The minimal and mysterious fashion photographer? This should be reflected on your website, emails, and marketing pieces.
  3. Your foundation, diversifying + your troops
  4. SEO is king 

The Best Photography Business Plan Starts In Your Mind

Your mindset plays such a vital role with anything you do in life, which is why this tops the list.

People tend to have a negative mindset, it’s a safety mechanism for not wanting to get hurt or fail. At the end of the day you will not be able to take action. Worse, you may not even want to act. If you cannot and are not willing to change a negative, pessimistic mindset you will be your own greatest roadblock.

Why act when you believe you’re destined to fail? Better to ‘stay’ safe and complacent. 

To succeed, picture yourself succeeding. Put yourself in the shoes of the future, successful you. Who is that person?

Looking back, I don’t ever remember telling myself I would fail going into this. I knew it would work. How? I had no clue. I just knew. I knew I would be successful. Was I afraid at times? Sure, who isn’t. But I believed I would make it work. Changing your mindset starts internally with oneself but is also heavily influenced by those close to you. Friends and family. Take a look at the top 5 people you hang around with. Who are they? Motivated go getters? Do they lift you up & support your ambitions?

Or, are they (as they like to be called) “realistic”? Sure your aspirations may sound dandy and all but you’ll never do it they say. You don’t have the resources. Be realistic they say. Get a “secure” job (with benefits), why would you want to risk it?

Are these “friends” people your future, successful you would associate with? If not, boot them out. Sure, you may have been friends with them since kids (I knew I was) but these types of people will hold you back. You don’t want to be held back by an external source, it’s hard battling it internally as it is.

You want to be lifted as you take off!

I’m lucky I discovered this at an early age and while The Secret didn’t necessarily alter my thinking from a negative state to positive one, what it did do was solidify that 1) a positive mindset is needed to achieve bigger things and 2) all energy drainers need to exit left.

It’s that simple. 

 



How Do Photographers Make Money?

Your BRAND.

Remember that your ‘personal style’ needs to show in your work. We get it. What isn’t as obvious is how that ‘style’ should transcend into every other aspect of your business.

The layout and presentation of your website, how you correspond via email, the type of paper you for your business cards, interacting with clients on a shoot. I’ll take it a step further and say even the aromas you choose to use in your studio are important. Down to the hand towels you have in the studio restroom! Call me crazy.

Not only do I believe you should infuse your style into all these aspects of your business, but have been told time after time by clients on how they pick up on these subtleties.

All of this, packaged together, creates your brand. It sets a perceived value on you and your work.

How Does Your Brand Effect Starting A Photography Business?

We as humans are an interesting bunch. We intake all this data and instantly make a judgment on whether we should invest in your services. Your perceived value is why someone will pay $2,000+ for a portrait session offered by you as opposed to $100 from another local.

Who are you and your business and how are you wanting your clients to perceive you? You must put all these pieces together and create that persona. Does your website read FreeWebsite.MyName.com or worse, are you sending clients to your Facebook gallery to showcase your work? 

Piece by piece this makes up the perceived value a client sees in your business.

Now, please don’t think I’m implying that just because you have 100% Premium Long-Staple Combed Cotton towels in your studio restroom that you can now expect to make over 6 figures in photography – don’t be ludicrous. 😉 

But as with this tired analogy, why do some pay $1000 for a phone? 

Because of the brand the company has created and the perceived value that comes with it.

 


Foundation, Diversifying & Troops

Foundation

Building a solid foundation for your business to stand on is essential. It’s essential to have an array of channels (streams) that are continuously driving prospects to you. Do not put all your eggs in one basket and rely on 1-2 channels to feed your business. You need more!

10, 15, 20+ channels feeding your business.

Examples of these channels include: relationships with other businesses who cater to what you photograph (have more than one). Your #instafamous friend who constantly promotes your work. Youtube, Facebook Ads, and mailers that drive people to your site.

Caution on the side of safety and be constantly increasing your streams. I don’t believe you can have too many and the more streams you have, the stronger your foundation.  

Diversifying Your Photography Business

My lack of diversifying kept me from hitting 6 figures sooner. I remember telling myself that I was a fashion photographer and only that. I wouldn’t shoot anything else and may of even thought little of others who did. Shame on me! I was looking at it all wrong. 

Don’t be a jack of all trades but master of none either. Have 2-3 specialities that you enjoy to shoot and that possibly mesh together. Nowadays my main 3 markets are commercial advertising, fashion based portraiture and headshots. I enjoy shooting all 3 and feel as if I learn something from each one that I can then take back and apply to the others.

Having a “I won’t shoot / work with anyone other than …” mindset is not correct. Especially when starting out (speaking from experience here).

*Other forms of diversifying can include the selling of products / courses and affiliate marketing – which may be discussed down the road. 

Your Troops Are Key In A Photography Business 

Your troops are those you’ve worked with, delivered past their expectations, and are on the ground passing your name to those in need. In short, they are doing the selling for you and your business. 

All for free. Ding, ding!

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forces that can drive business to you. One is more likely to book with you if their long-time friend did and does nothing but rave about their experience. 

Rinse and repeat.

 


How To Market Your Photography Business: SEO Is King

Clients are looking for a photographer just like you, but …

Do they know you’re out there?

When you Google “Los Angeles Entertainment Photographer” or “How To Start Modeling in LA” who do you see on the first page?

This is who prospective clients see when they are looking for someone to hire. Your job is to be front and center the instant customers signal interest and this is a key way to do that.

Stats vary but in generally 90% of people do not go past page 1 of the search results and 50% do not go past the first 3 results on page 1.

See the importance? 

There’s plenty of information out there to build your knowledge on SEO. Do your due diligence with this and keep up with the ever changing trends.

 


How To Start A Photography Business – Conclusion

Although there may be other factors out there to consider when attempting to reach over 6 figures a year, I know that these 4 guidelines have had a major impact in my career and helping me achieve those number that, quite frankly, I never thought possible.

Starting your own photography business is both exciting and intimidating. Although I have made a career out of photography, I still consider myself somewhere in the infant stages; and I find that very exciting.

Always thinking as a student, I will keep applying these guidelines going forward as they have proven to me they work. My hope is that there may be tiny nuggets of information here that you can take, start applying, and help you reach a 6 figure plus salary. 

It’s possible.

 


What Do I Need To Start A Photography Business?

In reality all you need is the desire to make it happen. Cheesy – I know.

Accept the facts that you will make mistakes, you will upset clients, you will lose clients and you will have down times. It’s all part of the process. This is where being surrounded by people who are in the same boat (but that are positive, not negative) helps make the ride that more fun and enjoyable.

Take Aways From Starting A Photography Business

Remember when learning how to start your own photography business to keep in mind the following:

  • It all starts in your mind. A positive attitude breeds positive results. Don’t forget that.
  • Don’t get caught up on thinking the latest gear will make you a great photographer (it won’t)
  • Be thoughtful on defining your brand. From your photography name, business website, down to how you respond to emails.
  • You should never lay all your eggs in one basket. Diversify into genres that compliment the core photography business you focus on. That way when one is down, you won’t be panicking.
  • Pay attention and learn as much as you can about SEO.

It doesn’t take as much as one would think when it comes to photography business ideas. The main thing is to start now, instead of waiting.

You’ll be glad you did.

Leave a comment below with any questions, I’ll be sure to respond. Good luck!

 

Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

Portrait Images of Neiman Marcus Creative Director, Tim Flannery

Poised and Simple with Tim Flannery: Neiman Marcus


Tim Flannery is sharp, distinct and well mannered. As the Creative Director at Neiman Marcus, Tim is constantly surrounded by some of the worlds supermodels during fashion and commercial photoshoots in New York City and Los Angeles.

We are no supermodels – however we were still able to snag him in our photo studio for a brief moment. He graciously spent his evening with us shooting the portrait session you see below.

Thank you, Tim!

 


Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

Lindsay Gets Transparent

Soft to the Touch

Big thank you to Lindsay for being part of this series. They turned out so beautiful, I can’t thank her enough.


Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

Editorial: Pops of Color in Mens Fashion Story Feat. Bo

Contrasting Colors

We dig the multitude of colors in our new mens fashion editorial featuring Bo. Styled by Uel White and grooming by Rick Flores.


Looking for something else? Take a moment to peruse Sergio’s in-depth articles.

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