Let be honest, any first year photography major can create a single salable portrait of an attractive person.  Call it luck or limited skill, but if you shoot enough images accidents can happen.  This is the reason why so many potential clients get ripped off by less than qualified photographers offering cheap prices.  These unqualified photographers show potential clients a few decent individual photographs they have taken of different people at different times.  They don’t tell the potential clients they had to take 750 images to get this one decent photo!

As a professional photographer a session or wedding isn’t a “one hit wonder” but a collection of beautiful images, done in different poses with different expression.  They are all beautiful, it just comes to down to the client’s personal taste as to which poses and expressions are best.  This is what sets us apart from them.  If this is what sets us apart, why then do we display our portraits the same way they do?

For years now I have encouraged potential clients to look at entire sessions, not just single images. This is even more important for wedding photographers.  Suggest they look through several sample albums to see the true quality of the work of any photographer.  In the studio we will put up a single image of a senior, but then we add a collage of smaller images showing every pose in her session.  Only a true profession can create “order-worthy” images of every pose they take.  Show off your skill and talent.  Showcase what you can do that the untrained masses can’t.

If you look through your sessions and find you don’t want to show your potential clients all the poses in the sessions, you have some work to do.  You need to work on developing your skill to a point that you can honestly and proudly show everything.  Some newer photographers say I bash new photographers and I truly don’t.  I encourage new photographers to learn from successful people and don’t work with clients until they know what they are doing (which can takes years, not months or weeks!)  We all started somewhere and we are all at different skill levels, but the client should pay the price for someone’s training or be lied to about the quality of work they can expect to receive.  There are many photographers that claim to be “artists” that cannot show all the poses they take of any given session, because many of them are not professional quality.  There are wedding photographers that show absolutely beautiful bridal portraits, but don’t want to show complete wedding albums because they kinda suck!

Learn how to market, shoot and sell your portrait photography at a my Workshop PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY SUCCESS on June 11, from 4pm to 9pm, Fresno, Ca. Click for more information:


~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 27, 2012.


  1. Always nice to see new images. Your ability to consistently bring all the elements together to create soft portraits is amazing. I notice that her clothing really compliments the backgrounds well. I’m paying much more attention to that now. I also see in the second image how you used an obstruction (other than just her arm) to hide her waistline (not that she needed it :)) while at the same time adding elements to the foreground and background giving the shot more dimension. It is no doubt these subtle elements that make the difference between amateur and professional. Thanks for helping me to see.

    • Actually I think I see what you’re doing in her case, hiding the exposed naval area while at the same time showing some flesh…. nice.

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