Get Your Start in Brand Photography: Should You Shoot for Free?

Should you shoot for free to get your start in brand photography? This is a question I get a lot in my one-on-one mentor sessions. Photographers looking to transition into the personal branding space always want to know how to start creating a new portfolio. And the first thing that usually comes to mind is giving away free sessions.

So, is shooting for free a smart move? Well, my answer to that question is this: It depends. Even if you’re new to brand photography, shooting for free isn’t your only option. Before you resort to free shoots, try offering a discounted session or pitching a brand willing to take a chance on a newbie. These are great ways to get your first shoot under your belt.

Still, there are some times, especially when you want to get your start in brand photography, you actually should shoot a branding session for free. Here’s my list of the top three reasons to give away a free photoshoot!


1. To build your portfolio.

One way to get started when you have absolutely no brand photography experience is to do a shoot for free. The stakes are low, so if you’re still learning, that’s okay! Free sessions allow you to build your confidence and test your skills.  

2. It’s equally beneficial for you and the client.

If you want to add a new profession to your brand photography portfolio, you can contact a brand in that field and offer a free shoot. Or you might choose to shoot a session for free in exchange for a brand’s services. Lastly, you may want to provide a free branding shoot to a client who could be a powerful networking connection for your business.

3. You want to pay it forward.

There is nothing like helping other businesses succeed! As photographers, we have the power to make someone’s day by giving them a free session. While I only do so on special occasions, I sometimes gift a session to someone in need.

Whether you’re brand new to this photography space or working to grow your business, I hope these tips help! Remember, even if you’re working to get your start in brand photography, giving away free sessions isn’t the only way to get your foot in the door.

Still, sometimes, especially for the reasons I’ve mentioned, shooting for free can be a good idea. It can even strengthen your business! If you’re a photographer new to brand photography, stop by my personal brand photographer’s shop for valuable resources! I would also love to help you grow your business with my mentor sessions.


  1. hello …would love to learn from you

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