How to Book Photography Clients You Actually Want to Work With

It’s one thing to work on paid gigs and make a decent amount of money and quite another thing to actually work with your dream clients. Mango Street has a three-pronged suggestion if you want to take the next step forward and start pitching to the clients you really want to work with:

Styled Shoots

Paid gigs are great for contributing to the cash flow of a business. But they aren’t always the assignments where you can show your full creativity.

how to get your dream clients

Take the risk and invest in some time and money to do some styled shoots. Styled shoots are similar to paid gigs except here you have complete control over every aspect of the shoot. These styled shoots will help you build a strong portfolio for yourself. The kind of portfolio that will help you pitch for work that you love doing.


Be selective about what you put in your portfolio.

building your portfolio

Your portfolio isn’t merely a snapshot of the work you’ve done in the past; it’s a sort of wish-list of the type of work that you want to do. Be choosy. Only represent work that you take a lot of pride in and want to do more of. Leave everything else out.

“The key to transitioning into only shooting what you want is only showing what you want.”

You may have to create pages for work that you do for other clients. These need not be shown to all your prospective clients.

Spec Work and Cold Emailing

Be creative in your cold emailing approach. Instead of using words and vanilla graphics, try something new. Mango Street suggests selecting a number of medium sized enterprises that aren’t effectively using Instagram. Then shoot 6 to 9 photos of their products.

how to spec and cold-email

Arrange these photos on a screenshot of their Instagram profile and send these to the clients to show what it could potentially look like.

This is a lot of work, indeed. But it’s a much better pitch than a standard cold email. You could also pitch directly to social media managers of brands that you want to work with and offer to create content for the brands they manage.

What other approaches have worked for you?

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