3 Ways to Grow Your New Photography Business

When you start shooting, you want to fill up your calendar with creative sessions and ideal clients. However, it can be tough to grow your new photography business, and those perfect clients and shoots don’t always come easily. We sat down with Denise from Denise Marie Photos, an Oregon turned Arizona photographer who committed to photography full-time just a year ago. However, she’s quickly become one to watch. She talked to us about growing her new photography business and what helps her stand out in the industry.

“It’s an opportunity and an honor that I can’t always put into words, just how much it means that people trust me to capture their special moments.”
Denise's travel photography in Paris
Denise Marie family photography shot

1. Utilize Social Media

Instagram and photography go hand-in-hand, making this platform the perfect place to share your portfolio and gain new leads. Denise, who has over 7,500 followers on the app, utilizes Instagram to show her work, her photoshoot personality/style and editing skills. Wondering how to boost your portfolio and social media presence? Denise says that to build her portfolio she, “did a lot of free shoots and still if there’s an ideal shoot, I shoot for free.” Free shoots give you the content you need to advertise to the clients you want.

An outdoor shoot by Denise Marie

Besides Instagram, there’s another platform she now uses to grow her business even more: TikTok! While you may be familiar with TikTok for viral dances and funny videos, it’s quickly becoming a favorite platform for photographers and entrepreneurs. Denise has over 45,000 followers on TikTok and has booked 5 weddings through the app alone. She posts behind-the-scenes videos of her shoots with the final, edited shots mixed in. She says it’s a great way to show people how fun her sessions are, and that you don’t need to be a professional model to have amazing photos taken.

2. Get All Of Your Ducks In a Row

Starting off as a new photographer, you might not be set up to scale your business in the future. Denise’s biggest piece of advice to new photographers is to get all of your ducks in a row before you get busy shooting. “Even with the passion and the purpose behind it, I still have to grind and can get burnt out,” Denise says. She recommends investing in education and organization to not get overwhelmed and stay inspired. Denise uses Iris to stay organized and save time. 

“I no longer have to have 3 calendars; I don’t have to have a bulky planner anymore.”

Before Iris, Denise didn’t have a good system in place to keep clients happy and her calendar organized. She was always worried about double booking herself or losing her client notes that make her shoots so personal and fun. Now that she has all of her client information in one spot, and a professional calendar that syncs to her personal one, Denise can focus her energy on shooting, editing and making her clients’ experiences magical. She raves about how Iris gives her clients an “easy, simple experience from the time that they fill out the contact form on my website to receiving their gallery.” You can try Iris for yourself and get organized with our free 14 day trial!

Denise uses fun props to add personality to shoots
A snapshot from a personal branding session
A maternity photo session from Denise Marie

3. Invest in Education

“Invest in education, it’s so important to always be furthering your education.”

To keep innovating and improving your business, it’s important to keep up your photography education. There are so many incredible photogs in the industry that teach shooting, posing, editing and more. Denise is even an educator herself, and she found a unique way to keep up with teaching during the pandemic. She started a five week long Zoom class to teach online at an affordable price. Like any investment, do some research before you make a decision. Check out a few before spending to see what would be best for you and your business. Asking for recommendations is also a great idea! If you are looking for peer advice, we have an incredible network of creatives in our Iris User Group on Facebook where you can get feedback.

Denise’s advice to others is one that she consistently gives back to herself. She emphasizes, “You need to evaluate your ‘why’…you have to love what you’re doing with all of your being.” Focus on what makes you passionate about photography to avoid burnout and enjoy growing your business. Education will not only make you a better photographer, but it can also inspire you and reinvigorate your passion for the business.

A milk bath maternity shot from Denise Marie


Check out more of Denise’s work!

Website: https://denisemariephotos.com
Instagram: @denisemarie.photos
TikTok: @denisemarie.photos

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