Portrait Parties: The Power and the Purpose

Portrait parties are not dead. They might seem awkward, and probably will be without good planning, but there are numerous reasons why you should consider a portrait party as a way to stimulate growth in your company.

There are many factors that would lead you to consider having a portrait party in your area. One might be a big move. This is common when photographers move to a new area or change their business focus. Another reason that is highly popular is for up-and-coming photographers. New to the business, new to the area, and new to the experience isn’t an excuse not to get your name out there.

Despite your reasons for considering a portrait party, here are a few factors to think about as you start your planning process. Planning is so, so crucial and will set the tone for the event before it is even scheduled.

1. Set Goals

Set a goal for the party. What is the purpose? The purpose should always be business-guided and not self-guided.

Making sure to set goals will help drive the direction of the whole setting. From the beginning, figure out why you need to do a portrait party and what you expect the outcome to be. Don’t go into it just hoping for the best. Have goals in place for what you want to accomplish for this party and even set goals post-party. How are you going to share the results on social media? What kind of attention do you plan to gain from this whole experience?

2. Spread the Word; Spread the Interest

Things don’t happen on their own. You have to invest some time and effort is spreading knowledge about the event. This is especially important for those who are new the business or new to the area in which are throwing the party. It gets your name around, gets the party moving and you have to be fueling the fire up until the day of the event. People have a tendency to forget someone’s name who they don’t recognize.

Show interest and excitement in your own event. You might be terrified and just trying to keep your head while planning it, but people should believe that you are so excited for this- because it influences them to be excited too. Interest won’t spark itself and if this is a completely new idea for you, odds are it is completely new for the people you’re inviting too. Keep that in mind and stay positive about it.

3. Don’t Give Too Much Away

Time, energy, food, and portraits in our case are still valuable. Just because you need to get your name and your business out to the public doesn’t mean we have to strip everything back and give it away for free.

It’s important that you still value your time and energy or people will quickly learn that they can take advantage of you. Think of a portrait party this way- consider it an interview. You are interviewing the entire town and they are interviewing you too. No pressure, right?

Don’t be persuaded into doing something you didn’t plan on doing, don’t give time or services for free, and don’t go overboard on food or things you might be adding with money out of your own pocket.

4. Invite Influencers

This is your chance to open up the floor and open local celebrities. Mayors, council members, school board members, business owners and more are all highly important people and you will want these people to know your face and name.

Plus, if someone important decides they want to attend a party for a new photographer in the area, that influence will work in your benefit every time.

Another great benefit to inviting those who are well-known in the town or city is that they get to see your work and how professional you are but, truth be told, they are also the best at small talk and will help the conversations flow smoothly throughout the event.

A portrait party might seem like a big investment of energy, resources (which may be sparse to begin with) and time. In all honesty, it is a full affair, but if done well, it will pay itself back time and time again as you start planting your businesses seeds in a new town with a new crowd.

If you want to learn more about how to throw your own portrait party, listen to our definitive guide to throwing a portrait party podcast episode. It offers juicy details about how to make your own party stand out and bring your clients, income, and recognition within your community.