Skip to main content

photo & video

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 11 of 19

Marketing: Websites and Portfolios

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

11. Marketing: Websites and Portfolios

Lesson Info

Marketing: Websites and Portfolios

marketing. I said this earlier, and I'll say it again. It's the big guy role of the industry. When somebody says, you know, you have to do your marketing, I just go okay, because I want to be shooting. I want to be creating. I want to be doing, um, you know, I want to be doing photography, but this actually is photography. It's a big part of our business, and marketing is a lot like connecting in that way with your portrait subject. You have to reach people. You have to figure out how to get to them. The bad news is that I'm sure that the answers you're probably gonna put it up on your website, right? Nobody is looking at your website. That's the very, very sad reality. But it's true. No one's looking at mine. Nobody's looking at yours unless we ask somebody to go to it. There's just too many websites out there. They're too many photographers. There's editor's art buyers, creative directors. They do not have time to just start searching the Web and looking for things they have to. You ...

have to give them a reason to be drawn into your website so one of things I want to talk about today is when you're ready and you have your website up, how are you going to get these people, too, to get that right? So that's gonna be when we're talking about Romo's and portfolios. So we're talking about Portfolio's. What's the difference between a website and a portfolio? I don't think there's a difference anymore. There's it's just the times have changed. If you're gonna choose and you're gonna invest in yourself, I say Make something special, make something that stands out when it's on the desk of an editor or an art buyer. Now, when you make that book, don't just throw in things that you think everybody wants to see. You have to put in here the work you want to get hired to, to make it's that simple. I shot events for 100 years. It paid the bills. It was awesome, and I was able to take that and then, you know, focus on the work that I wanted to dio. There has never been nor there ever will be a event photo on my Web site anywhere because that's not what I want. Dio the other thing going back to that bad news fact that nobody's looking at our websites. Mine mine. I'm in the same boat as you guys. So how do we contact those people? You have to do it. You have to send out emails. You have to give people a reason to look at your website. So the best plan and my approach is every couple months I make, you know, be making new work. And I put together an email and I'm really guilty of this myself. Like I'm the first person to say It has been a long time since I've sent out a promo email, and it's been on my to do list its that its that thing on the to do list that just keeps getting pushed to the next day. Next day, next day. So you make work and you put it in an email, and you have to send it to people you have. So there are lots of ways to do it now. You could do the research. Um, there's two ways there's the targeted emails where you find the people you really want to work for, so you know, let's say you want to shoot for J. Crew and Brooks Brothers and the Gap. Maybe that's your jam, right? Maybe you want to shoot for Vanity Fair, Esquire, whatever. So you find the editors a creative directors, the people that the decision makers at those magazines and you target your email to that. You put the work in that email that represents work that you think they would be interested in. But again, I'm not saying put in work that looks like what they dio because they already have that work. So it's your work that you think would be something fresh for them, something that is your point of view. So that's the targeted one, and you do it every couple of months. You don't wanna be annoying because, I mean, we all get spam, right? You just you know, you just have to acknowledge what's the right amount of time. So maybe it's every time you have new work. Maybe that's every four months. I hope it's more than that. I hope that your you use it as a motivation to create new work. Maybe it's every month. That's that's borderline a lot to get an email from somebody every month, however, out of sight is out of mind. Advertising changes all the time, and you never really know. Sometimes a brand is doing something lifestyle, and then the next thing you know they're doing still life, right? You never know. So if you're still life photographer, how do you know who is looking for one? Well, you don't. So you just send it out to everybody. And then when? Let's say Levi's decides they want to start doing still life. Well, I bet they have some bookmarks. Still life photographers that have sent them stuff before, right? Same thing with Portrait's. It's no different. You just never know. I'm trying, you know, Absolut vodka, for example. Sometimes they shoot, uh, just the bottle on a table. Sometimes they do their weird funky Ah, you know those iconic Absolut ads, and sometimes they do lifestyle where it's people at a dinner table. You just never know. So you really should push your workout and let it be seen. I think that's really important. So many movies over here, So when you're emailing this people and you're trying to drive them to your site, I do think it's important to also try to make a connection. Obviously, that's what we dio portrait photographers. Ah, try to meet them, you know, and everyone's very busy. And it's increasingly more difficult to get meetings with people. Which is why I started attending portfolio reviews. There are free ones, and there are paid ones. Uh, my attitude about them is it's unfortunate that you have to pay, but that's where we are. If I wanted to get a meeting with 10 photo editors in one day, I would never happen if I want to get a meeting with 10 photo editors were probably taking six months. Maybe because these guys are busy there. Really, they don't have time to see every photographer that wants to meet them, right? So portfolio reviews what that is. You guys are familiar with portfolio reviews. Okay, so not every Okay, so let make Sorry, let me explain. A portfolio review is this is a place. Um, it's it's put together by, uh, like the New York Times has one. And then there's also paid that one's a free one where you have to be accepted and they're paid ones where you apply, you get accepted, and then what happens is you pay for meetings, so I let that by 10 meetings. That means I then get to pick the 10 people, the reviewers, people that are going to review my book. I get to pick my meetings with them so I could have the opportunity to meet with the creative director of J. Crew or the photo editor at The New York Times or the photo editor at Vanity Fair. That means that I am I bought or but regardless, I now have 15 or 20 minutes. Whatever the A lot of time is to sit down and present myself and my work to that person who I want to hire me. You know, there's a lot of photographers in the world now, and there's a lot of really beautiful work. So there are other factors at play here, especially when the work is equal. And I think that have when you have the opportunity to sit in front of an editor and they know Oh well, if I send him to go shoot the CEO, you know of of del No, I am on the computer thing right now, but I know that that she is not going to embarrass us as as a brand. I know that she's gonna represent us well, and I know that she's gonna come back with good work. I think that's really important, which is why I think portfolio reviews are a good idea. I know that paying for them is unfortunate because we should be able to meet with these people. But times have changed. People's times is, you know, people schedules are busier and busier, and it's almost impossible to get these types of meetings one on one anymore. So these air great, This is the opportunity now. This is what exists for us. So I think you should take it, take it and think of it as an investment in yourself because that's what it is.

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

Full-length class: Portraits Under Pressure with Victoria Will

SUBSCRIBE TO CREATOR PASS and cue up this class and other FAST CLASS classes anytime.


  • Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
  • Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
  • Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
  • Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors


Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.

Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.

You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.


The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Gear List

Reference Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes