how to build your portfolio for free {photography business coach}

Hey, you! Have you seen my little video about not working for free or “for exposure” or for “free advertising” or for whatever people try to sell you on in order to NOT have to pay you? If not, check out the video in my Facebook group (and join us while you’re there): Shoot with Passion™ Coaching for Photographers.

It’s not my intention to sound so cynical, by the way. Most people who have asked me to work for free really have had good intentions. They really do think it will be good advertising for me. And, as my Southern sisters would say, “Oh, bless their hearts.”

So, now I can hear you saying, Okay, smarty pants, I REALLY DO need to get advertising and exposure and build my portfolio. You just told me that’s wrong, so what do I do now??

Shoot what you’ve got, babe. You started this business to have the freedom to spend your days how you’d like, right? When you’re out and about living this fabulous life you’ve designed for yourself, shoot what you’re doing and build your portfolio.

On Saturdays, we go to our local farmers market. This time I brought my camera along. Sidenote: macarons aren’t my favorite cookie. However, they are definitely the prettiest to photograph. And I have to say that these are the tastiest I’ve ever had. macarons

Of course your kids are sick of looking and smiling for the camera! Mine are too.

We had a friend over the other day who said, “You’re taking pictures of the birds on your porch?!” My daughter says: Welcome to my life.

Give them a day off. Want to be able to advertise that you’re a “lifestyle” photographer? You still take photos of the little darlings, but make it lifestyle and just catch them in action. It might even spark the idea for a future photoshoot for a client. I’m thinking lemonade stand….fb famers market

And remember when I told you in the video that people cannot translate the idea of one shoot you’re doing to the shoot they want? Their kids, their homes, their weddings, their _______.

That still applies here. People will not see this image of blueberries (although they look so cool, right?) and think, “Ooh, I’ll get her to shoot me and my husband on the beach this summer.” HOWEVER, you’re still building your portfolio and giving yourself credit as an artist. You’re practicing. You’re honing your skills. And, you’re NOT getting burned out on shooting the same thing day in and day out. bluberries blog post

These are our favorite jams from Jackie’s Gourmet. Yes, the blueberry vanilla is already gone–two days later. blog post jamsblog post eggs

Also, when you shoot something different, you’re not giving away the images and your time for free. You’re reminded why you love photography so much.

Finally, when you’re out shooting while you’re living your life, you’re expanding your chance for opportunities. Two vendors asked me for a business card after they saw my big camera and we chatted a bit about being small business owners. You’re building relationships, which will ultimately get you booked.

Go out there, friends, and enjoy your cameras again. Your portfolio will thank you. Are you a part of our Shoot with Passion™ Facebook group? It’s a lovely community of ladies–we talk all about business and getting your businesses focused. And for the gentlemen reading this, I offer private coaching, but you’ll have to start your own Facebook man group. :)

Love, Andrea

Have questions? Get in touch: or 508.768.5808

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Galveston marshes sunset maternity sesh {TX travel photographer}

Hello, friends. Did you celebrate Mother’s Day? My kids are very sweet and are always excited to do fun things for me, but it’s a little bit of a strange holiday to me. My thought is…just treat me like a princess every day. Why just one day a year??

Fortunately for me, my husband is on board with that plan.

So, hold onto your hats, people. For this Mother’s Day weekend, my kids spent it with the grandmas while I worked. On Saturday night, I went down to Galveston for a gorgeous sunset shoot. HERE. #lucky

andrea bacle photography galveston marshesDo you remember these two from their anniversary session? Guess what?? They’ve got a teeny tiny little dude on the way! This glowing momma really wanted to do her shoot on her family’s acreage up north, but when that fell through, I offered up the next prettiest spot I know: the marshes in Galveston. I’ve been wanting to shoot here for a long time, and I’m so excited that it worked out; we were able to wait out the wedding that decorated the tree followed by the proposal with lots of props to get some gorgeous sunset colors. Totally worth it! And oh my, this baby bump. I loooooove it.   

Do you remember their wedding from three years ago? It’s gone by so fast, but I’m guessing I’m going to be posting their little dude’s 5th birthday party pics in a blink of an eye. 

This one is my favorite, and I’m so glad we waited around for some rich sunset-y colors. I was lucky enough to do a shoot with Heidi Hope with my first baby, but I sure wish I had done some like this with baby #2. 

Oh, this makes me miss being pregnant so much. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to talk with a first-time mom-to-be about all things baby.  

Best. Job. Ever.

And now, for the grand finale. This was the last shot of the session–and one of the best!

Beautiful momma, I hope you love these, because I do! Thank you for letting me be a part of such a special time in your lives. Life is about to get crazy and fun and better than you ever thought it could be.

Love, Andrea or 508.768.5808

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Mother’s Day 2017 photography sessions {The Woodlands family photographer}

Hey, friends! Happy Mother’s Day! I’m collaborating with my favorite boss lady, Miss Camille, in Old Town Spring for Mother’s Day photography sessions. Here are the specials I’m offering. All prices include the sessions fees. Of course, we can always do a typical session and gallery view, if you’d prefer.

And great news! My lovely Miss Camille is offering 20% off any item for any client who books a session. Don’t forget to support a fellow small business. If you’ve never visited Old Town Spring, or it’s been a while, it’s a great excuse to walk around and check out the latest with the shops. My next favorite shop is Why Not Toys. I get all of my birthday party gifts from there.

Also, I’ll have an assigned parking spot reserved for you before your session in front of Miss Camille’s, if you’re worried about parking.

I’m booking these sessions through May 21st, 2017. Please call or email to set up a time. or 508.768.5808

And I already know what you really want for Mother’s Day. No, not a few hours to drink wine and then take a nap. You want pictures of your babies, of course! And then the wine and nap….

Digitals specials:mother's day photography sessions Product specials:mother's day photography sessions

Haven’t heard of Miss Camille’s store? Check out her Instagram feed here:

I’ve heard a really cool chick runs the account. :)

And for all of you super fabulous mommas out there, Happy Mother’s Day! I hope your days are filled with the sweet giggles of your babies, unless you’re the same kind of momma I am. If that’s the case, I hope your days are filled with supreme quiet–with the exception of the Netflix shows you choose to binge watch all day.

Love, Andrea or 508.768.5808

PS, I know it sounds crazy, but my summer schedule is already 50% booked. If you’re thinking about doing a session, please don’t wait! xoxo

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Planning the 1st and 8th parties {Preemie Prints volunteer photographer}

Raise your hand if you’re excited for the weekend! I am. I can’t tell you how much I love getting my kids back on Friday afternoons. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be able to write a blog post and drink non-re-microwaved coffee while listening to the unclean Chance the Rapper songs in my jammies in my clean, quiet house. HOWEVER, I would take the chaos of toys covering every square inch of the floor and Kidz Bop songs and short-order-cook requests all day long.

I mentor photog moms (Have we talked about my coaching/mentoring program? More to come on that.) who often think they’ll have all the time in the world to work once the kids are occupied all day at school. I remember telling my friends this very thing last summer. But my point of all this is to say: don’t wish the days away. If you’re in the thick of it and all you can think is, “Once I get these kids to school, life will be easier.” Yes, it will totally be easier and cleaner and quieter. But, it will be a little less joyful in the middle of the day. The best part is that the quality of the time you spend together is that much more appreciated and rich with love and gratitude.

On to this picture, which is like a lovely sun-flare-covered dagger straight to my heart. This could be a photo of my baby girl. It’s like an instant flashback to when she was 8 months old and looked exactly like this. My son even saw it and asked if it was his sister. But she’s not 8 months old. I am about to start planning her 8th YEAR party.


Did I say 8?! The first year of her life was the absolute longest of my life, and now in a blink, she’s almost 8. How can it be?

So this sweet baby girl is not mine. :) She’s one of a pair–my latest set of Preemie Prints twins. If you haven’t heard of them, please check out their blog. I volunteer with them regularly.

And here’s her brother. Good night, this dude is photogenic. He can’t take a bad picture. I love the juxtaposition of the moody, dark background and his handsome, almost smile…with tiny cake crumbs on his forehead and nose.

Overalls, cakes, wagons…what a fun shoot. Sweet family, I hope you have such a fun first birthday party with these two. And take lots of pictures! You’ll be planning the 8th party before you know it.

Love, Andrea

508.768.5808 or

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senior sesh in Lovelady, Tex

Have we talked about senior portraits before?

Ok, shhhh. I’m about to tell you a secret about the thing with me and seniors.

In real life? I love them. I used to teach high school math, I’m the second-in-command for Harvard’s college fairs for the greater Houston area, and I interview 8-10 seniors applying to Harvard every year. That’s my educational zone. I am so excited for kids about to graduate high school, headed out into the great big world.

In photography life? Kinda boring.

Yep, I said it. When it comes to taking pictures, seniors actually do what I ask them to do. Huh?? I LOVE the controlled chaos of toddlers acting like crazy (and fun) maniacs running around a beach and seeing amazed looks on kids’ faces when we find a frog or see the fish at The Waterway. I love the challenge of chasing them around and trying to get genuine smiles from them with my fake sneezes or knock-knock jokes.

I remember when I had one of my first official senior shoots, and I suggested she stand under the tree or sit on a rock, and she happily did it. Um, excuse me? My expectation was that she’d shriek and ask for bubbles.

So, all this is to say that I am very picky with the lovelies I agree to do senior portraits with. For all the ones I’ve shot, I’ve already had a previous relationship with them. Most have been clients that I’ve been shooting and they are finally old enough for senior portraits. I met this gorgeous young lady last summer when I taught her photography and Photoshop at UT for a week-long camp. She is a doll, and when she asked me to drive up to Lovelady to shoot her, I was sooo excited! If you know a teacher, you know there’s nothing more exciting than getting to see a former student she loved.

So, we had a blast. The sun was full up in the sky, but that’s what she wanted. She knows she has a sunny personality, and she wanted it really sunny.

window light senior portraits

Of course I saw this boat and asked if we could put it in the water. When she told me there were lots of snakes under it….”Uh, want to sit on top??”lovelady family land senior upside down boat

Oh, y’know–just driving around on a gator in your graduation gown.lovelady family land senior session

This tree is in front of their house, so I wanted to make sure she’d always be able to see it, even when she’s far from home. family setting lovely senior portraitsbook outside harry potter senior session

burnt wood orange ut senior portraits

ut senior portraits lovelady tx

Sweet girl, I’m so, so excited for you. I know you’ll love Austin and every minute of school. Thank you for asking me to take these for you. I really hope you had a great time, because I did!

Love, Andrea

Future clients, if we do schedule a senior session, be prepared for me to pepper you with gajillions of questions about what your plans are for school, work, life…and then we’ll take a few pics. :)

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Beachtown Village family mini-session {Galveston, Texas beach photographer}

Hey, party people! Are you counting down the days to summer yet? This summer is going to be the best yet for us. It’s going to be a rotating door of packing and unpacking and shaking the sand out of our shorts, if I have anything to say about it. My 6 year old little dude (as of right now) says he wants to be a surfer when he grows up. On the real? I think he might be saying that just because he knows I’d come visit him every day if he lived at the beach. He is still my momma’s baby right now. Fine with me.

So, if you have followed me for a heartbeat, you know how much I love the beach and how much I love Galveston, especially.

Of course I’d rather be in Hawaii, but Texas is pretty fantastic, and Galveston is only 90 minutes away, so we go on vacation at least once a month. And daaaaang, you can get some pretty pictures there–obviously, the most important part of a vacation. And yes, sometimes there is seaweed. But, I think it makes the picture look that much cooler.

This lovely family (my house is also a franchise of the Andrea Bacle Photography galleries I have around this state) met me at sunset at Beachtown for a mini-session so we could get that perfect family shot.

family of four session galveston beachtownfamily sesh galveston east beachgalveston family beach seshWhenever I go somewhere extra fun for kids (playground, beach, etc.), I always love to let the kids run and play after we are officially done. And this is the kind of stuff we usually get. Looooove. blog post andrea bacle at the beach

You know I’ll be up and down the Gulf Coast this summer, so let me know if you want to book a beach session for yourself.

And, my darling family, thanks for a fun and easy shoot, as always. My daughter loves your girls, by the way. She would be happy to adopt S, so she can have a baby sister. :) And thank you for trusting me enough to start later so we could get these gorgeous saturated colors and light.

Love, Andrea or 508.768.5808

P.S. Dear ABP clients, have we talked about mini-sessions before? If you’re wondering if you should schedule one, here’s a blog post to explain what they are with me: What is a mini-session with Andrea?

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Preemie Prints in the bluebonnets {The Woodlands, TX, volunteer photographer}

Hey, friends! Did you get a chance to take any bluebonnet pictures this year? There were so many great spots this season. If you are putting it on your calendar for next year, I really, really encourage you get about an hour outside of Houston towards Brenham or Austin. The beautiful fields of flowers are so worth it. This session is from my latest Preemie Prints volunteer session. We had to reschedule this little man’s session a few times, because we wanted to wait until he was able to sit up on his own. Once he could, what better place to sit a baby up than in the middle of a patch of Texas bluebonnets? Thank you, sweet family, for a fun morning!

bluebonnets preemie prints post 1bluebonnets preemie prints post 2bluebonnets preemie prints post 3bluebonnets preemie prints post 4bluebonnets preemie prints post 5

Here’s an example of a shot I took in Independence, TX, this year. If you’re thinking about bluebonnets for next year, it’s not too early to get on the calendar. :)field of bluebonnets

And here’s one of my two turkeys. I know this probably looks posed, but they really do love each other this much. I think I probably reminded them before I took this that the only thing I ask for in life is for them to pose for pictures for me.


That’s not so much to ask, is it?

independence tx bluebonnets

Love, Andrea

508.768.5808 or

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