Self Promotion for the Glamour Photographer

© Don Gallion, IFPO/IFMO,
San Angelo, TX

'A large part of the glamour photographer's job is promoting himself. He does it everytime he has a photograph published.' Don Gallion

A large part of the glamour photographer's job is promoting himself. He does it every time he has a photograph published. Just as the glamour photographer needs lights, filters and backdrops for his business, he also needs the tools of self-promotion.


Every glamour photographer must have a portfolio. A portfolio, which inside the industry is often referred to as "your book," is the catalog of your photographic images. Although there are many different styles of portfolios on the market, the most popular is a zippered binder style, containing ace-tate page sleeves for inserting photos.

Keeping the portfolio up to date is es-sential. Use only your best shots and keep it current. Always keep it looking professional. Color photos and black and white photos should be separate. Though it is not necessary to use all the same size photos, all the pages of the portfolio should be the same size. Always keep the portfolio neat.


Photographers, like models, are expected to do 'go-sees,' although we like to call them appointments. At a go-see, the photographer presents himself and his portfolio for the prospective client to "see."

On the day of the go-see, it is important to ap-pear professional and competent. Your next job, as well as your professional reputation may depend upon it.

Other Promotional Tools

My promotional pieces include calendars, 11x17 posters, 6x9 cards (two-sided color), 6-1/2x9 cards (one side b/w photo with bio on back). Anytime I'm able to get my hands on "tear sheets" (published work), I send them to high priority clients. Name credit on published work is one of the best ways to promote your work. If you get name credit, however, you may have to accept a lower fee for the layout. You have to decide which is the most important for your business at that time.
I also use the 6x9 cards as my business card. It is the same as the model's composite, or comp, card.

Unexpected Self Promotion!

Sometimes self-promotion appears in unlikely places. My first big break, a fashion shoot, came when I was asked to photograph a new line of swimsuits. It was to be shot outside at night and I had to locate a male model who resembled the television character from the then-current TV show, "Miami Vice."

We decided to shoot in front of the client's business, which was located in the busiest parking lot in the city, next door to the most popular night club in town.

On a very cool February night, I set up my equipment in the parking lot. The studio lights were set up with the umbrellas. When the modeling lights were turned on, the umbrellas were illuminated, drawing attention to the site.

Cars were parking in a semi-circle behind my camera position. The crowd of cars and people reminded me of a drive in movie. Cars were stopping and blocking traffic and the passengers were getting out and sitting on top of the cars to get a better view.

The scene became more exciting when the Rolls-Royce for the shoot rolled in and stopped in position. I began testing the lighting setup. When the flashes started, the night club began to empty and more cars stopped. There were over two hundred people watching my first glamour session!
One hour and three swimsuit changes later, the session was over.

A long, successful night in the dark room and my first of many future layouts was born.
When the layout was published in the newspaper and magazines, everyone knew who the photographer was. If they weren't there to see it photographed, they heard about it from someone who was - unexpected Self Promotion!