Tips + Techniques

A Mad Men-Inspired Shoot + Tips to Grow Your Portrait Business

May 1, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

© Lisa Buck

Lisa Buck likes a sophisticated look in her photography and typically doesn't use props -- although she made an exception for this Mad-Men inspired shoot.

When senior portrait season is over, it’s time for Lisa Buck to get creative. The Minnesota portrait photographer created this Mad Men-inspired shoot to get her creative juices flowing with something entirely different. 

Lisa Buck, who describes her style as “clean and timeless,” began her photography business when her kids were in high school and in need of senior portraits. Since then, her business has come primarily from referrals, and summertime, the high season for senior portraits, is her busiest time of year. Now, she is ready to branch even more into personal branding and headshots, and when she caught up with Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast, Nikki gave her lots of great tips for how to grow her business. You’ll find Nikki’s business tips at the end of this article, but first we’ll hear from Lisa about her Mad Men-inspired shoot. 

© Lisa Buck

The Mad Men Aesthetic 

Lisa created this shoot to celebrate the working women of the 60s. She found the green dress with the 60s vibe and vintage makeup case at a thrift store. Then, she needed to find the right model. Fortunately, she met Audrey. Lisa asked her to evoke “a confident, young woman starting her career – with dreams of the future.” For the closeup, she asked for “the hint of a mischievous smile.” 

Lisa used black seamless paper and one light (a Profoto B10) bounced into a large umbrella with a diffuser to achieve the soft, flattering light that is the anchor for her work.

© The Portrait System Podcast

Business Tips from The Portrait System Podcast 

Lisa Buck is ready to grow her business now, and she got some great tips from Nikki Closser during her visit to The Portrait System Podcast. Here are a couple of them. 

  1. Many photographers feel like they need to make justifications when they raise their prices, but you don’t need to do that. When your hairdresser raises her prices, she doesn’t get into the rising price of hair dye, and neither do you need to get into the details. Simply say what you are offering with confidence and leave it at that. If someone doesn’t want to pay your price, release them with love. 
  1. When you expand your business into other genres, be sure to reach out to the people you’ve photographed before who know how great your service is. Let them know how you are growing and offer them a gift voucher toward your new service. If you send 125 emails, you might hear back from five, ten, or maybe 20 people. Some people might not sign up right away, but you could hear them farther down the line. 
  1. Use strong images wherever you can on your website. For people who don’t know us and our work, we only have a few seconds to impress them enough to keep them on our websites. Impress them right away. Don’t make them poke around to find your best images. On a related note, you only need five to ten great images to start a website, create marketing materials, and start charging. Don’t delay getting started. You can jump in the game right away. 
  1. Nikki also shared about the power of marketing, which you can find out more about in her The Personal Branding System

    “>Personal Branding Course and in the full podcast

The Personal Branding System

Outdoor and On-Location Photography: How To Take Amazing Portraits- Anywhere! with Nikki Closser

Get More Clients: Effective Marketing for Photographers

Branding Client Prep Guide Template