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How To Write a Stand-Out Photography Proposal

Marketing11 mins
Brendan Connaughton|Updated Dec 20, 2023
Woman with DSLR and laptop

Writing a photography proposal can feel like trying to capture the perfect sunrise. No matter how much experience you have, whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, the challenge remains the same. How do you create a proposal that highlights your unique style and skills and resonates with your clients?


Your proposal is much more than just a list of services and prices. It's a chance to tell your story and show what sets you apart.


In this guide, we'll show you what your proposal should include and how to ensure it stands out to prospective clients, showcasing all your talent and hard work.

What is a photography proposal?

A photography proposal is a personal presentation showing what you can do and how it fits the client's needs. It's not just about quoting the price but also about giving an impression of your unique style and the value you bring.

It clearly describes the services offered, like corporate event coverage, professional headshots, social events, or product photography. These details are crucial because photographers need to ensure that everyone understands what to expect from the start so there are no surprises later. The proposal should include the number of hours of coverage or allotted for the shoot, how many shots will be sent over and how many final, edited photos the customer can expect as well as all of the pricing details including travel time, extra editing or expedited turnaround times.

The photography proposal can also be a small exhibition of a photographer's work. It's a chance to show off your best photos and demonstrate how your eye for photography and professional skills go together. The proposal reflects who you are, what your brand stands for, and your experience.

Steps to writing a photography proposal: key elements to include

A good professional photograph proposal should combine artistic flair, professional skills, and understanding the client's wishes.

1. Design a stunning cover page

The cover page of your photography proposal is the first impression you make. It's important that it catches the customer's eye and gives them a taste of what's to come.

This should start with a great image. Choose a photo that matches your style and the job you're applying for. Next, add your company name and logo. Place these in a prominent place on the page. A professional-looking logo will make your offer appear more credible and polished.

The quality of your cover page is crucial, especially if you want to print it out. Ensure the printed or digital copy looks sharp, with no blurry or pixelated images.

2. Write a personal introduction

This is where you tell your client a little about who you are and why you love photography.


Your introduction should be warm and inviting. Think about what makes your photography stand out. Are you good at capturing spontaneous moments that tell a story? Or are you particularly good at taking slick, polished magazine-style images? Or maybe your specialty is product photography. This is the perfect time to let your unique personality shine through.


The way you introduce yourself establishes the tone for the rest of your proposal. It's not just about making an excellent first impression; it's about building a connection.


3. List your photography services

After your warm introduction to the photography proposal, it's time to discuss your services.


Start by describing each service. For example, if you photograph corporate events, tell how you capture the essential parts of those events. Explain how you photographed the speakers, the people networking, and the general atmosphere of the event.

It's imperative that you clearly state what each service entails. By being transparent, you can avoid confusion later on and build trust right from the start.

4. Showcase your portfolio

Your portfolio is like a storybook where each photo tells a story. These images show your style, skills, and how you see things through your camera.


Choosing the right images for your portfolio is very important. You should choose photos that match what the client is looking for. For a corporate event, you should include pictures from similar events you have already photographed. And if the client wants portraits, choose ones that show how well you capture people's personalities.


Make sure your portfolio is up-to-date and well-organized. This shows you are actively involved in your work and passionate about it.


5. Outline the project timeline

Here, you tell your client what will happen and when. First, you need to set the date for the photo shoot. Setting this date is essential, whether it's a corporate event, a portrait session, or a product photo shoot. That way, everyone knows when the big day is, and everyone can prepare for it.

Include details like when you will arrive, how long it will take for you to set up, and if you need access to electricity or somewhere to charge a light or backup battery. You should also outline any breaks you will need and when you will tear down any equipment you've set up.

After the shoot, your clients will be eager to see your hard work. Let them know when they can expect to see the first draft. The last step in your timeline is the final handover of the images. This is when your client will receive the finished, edited pictures. Be realistic when you set this date. Think about how much time you need for editing to get everything right. Better to over-deliver than over-promise!


6. Detail the pricing structure

Start by explaining your usual prices and payment terms. This includes how much you charge for different photo shoots or events.

Photography often comes with additional costs. This could be travel costs for a shoot in a faraway location, special equipment for a unique photo, or additional costs for printed photos or albums. You must mention these costs in your quote. Again, transparency equals trust here.

7. Include testimonials and references

When you include testimonials from past clients in your proposal, it's like a group of supporters vouching for your work. It's not just saying what you can do. It's about showing real stories of how you've made other customers happy. Social proof holds a lot of sway, especially when people make big decisions.

You must choose the right testimonials. Look for feedback that highlights your strengths. Maybe a client praises your creativity, professionalism, or how you perfectly captured their special moment. These are the kinds of comments that will appeal to future clients. If the job aligns closely with the one you are proposing for, all the better.

8. Close with a call to action

This is your chance to encourage potential customers to contact you to talk more about the offer or book your services.


When you write this part, use words that are welcoming and confident. You're not pushing them to decide immediately but opening the door and inviting them in. For example, you could say, "I'm excited to hear what you think about this proposal and how we can make your vision a reality. I'll shoot you a note to get your thoughts next week." This is friendly and shows you're looking forward to talking to them.


Then, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you. Include your phone number, email, or a link to your website or social media accounts.

Example of a photography project proposal template

Qwilr’s photography proposal template helps you land clients with a visually appealing and persuasive document. It can be easily edited to reflect your style and to include all the information we’ve covered above. And, of course, it can save you a huge amount of time!

In the template you'll find the following sections that you can customize:

  • Executive Summary: Start strong with a brief overview of your offering. This is your chance to make a great first impression, quickly showing your clients the value you'll bring to their projects.
  • The Challenge: Here, talk about the specific challenges your client faces. It's about showing you understand their needs and are ready to meet them with your photography skills.
  • Your Priorities: In this section, align your services with what's most important to your client. Whether capturing a special event or telling a brand story, show how your photography meets their needs.
  • Photography Project Plan: Detail the steps you'll take to bring the project to life. Combine the practical logistics with your creative approach.
  • How We Can Help: Highlight how your skills and experience make you the perfect choice for this project. Show the value and difference you can bring.
  • What Success Looks Like: Describe what a successful outcome will be. Give your client a preview of the great results you're aiming for.
  • Recent Client Wins: Share your recent successes. This builds confidence and trust, showing that you promise great results and have delivered them before.
  • Our Team: If you work with others, introduce your team here. Show off the skills and expertise each person brings.
  • Your Investment: Be transparent about the cost of your services. This part is about being upfront with prices and what they include, avoiding surprises.
  • Next Steps: Encourage your client to take the next step with you. This is a gentle prompt for them to move forward in working together.
  • Conclusion: End your proposal with a note reinforcing your excitement and readiness to start. Leave your client feeling enthusiastic about what's to come.

FAQs

What's the best format for a photography proposal?

The best format for a photography proposal is visually rich, clear, and concise. It should clearly outline your services, showcase your previous work, and highlight your unique style. Ensure your proposal has a clear layout, eye-catching images, and easy-to-read sections.

What is the ideal length for a photography proposal?

The best length for a photography proposal is usually between 2 and 5 pages. It must be short enough to be easily readable but long enough to cover all the essential details. The most important thing is that you present all the necessary information clearly and in an engaging way without making it too long or overwhelming for your client.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a photography proposal?

When writing a photography proposal, you should beware of a few common mistakes. Firstly, you should be clear about your services and how much they cost. It's also important to tailor each proposal to the individual client – a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work well.

Don't forget to showcase your unique style and discuss your past successes; this will allow clients to see what you can do. Finally, ensure your offer is well structured and ends with a clear call to action that invites the customer to take the next step.

What's the best way to follow up with a client after sending a photography proposal?

After you've sent your photography proposal, you should give your client a few days to review it. Then, you can send them a friendly and professional email or call them. This shows that you're genuinely interested in working with them, giving them time to consider your proposal. This is also an excellent opportunity to answer questions and discuss the next steps.

Final thoughts

From a clear pricing structure to testimonials, every part of your proposal helps build a connection with your clients. It's about making an offer that is clear and engaging, showing your passion and skill. We hope this article has given you the confidence you need to go and create your own.

And if you're looking for a way to make your proposals even better, Qwilr makes creating beautiful, professional offers easy with our photography proposal template. They will keep you on track with everything yours should include, help you win business, and give you more time to spend behind the view-finder, less time behind the computer!

About the author

Brendan Connaughton, Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan Connaughton|Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan heads up growth marketing and demand generation at Qwilr, overseeing performance marketing, SEO, and lifecycle initiatives. Brendan has been instrumental in developing go-to-market functions for a number of high-growth startups and challenger brands.