A photograph of a friend
The photographer’s portfolio is worth more than any qualification, degree or association of letters. It is the summation of their talent, the culmination of their career to this day.
What a shame that so many photographers treat their ‘book’ with disdain, almost as if it is too much trouble to update. This is nothing short of commercial suicide. Imagine how any high street chain would suffer if they ignored their shop window display. The portfolio IS your shop window, whether it is a folder of prints or a website gallery. You need to dress it to impress.
Building a portfolio is the first step in any photographer’s career, and it is often the hardest. Getting good quality photographs to show potential clients is the sure fire key to success. Qualifications don’t matter a hoot when all the client is interested in is how good is your work. If you have not completed many assignments, this can be a catch 22 situation.
When I started out I was only interested in fashion photography. My idols at the time were Bailey, Donovan and Newton, so I needed a hell of a lot of practice which required lots of models and no money to hire them. I did, however, know a few friends who were photogenic and happy to be photographed in return for a few prints (and loads of encouragement). Read the rest of this entry »
Don't let your subject get stressed
We live in a world where people communicate remotely, over social networks and digital communication, emails and text. There are some businesses, like internet services, that never meet their clients face-to-face. Photography is very different, especially the kind that photographs people. That makes you a very special kind of social networker with a very special responsibility.
Most people don’t like having their photograph taken; it makes them uncomfortable and often shy. To overcome this natural aversion requires special skills from the photographer. It is a skill that is difficult to teach, because it is related to personality and confidence, which are nurtured.
We can easily detect when someone we meet appears nervouse or unsure about themselves. Their body language shows it, and they avoid direct eye contact. These have to be addressed before you can start taking pictures of them. You need to understand how to make them feel comfortable, and to trust you, long before you pick up the camera and point it at them. Read the rest of this entry »
Photographer and client with portfolio
This is your on-line portfolio, your presentation and sales tool, your public exhibition. It is without doubt the most important asset that any photographer can have. Before you can hope to get a commission from anyone you will have to present your photographs to potential clients for them to see if they like your work.
In the ‘old’ days you would drive to every potential client and take your portfolio with you, and there were no guarantees that you would even get the assignment, so this was an expensive but essential part of the photographer’s unpaid work (unless you were very lucky and successful enough to have an agent). Read the rest of this entry »