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Palm Springs Photo Festival Portfolio Review

I plan to visit the Palm Springs Photo Festival for a portfolio review – please share some insights on what kind of portfolios are still going on – the good old print or digital portfolios. Or mini photo books as leave-behind prints for marketing materials?

Recently, I had the privilege of seeing a room of well-branded reps and how we all had different methods of showing off our talent’s work to potential clients. We each had a unique mix of screens, iPads, and printed portfolios on our own stylized table setup. We all had our own “take home” swag that resembled the feel of our rep agencies. What stands out to me most about this portfolio show was how we mostly had it all in our own memorable style – printed materials/books and motion screens, which sums up the state of our industry.

The Key To Getting More Out of Your MARKETING

The key to getting more out of your MARKETING is to constantly add new work to your portfolio. Give your marketing plan what it needs to get you where you want to go!

What Is Expected At In-Person Portfolio Showings

Q:

What is expected of us these days at in-person portfolio showings? Is there a standard for us to bring, or can we show our website on our computer?

A:

Think about it: this is your one opportunity to show the client you are a skilled pro ready to impress. To stick in their memory make sure you bring options to show it all in a concise professional manner to make it easy and memorable. Our industry is now multileveled, and we have to present ourselves as tech/style specialists with screens for motion and some type of portfolio for stills.

I Want My Portfolio To Feel More Like Me

Q:

I want my portfolio to feel more like me, but it keeps looking like the companies who hire me. I know this is holding me back, but I don’t know how to change this constant process of jobs feeding my portfolio.

A:

Photographers, step one leads to step two. Even those who begin with a clear personalized style path will someday have to balance it to keep the long-term goal in line. The more routine we become, the less artistically inspired it gets. If photographers aren’t testing, the shorter our careers can become. Sorry, cold, hard fact. 

How Many Images Should Be On My Website Portfolio?

Q:

How many images should I be showing on my website portfolio?

A:

My advice with portfolios is not to show too many images if they make you look like 2 or 3 different photographers. Have a strong and cohesive streamline, and fro that, you can show as many as you have on a scroll-down website because the viewers can stop scrolling if they’d like.

Producer vs. Photographer

Q:

I’m a freelance photographer who recently took an in-house photo producer job because my area’s industry has been slow, and I need a steady income to get back on my feet. Did I just set my photo career back by taking a temporary in-house producer job? In the future, will clients hire me as a freelance photographer again after they may see me as a producer?

A:

The plain and simple answer across the board is dependent on your branding, which is dependent on two sticking points:

  • Will you be branding yourself correctly for clients to consider you when looking for a photographer?
  • Will your photo portfolio be strong enough to impress clients?

Making The Most Out Of Zoom Portfolio Reviews

Q:

Do you have advice on preparing for and making the most out of Zoom portfolio reviews? Do photographers create a slideshow that they present and click through? It feels very different and possibly harder to stand out/be memorable than an in-person review.

A:

Make the most of the marketing wave of Zoom calls: 

  • “Catch it while you can” -Clients were over-saturated with portfolio Zoom chats and stopped for a while, so we need to be ready to catch the phase of their return. 
  • We must do whatever we can to stay connected to clients away from the office. 
  • Have an enticing presentation! Be prepared with eye-catching samples explaining your process and how you work. 
  • Make it memorable and as authentically human as possible so they walk away feeling like they met and know you (and will remember you). 

When Is The Right Time To Get a Rep?

Q:

When is the right time to get a rep? 

During portfolio reviews, I’ve had multiple CDs + ADs tell me I need to get a rep. They see that I’ve been unable to get high-quality clients, and they’re telling me a rep would help get me in the door. Their advice sounds so backward from everything I’ve heard. I always hear how we are to seek out a rep when we are too busy with the admin/business and need their help.

A:

I’m glad you asked this because it always sounded strange when I heard the popular theory on getting a rep when you can’t handle all your business alone. My experience has been repping photographers looking for help to open client doors. If you can potentially make more money with a rep on your side, and if the rep can make money with you, it sounds like a win-win! 

Printed Portfolios

Q:

I was curious about your thoughts on printed portfolios. I saw two different posts about this on your IG and website and am very curious about the new trends you’ve seen. What are some new options and ways to meet with potential clients?

A:

I have always seen marketing as “trends.” I remember ‘back in the day’ after the iPad surge when printed portfolios became hot again. It inspired me to bring back old marketing ways because if they worked in the past, they should work again. Today we have a wide variety, making choosing which options to focus on more challenging. Will clients go back to the office? We don’t know, so we can’t wait for that. My trend now is to take the one-by-one personal engagement approach. Clients suffer from Inbox overload, sick of being mass emailed. Let’s call this new marketing stage – be a human.

Building Bigger Productions

Q:

All my work so far has been just me or me and one assistant. I want to start building up to bigger productions. It makes sense to start with a personal test project or two to expand my portfolio, practice working under new conditions, make connections with possible crew members, etc. How do I gradually build up my productions, and in what order should I start adding crew, e.g., prop & wardrobe stylists, HMU, digital tech, producer, etc.? Or does that depend on the specifics of each job?

A:

Production Value is one of our highest industry-level rating metric systems controlling photographers’ careers. Why? Clients want to know what to predict if they hire you. They want to see proof that you can control the outcome of their project and not leave it to a moment of chance. In saying that, we must also incorporate the market’s popular trends toward a natural editorial feel of “realness.” Aside from having a consistent, steady message in your overall portfolio, commercial advertising requires high-quality styling. Whether it’s food, hair/makeup, wardrobe, or props – stylists are the #1 factor in raising the production value of a photographer’s portfolio.