So, I’m gathering photos for a portfolio review in LA that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I don’t have the best taste in my mouth when in comes to this type of thing………..reviews, conventions, contests, etc.. I mean, where do they really get you? Are they valuable? The past couple of things I’ve attended of this nature haven’t exactly left me feeling like they were worth my time and effort. I’d rather just put my head down and do my work. But, this is perhaps coming from the perspective of a woman that now has work and is more focused on that output rather than self promotion.
Hmmmmmmm, this attitude could get me in trouble, no?
I’ve recently been making a bigger effort to return to the self promotion front for several reasons. One, I just heard myself in that last sentence and I’ve heard that voice before. Can’t I just do my work without having to promote myself all the time?! I really don’t like self promotion. My instincts, which one should always listen to, say no. No you can’t Britt. You will be self promoting your entire career. Deal. So, there’s that. Secondly, I am charging into new territory professionally (lifestyle/advertising photography) and I shouldn’t devalue the role that reviews, conventions, contests, getting published and basically just reaching out anywhere I could played in the building of the side of my career that’s currently thriving (wedding photography).
Back in 2008 I started my career in the wedding industry as a wedding photographer and if I squint my eyes and think really hard, I can remember how I built that business. I have this nasty little habit of only looking forward to whatever carrot is currently dangling rather than looking back, so this is challenging. But I remember some things. I attended everything I could. I soaked up all the advice possible. I showed my work to any audience available. And slowly but surely my shotgun approach got more and more refined to the point where I am now….hitting a very specific demographic who appreciates my voice and the way I work. That took several years and it’s easy to forget those efforts. I’m very thankful that I now have a better idea of where to focus my energy instead of flailing about the way I did in the beginning. So now, here I am, with that experience behind me…..I’m not totally green…..but I’m heading again into uncharted waters. I don’t know exactly how to get the clients I want in this other side of my work. I have definitely learned about broad concepts such as voice, inspiration, work ethic, drive, respect for yourself, blah blah blah, from what I’ve built thus far. But in some ways I’m starting anew.
So here we are, a portfolio review. I need some expert feedback. I need the right clients. I need an agent. Here’s where I am, having been photographing this kind of work for years now alongside the wedding photography. The LAFotoWorks Portfolio Review sounds promising. With reviewers from the likes of power house agencies such as Art Department, Giant and Nouvelle Vague, I’m feeling optimistic about the value of this thing…..I’m excited to get my work in front of some experienced eyes. I’m hoping to either get a healthy dose of you suck and you aren’t ready or love your work, here’s what’s next. I’m prepared for both or any gray areas in between. So, I’m in. I’ve decided to expose myself to judgement and scrutiny……..I’ll be massaging my fragile ego in the weeks to come……..now comes the task of preparing 50 images that tell these folks who I am, what clients I’d like to work with, how I see the shape of my career…………my voice.
Well damn if that isn’t just really hard. Thank goodness I have some talented people around me to help. Editing your work is one of the most important parts of being a photographer. I know this. Emotional attachments to photographs blind your vision and having people around that you trust to look at your work with fresh eyes is so valuable. So, I put my work in the capable hands of others and this is what we came up with. I’ll be printing 11×17’s on a fine art cold press matte paper and presenting them in a large box. I’d love to have a book in the future but since this is such a preliminary dip into the pool, I’m not ready to commit. And I’m shooting a shitload of work this year so I’d like it to remain flexible at this point.
Here we go.
What does this collection of images say to you? Are you working on amassing a portfolio or have one in tact that you’d like to share? How are you reaching out to the professional world in your genre? I welcome thoughts, input, questions and links to your work.