Marketing your work needs a variety of approaches. Depending on who your end clients are, a physical portfolio will be a must-have in your toolkit.
We are all accustomed to the fact that social media is a very powerful means to get noticed, get connected and to garner information. But given that this all-absorbing digital environment envelops many of us much of the time, nothing touches a potential client quite like a physical portfolio to disrupt this new norm. This may sound a little old-fashioned to some, but it’s true to say that many art buyers, art directors, gallery curators and photo editors crave the tactile and immediacy of beautifully printed pictures on high quality paper given how commonplace the more speedy and practical nature of iPads has become.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for a range of platforms to show your work and indeed it may well be that for your particular photography business where you want to demonstrate your skills in motion or you want to show an alternative group of images to those in your standard portfolio, or a more in-depth look at a project, the iPad or a printed book may be preferable. If you’re shooting mainly editorial work, your website is likely to do most of the work.
It will represent you and be memorable.
A portfolio is an investment - be realistic from the outset about what you can afford to spend. Determining what the design, materials, size, etc should look like will depend on your budget, overall brand and is of course a personal decision. The choices available enable you to create on the one hand a striking, sophisticated yet classic leather-bound book or something that is more characterful and unique and speaks to your own approach and genre of work….and everything in between. Think about what describes your style and consider materials and design that support this element of your brand.
But what of the contents…the all-important lure into you and where your creative passions lie?
Your book needs to have a focus and consistency. If you shoot a wide range of subjects you might decide you need to have more than one book to separate your specialties.
When defining a gallery of work, many seasoned editors like to use both editing software (at the start of the process) as well as tangible small prints (in the latter stages).
Incidentally, this will be just as relevant to you if you are creating an online portfolio or series of image galleries.
As a starting point, get yourself in the right frame of mind: know it’s going to take time and that you’ll need several breaks away from the process to keep your mind fresh and as objective as possible in what can be an emotionally draining process. These breaks may vary from an hour or two to entire days.
The portfolio at this point should represent You and where you are now. You’ll need to revisit the contents several times a year and not feel precious about keeping it as is.
Nothing beats you being present with your book – a potential client can get a much better measure of whether you are likely to be able to help solve their imagery needs. I’ll be talking about those all-important client meetings in my next blog post.
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