I have really enjoyed meeting you guys here on the blog each day! I love sharing photography tips for you, teaching is where my heart is at and this brings me more joy than you know!! Today I wanted to chat about building a consistent portfolio. Over the past few years of mentoring other photographers, I have identified one of their biggest road blocks to booking. It is consistency in their images.
If you think about it, when someone is looking for a photographer to hire, they are looking at your images. No surprise I’m sure. If they aren’t pulled into your work, drawn in, they will quickly move on. They should be able to click on image after image and see similar qualities within each one. That is what they will either fall in love with or decide you’re not the photographer for them. That’s ok. You want them to love you. If not, let them move forward.
Building your technique does take time. For me it took about 3 years of shooting to really strengthen my technical skills and to LOVE the images I was creating. I knew what I wanted my images to look like and I worked tirelessly to nail them straight out of camera manually. Once I had nailed that down I began to see consistency in my work. From that point forward I would always shoot with intention. I knew what settings on my camera got the exact results I wanted. I knew what light I loved the most and I knew exactly what I needed to do to get it!
If you are thinking you need to work on consistency I have put together a list of things that you might want to try.
I hope this goes without saying, but if I am going to accountable for helping you guys than I must say it. SHOOT IN MANUAL MODE. If you are not, start working on it. It’s life changing. I Promise. It’s the only way to have full control over what you are doing. It’s by far the most important way to get that sought after consistency.
PUSH YOUR APERTURE
That’s right, give it a little push. If you haven’t shot in 1.2, 1.4, or 1.8 you must go for it!! The images you can produce at this aperture can be unbelievably beautiful. You have to keep in mind that you’ll need to be conscience of your focal point. Your bokeh will increase at these apertures which means you run the risk of blurring your subject.
PLACEMENT OF SUBJECT
Be consistent with the light you place your subject(s) in. This is a big one for me. I am looking for very specific lighting when on location. If for some reason I can’t find it, I work with what I got. Not every shoot can be as perfect as I dream up in my head.
What do I do when conditions aren’t typical for me?
I will shoot as close as I can to my preference, but at the end of the day I am here to capture the most beautiful images for my client. If for some reason the lighting or setting doesn’t match my preference, I will be very specific with what I share to the public so I do not break the consistency in my public portfolio.
SHOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOOT
If you are still in the stage of your business where you are shooting anything and everything that will pay you. I get it! A paycheck is a paycheck when you are trying to build your business. Especially when you are trying to afford that $3000 camera or $1500 lens. If you have the time to photograph anything and everything so that you can earn money, I say GO FOR IT! Earn the money with an end goal in mind. BUT only share publicly what you ultimately want to photograph and be known for. If you are wanting to specialize in high school seniors then that is the only type of session you need to be sharing on your website, blog, and social media outlets.
Let’s go one step further. If you have already nailed down your speciality then you need to only post images that BEST represent your brand and ideal client. If your ideal client would not wear a Bart Simpson T-shirt and faded jeans then don’t share the one session in which that happened. You better save that image on a hard drive and move on.
I am REALLY looking forward to diving deeper into the conversation about shooting techniques and ideal clients at the GPS workshop. Always remember that I have been where you are and I know how hard this process can be. Trust me when I say that you will get there!!