From Vision to Results
It's that time of year again where I refine my brand and update the content in my portfolio site, social media etc then reach out to clients to share the awesomeness. Curating your vision and marketing that vision is a career-long process that one refines with each attempt. In this post, I go over my workflow, some marketing and the results taking my vision to reality.
If you want to follow along with how I did this step by step, it's all documented in Finding the Photographer's Vision. Basically, I practice what I preach.
If you have already completed the workshop, follow along the Analog Curation Process in which I document how I took over 700+ prints and curated them into two galleries but at the end of the process, chose to show only my urban portraits work as that's my "hell yes" vs the other work I have done, while solid, is not.
The Curation Workflow
Once I got the curated the 700+ prints down to the two galleries and chose to show the urban portraits over the produced portraits the next challenge was collecting all content into one place. See, I've been using Lightroom Classic since day 1 but also have done some work in Capture 1 Pro but have been concentrating all post into Lightroom CC since it was announced about a year ago.
My plan was to put all images from my urban portraits series into a CC album then have that album push to Adobe Portfolio. Because I can choose a specific Lightroom CC album to update my Portfolio, once it's all set up I can update my Portfolio much easier in the future. In the past, I would update my website ever six months but I want to double that frequency to every quarter, here's why.
We live in this ADD environment in that we're not competing with each other but rather, we're competing for viewers time. Blame social media, blame smartphones if that makes you feel better but the reality is, you want as many excuses to reach out to potential clients as you can. Sure, a high volume of new content on your socials is good but the goal should be to get people to your social network which is your website. Once on your website, your vision takes over. What does your body of work says, what each photo say and what does your about page say? That's all informed by your vision.
Be a Social Media OG
Ok, so you're probably thinking "I don't have shit for followers, how is anyone going to see my work" and I feel ya but here's the deal. Before Facebook, before Myspace, before IRC there was this thing called meeting people. Social media interactions are weak in comparison to a direct email with a call to action and email is weak picking up the phone, but what's best is meeting people in person. When you meet people in person, you got your vision tight as a tiger and you feel good about it than talking to people is natural and yeah, it could be fun too. Look, you're not selling used carpet, you're talking about making art. If the photography you make doesn't excite you in some way then maybe rethink what you want to do. I fucken love photography! Do you love it? You should if you're going to succeed. If you are making art that is a representation of your self-expression that should excite the hell out of you.
When you're out buying groceries, use that as an opportunity to pitch. Surely the bag boy is not going to hire you for a shoot but you can practice your pitch,
"I'm Giulio and I'm a street photographer. Here's a card, check out my work."
No pressure if they don't even see your work but you don't want to be practicing on any potential real clients. Practice makes perfect people and you're probably going to suck for a bit and that's ok because I doubt you'll run out of people to talk to. Thing is, you never know where people end up and I've been hired for some of my bigger shoots simply by making it a point to talk to other humans in person. You an introvert? Me too and it's not the most comfortable thing to do so you must practice! Real social media happens in person, don't wait for that big networking event to get your artist statement ready. Luck favors the prepared my friends.
BTW I get my business cards and swag from Moo. I love the Luxe cards and get all my printed promos on Luxe. Usually what I like to do is start with 50, see how I dig the design then order more. I suggest as a challenge, you order 50 and make it a goal to pass them all out in a week. GIVE THEM TO EVERYONE and when you pitch someone, give them two cards so they can give the second one to someone. Social media starts in person.
Use this link to get your cards which helps me get more cards for myself thanks!
Make a Schedule for regular Portfolio Updates
So now that I have my Lightroom library synced up, I'll be updating it every three months with new content. It took me a week to go through my 700+ prints but quite frankly, this only needs to be done once. I had a bit of an artistic identity crisis after leaving my position as a sponsored photographer and it took me well over a year to get my shit together sadly. The end of this emotional rollercoaster was me going through the entire collection of my image selects from assignments and commissions going back more than ten years. Next time I'm ready to curate everything, I'll be focusing on my urban work only. That said, I will be allowing for a full week to curate, rest my brain, do other stuff (ya know like bath and sleep) and make an intelligent decision on the body of work I'll be presenting to the public. Here's a proposed schedule if you are going to be updating every three months.
Month 1 & 2
Market, shoot, get 💵 paid 💵
Gotta have money and getting paid to do fresh work is good but I'll be shooting my own assignments. I keep an updated list of assignments I want to shoot based on my vision file. As I complete shoots, the picks (those are my "Hell yes" images) go into an album in Lightroom CC called Portfolio Selects.
This is when I examine the Portfolio selects, images that are the crème de la crème go into the Overview album which is synced with my Adobe Portfolio site. No worries though, Lightroom won't update the Portfolio until I tell it to. When I'm ready, I'll be making prints from the Overview album which will be around 50 or so (thank god) not 700+. So the first time you go through this process, it could be a beast but once you're through the process the first time, every other time is a refinement.
Once the website is updated with new work, I look at any further refinements to the about page, design, and SEO. I'm less critical on the about page, design, and SEO as I am with the photography but they are important aspects of the vision. I don't want to talk about high-impact portraits if I'm not offering that in my Overview gallery. Once the refinements are done, I reach out to clients past and present and reach out to new ones I want to work with. If you want to learn about my marketing plan, read the post, I landed my first magazine cover on welfare over on the SCBP main site.
A Theme and Next Steps
This time around, I refined the overview with a theme of age and love. The overview starts with older people I had the pleasure of meeting on the street and ends with the youngest. To help the narrative, I added images from my series, Signs of the Times into the mix where I felt appropriate.
As of this writing, we're heading into the holidays which always has been both slow and very busy at the time time. Each year of my business, October has been dead but then right before the end of the year I get a couple opportunities to bid on jobs which I'm guessing is due to the marketing on my part but also perhaps there's some budget left over that needs to be spent which I'm happy to use. 🤩
Day of the Dead celebrations are next week in Austin and you can bet I'll be out there meeting people, making portraits and giving out business cards with Instax prints. Come January, I'll be updating my Portfolio again which I'm expecting to be much smoother now that my vision is focused.