Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Building my empire.

Hello all,
Being a full time art student and trying to hone my techniques and grow my photography business has taken its toll on my blog entries from time to time, and this past week or two is just an example. Whew, have I been busy! With a couple of midterm tests past, I can now jump back in to the blog world, and that is great since I have so much that I wish to share!
First of all, congrats to all of the graduating high school seniors out there! I have met a few as of late, and I could not be more proud of them.
With that said, please allow me to update my photo blog with a fast rundown of jobs, and the details of these jobs. To market myself, I have decided to put together a portfolio of work. Problem was, what do I put into this portfolio? After some time, I decided that I want to photograph several different things, for a living. I like to photograph people as well as merchandise, both in studio and on location. My goal became to "hook up" with people and merchandise that resemble my target niche. So, after much thought I came up with my plan of attack.
I had some images that I could use for my portfolio already, from recent projects and weddings, so the ones that I was lacking were first on my hit list. I needed some examples of my portraiture of people, as well as some studio photography of objects. I came up with some "win-win" propositions for some local folks, and it worked as planned! The "win-win" goes something like this: "let me photograph you, and you can have some of the images for free". Who could resist that?

For the merchandise shots, I asked a friend that is honing her own hand-made jewelry marketing skills if she would like some images for her portfolio. Turns out that she was in need of someone with a decent photography studio to photograph some of her newer pieces. I could not have asked for a better line up!
Now, with my target niche in mind, and some people and merchandise all lined up, all that had to happen was the photography. I set up a date and a time to meet with the jeweler friend. We met at my studio, and we spent a few hours shooting her rings and necklaces on different colors of seamless paper, a sheet of glass, and I shot it all using several flashes and reflectors. Now we both had exactly what we needed, which is a true win-win!
Than my brother and his wife called, and we decided that I would photograph her two boys, which are both seniors in high school. That covered the male side of my portfolio, but what about the female side of the spectrum? I met a local high school model thru a modeling website. I ran the idea of a free shoot by her, and she too agreed. I later found out that she had not yet had her senior photos taken. This was really coming together, and people were truly getting what they needed! With my feet still tired from the first two photo sessions, we decided to meet that very next weekend!
We met and shot on a great day, at a great location, and it went very smoothly. I had to use a single Nikon SB-800 flash on a flash stand for the days' lighting because my new assistant could not make it. Necessity was the mother to creation on that shoot! I used a daylight colored gel in the diffuser on the flash, and I really like the results that we got! The combination of location and the gel make the images appear to look like a setting sun was behind the camera. Needless to say I should have been shooting this way from the start, but now I realize that I can do this on my own!
Next, after a few afternoons of editing time, my new portfolio is looking very well stocked with fresh new images. I feel comfortable moving on to the next phase of my marketing for some new photography business. With several wedding, engagement, newborn child, senior portrait, children, and some merchandise photo sessions under my belt and in my "portfolio building" folder, it is time to think about marketing.
It would be nice to copy someone else's steps, but I don't have that luxury. What I do have, though, are a great collection of well established professionals that are solid friends. I am leaning towards assembling my portfolio images all together and have a simple coffee table book made up using them. Nothing over the top, but instead a simple, sharp looking album that I can use as a portfolio. I have put some thought into making several separate portfolios, like one for merchandise, one for weddings, and one for portraiture, but the cost might be too much for me to absorb at the moment. So, I decided to place all of the portraiture images in the portfolio, at the front, and then keep the merchandise images towards the back. As I get some work from my marketing ventures I can always have several "niche" portfolios made up and then use them to target a more specific crowd.

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