Friday, April 24, 2009

The Big Project is Nearly Complete!

About a year ago I began interviewing photo consultants. It was a big task. There are many wonderful people who know a lot about the photographic industry. I wanted to ensure that I was seen for who I was as a photographer and that the consultant would give me sound advice. It was important to be able to reach an audience that I was previously missing.

My background is in photojournalism which is far from easy, but a photojournalist who is on staff at a metropolitan daily newspaper doesn't have to deal with issues such as marketing or what their portfolio looks like. Hell, the only time a portfolio is even necessary is if the photographer plans to change jobs. In the old days, a portfolio consisted of a series of slides that were tucked into slide pages and shipped off (to some distant photo editor) with a cover letter and résumé, never to be seen again.

After leaving the news biz, I needed to define who my clients were and how to reach them. I bumped around for a few years and finally came to the conclusion that whatever I was doing was wrong. So I hired a consultant. I also hired a designer.

After a long phone interview I sifted through more than 40,000 images to find 650 or so that I could send off to be edited. It took about two weeks for my portfolios to come back. Two weeks after the edit, Vanity Fair called in my book. (Panic!)

My designer is in Seattle and she had just gotten the edited images. At first we thought we were going to have to work around the clock to meet the VF deadline but soon learned that the book didn't need to be there until January. Whew!

This has been a long and painful process. I now not only know what a portfolio should look like, but I have one. As a matter of fact, I have two. The other is a collection of glamour images that just aren't right for my commercial Web site or portfolio.

The cool thing is that all of the elements of my new identity have been designed and are at the printer. The new design has been delivered to my Web-site host and that should be in place next week. I've just designed a promo piece that will be sent to announce the new look.

I think the worst part of all of this is that while I have had this project going I've also been out shooting. The economy has been slow, which means that work (for most photographers) has been slow, yet this has provided me with opportunities to get out and shoot images that I wouldn't have otherwise had time for. This means that soon, I will start this whole editing/portfolio process all over.

It's been a big and rough cycle, but isn't it great!

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