Promote the Work You Want to Do
When I speak at workshops, one piece of advice I emphasize is to promote the work you want to do. It is about time I take my own advice.
Previously, my Photos section was
Sports | Love | Corporate | Adventure
I enjoyed this arrangement because, cheekily, it was as much a phrase as it was links. All sports want, is corporate money, and all corporate folks want to do is go to sporting events. Sports love corporate adventure.
But alas Love (weddings, family portraits, bar/bat mitzvahs) and Corporate (conferences, awards, fundraisers) are not the work I want to do more of.
I "kept the lights on" by covering weddings and corporate events. I mostly enjoy weddings. I always covered for someone I knew or a friend-of-a-friend to try to avoid nightmare clients I had heard other photographers encounter. I might still cover one for the right couple. I also mostly enjoy corporate events, it was good food, typically good clients, and easy enough assignments. I will continue to do event photography for some of my favorite clients, but I'm not necessarily looking to do more "corporate" work specifically. But I really enjoy sports and more and more I'm enjoying portraits. (I used to be afraid of lights)
Action | Portrait | Event
My Sports category used to be broken down into Action, Portrait and Event. But now, my work in general is Action, Portrait and Event. This allows some of my favorite portrait work to be included in Portrait, not just sports portraits, and demonstrates that in terms of how I cover, a sports related event, be it a fundraiser or something else, is essentially corporate-style work.
I came to this conclusion while I was trialing other website platforms and building out the framework of what a new site would be. And now I'm bringing it back to my zenfolio site.
Living Portfolio, Not Archive
I previously viewed my website as a living portfolio. I would even blog about every assignment I covered. I was not as busy back then, in my career or my life! And it was before instagram, when you needed your website to relay that you were an active photographer available to hire. Despite having a recent section on my site, when I stopped posting on instagram, I was asked "Are you still working now that you have so many kids?" Had they not checked my MLB folder to see the 6 games I covered that month already?
Speaking of Archive
With zenfolio's switch to archiving galleries if they haven't been "modified" in the last 14 months, essentially my portfolio would not be visible to anyone, ha! So I am more motivated to maintain portfolios now. And ensure that my portfolio showcase the work I want to do.
This comes from a place of time and privilege. I am in a place in my career where I no longer have to say yes to everything and anything just to make ends meet. At a certain time, even if weddings and corporate work weren't the work I wanted to do, it was the worked I needed to advertise to get more clients.
How about you?
What's the work you want to do? Are you promoting it? When is the last time you updated your portfolio?
I am going to be assigning myself this challenge too. Let's update our portfolios! Let's showcase our best work, not just in tiny squares meant for scrolling.
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