Although I found this seminar engaging, it was one of the more meaty topics of this module and at times I felt slightly overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at us. I feel like this is such an important aspect of professional conduct that actually by even just starting to pull things together now (half way through year 2) maybe I’ll just be ready by the time I leave and enter the ‘real world’.
I think the main point I took away from this seminar is the importance in presenting yourself professionally and making sure that any branding or marketing you put into the industry represents you in a similar vein. It’s the little things – making sure fonts match, colour hues are the same, spelling and grammar is right.
All this comes together to create your ‘professional persona’, validating who you are as a photographer in the industry, however ,you’re only as good the people that see it.
The use of websites, business cards and social media should reflect your passion and integrity as a professional, presenting yourself outside of this almost means marketing yourself, using good eye contact, being polite, knowing how to cold call/email. I feel that with my experience within jobs and meetings in the university setting I know how to present myself professionally in general, but I wonder whether it takes something different within the photography world when you are referencing yourself and your work?
Private views, events, photo festivals, guest lectures and portfolio reviews are great ways of getting your work and professional practise into the hemisphere of bigger clients, getting your name out there and networking with potential collaborators. In all honesty I have been tentative to meet and approach industry officials, but we were reminded that after we leave university these opportunities will be scarce, so use and abuse it.
We were also reminded that actually, photographers are human too, this pedestal that we put them on only really exists within the photography industry, they all started somewhere and we’re all on the same journey really.
Business cards are a great way to present all your details in one place, a simple layout with your name, website and social media handle is usually enough on one side, a series of images on the other. This mini portfolio of images can be switched out to give to corresponding clients depending on what kind of work you might be making. I like this idea a lot as it gives quite a bit of flexibility in the images you can present.
Similar formats to business cards can be postcards, leaving space to write personalised notes, it can be more fitting to some situations.
(See further thoughts and design in this post). (Mock up Business cards).
Approaching industry professionals takes a certain amount of charm in some situations, brown nose, flatter them, listen (and nod wisely). If you do reach out, be polite, always reply, keep the dialogue going. Sometimes a business card isn’t quite enough and attaching images or a PDF at the bottom of an email is necessary, giving a quick overview of who you are. I know that I am quite lazy in looking up artist work that I see and like, so doing the work for the client is one step closer to them seeing your work.
Aim big and be confident in your abilities (I am very bad at that), if you don’t ask, you simply don’t get. Thinking about who I want to work with now is planting the seeds of a future practise in my mind, and working towards creating particular work as my motivation I think will help drive my practise further.
My practise at the moment is so vague in my head, last year I wanted to shoot hard-hitting documentary work, now I find myself working in the conceptual and fine art. This makes it quite difficult to know how to approach the industry.
My overlaying ‘dream’ is to live in a van, creating my own magazine based on travels, working with a team that is mobile, collaborating with a team who use multiple disciplines. Whether this be a literal travel document or otherwise I’m not sure, but magazines such as Flourish, Bloom, Frankie have all been important in me realising this idea.