Magazine publishers will have you know that print as a medium is changing: there are more localized and niche magazines than ever. If you are paying close attention to your market, you'll see that while the industry has changed to accommodate the growth of online journalism and other publications, it isn't gone! Don't give up on the possibility of being published, but also don't discount highly-popular blogs, online magazines, and other publications. They vary in their reach and shelf life, but there’s no reason to ignore the power of print.
At the start of my journey, I stumbled and made mistakes as we all do… but those mistakes were all part of a steep learning curve. For the first 10 years of my career, I exclusively did private portrait commissions. That experience was invaluable in that it taught me how to deal with children of all ages. It’s difficult at the best of times to connect with a child who considers you a stranger, and to draw out the uniqueness in each child within a very limited time puts huge extra pressure on that connection.
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Having a consistent look to your images is the one thing most photographers struggle with, but it’s the best thing to help you in establishing a recognizable brand and attracting your ideal client. Let’s take a look at five things that have helped me establish my signature photography style over the last few years, in order of their importance to me and my brand.
I’ve probably spent just as much time in front of the camera as I have behind it. I started taking self-portraits when I first picked up a camera. It became the best way for me to learn the technical side of photography. It also let me be an artist and experiment with wardrobe, posing and lighting.
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Photographers seem to obsess over editing. They treat it like it’s the special sauce that, once mastered, will bring you in new clientele. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I will let you guys in on a little secret. Our clients come to us for cinematic, dramatic environmental portraiture, yet the images that they love, and the ones that we choose for our portfolio, are typically the ones for which we diverge the least from the original file.
One thing I often hear from new photographers is how challenging it is for them to find their style. Initially, most people tend to reach for actions or presets in their favorite editing applications and adopt one. Sure, these bundles can give you ideas and narrow your focus, but in the long run, they are not the ideal solution.
Glamour photography has evolved in many ways over the years. At the heart of it is strength, beauty and a magical je ne sais quoi in the person being photographed. We see these images in makeup advertisements in magazines, on TV and on billboards. They tell us what it means to be a strong, beautiful, magical woman. But what about the times in our lives when we don’t feel anywhere near this ideal we see everywhere—like when we have just had a baby and are too overwhelmed to even take a shower or brush our hair daily; or we have just experienced a major loss and could care less how we look because we feel so miserable; or when illness takes over our body, mind and soul? I specialize in shooting glamour for women in that last scenario.
That feeling of world-weariness, or ennui, that I discussed in a previous article can get to all of us from time to time. It can feel as if you are no longer making progress or your work is no longer exciting. That might mean it is time to feed the artistic side of your brain and take a break from your typical work. It’s time to stretch your creativity to keep yourself fresh and excited about what you do.