Monthly Archives: August 2014

BUILDING A BETTER PORTFOLIO Step Two: “Spec” Shoots and Trade Shoots


Virtually all aspiring pros face a sort of Catch-22 early in their careers: To gain professional credits, you need to get hired, but you can’t get hired without professional credits. Clients naturally prefer photographers who have already proven themselves in a competitive market, so they tend to favor established veterans over newcomers no matter how promising the latter may be. How can novice photographers acquire a portfolio of images that will impress prospective clients enough to earn their big break?
Triumph Motorcycle Campaign

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BUILDING A BETTER PORTFOLIO Step One: Establishing an Online Presence

Portfolio blog

If you want to land well-paid, high-profile gigs in the world of professional photography, your portfolio is as crucial a tool as your camera. Any weekend warriors out there who decide to take the plunge and turn pro should craft a stellar set of sample images even before they print their business cards. No portfolio, no business—it’s that simple.

In the era of the Internet, the first opportunity most prospective clients will have to see your work is online, so a polished Web portfolio is a must. A number of free Web-hosting sites offer budget-minded beginners an inexpensive means to establish an online presence; Viewbook, Zenfolio, and Squarespace are among those I would recommend. Once you’ve selected a host, you need to choose a name for your Web site that will establish your brand identity. Do you want to brand your own name, or would you prefer to christen your business with a made-up name? This is a defining decision in your career, so choose carefully. Branding is so important to a photographer’s success that I plan to devote an entire column to it in a future post.

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SOMETIMES, IT’S WHAT’S UNDER THE CAMERA THAT COUNTS: A Review of the Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head w/ B2 Pro II Clamp

BH55 AS II Clamp

When novice photographers and weekend warriors become obsessed with gear, they naturally tend to spend most of their attention (and money) on lenses, lighting kits, or other accessories that aid the camera in taking the picture. Even the most sophisticated gadgets and gizmos, though, can’t compensate for a jiggled shot or cockeyed frame.

Shooting for ROBO3D Printer
Shooting for ROBO 3D printer’s posters and campaign ads. We will be shooting a lifestyle version as well.

A tripod with a good ball head can thus be essential to ensuring quality images. Moreover, a sturdy tripod ensures the survival of the camera itself. By securing my camera on a tripod and ball head while on set, I can avoid having to place my camera on a table with a firewire cord connected to it. The latter arrangement has always made me nervous, because if someone trips on the firewire cable, my camera will go flying across the room.

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