Make the Most of Your Photography

When I ask a new client how they intend to use the images I create, I am often surprised by the long silence that follows. Then, most people will say “I just want them for my website.” Now, don’t get me wrong - that is an excellent use for them. However, there are many other applications to consider. For instance, portfolios, wall art, postcards, and business cards are just a few.

If “a picture paints a thousand words”, just imagine the story that can be told with a quality portfolio. Or when a potential client walks into your office, sales center, or conference room and sees beautiful canvas wall art of your projects, or photographs matted and displayed in museum-quality frames. You might be surprised by the results!

An example: One of my clients is an incredible custom homebuilder whose quality is just superb - second to none. He called and asked to have some of his project photographed for his website. As I began the photography, I suggested that he consider a portfolio… ‘No, I don’t need one, I just need web images.’ He was actually quite insistent on this point. At the viewing, I brought him a few portfolio images so he could see them for himself. I watched as he passed them around to his office staff. They gazed at each one, commenting on various features of the home. He quickly realized that a potential client would use them the exact same way, passing them around and discussing them. He decided to invest in a small portfolio.

About a month later, he requested a few more. Some more time passed and he ordered additional prints, and so on. He currently has the largest portfolio of any of my clients. And now I know why……

I was photographing another of his beautiful homes, and was able to meet the owners. They had been living there for about a year, and were very kind and gracious. When I finished, the lady of the house asked me if I had seen all of the “beautiful paintings” that their builder had in his office. (Actually, they were not paintings, but the previously mentioned wall art on canvas.) I said yes, I had seen them. “And the beautiful portfolio of his work?” she exclaimed. As the man of the house handed me a glass of wine, he asked me if I took those pictures. Then he said with a smile, “That portfolio cost me $180,000 in extras”. His testimonial is now on my client's website.


It's February already!  So much activity is going on here...portfolios to print, images to process, meetings with clients, editors, art directors, copyists... When, then, do we set aside time for planning, for reaching our HUGE 2009 goals? What is it that keeps us pumped and inspired for the year ahead?

For me, it is the early hours of the morning. For well over a year now, I have been in the habit of getting my day started extra early. It is then, in the serenity of quiet, the peacefulness of morning that thoughts can be entertained with crystal clarity.

As the smell of brewing coffee fills the studio, I review the day's events. Just a quick mental recap of what is planned. Then I take a few minutes to look at websites - clients, competitors, as well as those who’s work in some way inspires me. We all have those sites that we enjoy visiting, no matter what field we are in. It is during that time, when admiring someone else’s work that we may ask, "Wow, how did they do that?" Or we might simply think "That’s nice..."  Something there gets our wheels turning and it is upon those thoughts that our own creative ideas are interjected for the projects ahead.

Keeping our ideas FRESH, keeping our work FRESH and updated will help us to maintain that positive, professional attitude that will have one of our peers… sometime in the early morning hours looking at our work and asking… "Wow, I wonder how they did that..."