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Portfolio Building

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Karen Hocker
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Portfolio Building

Postby Karen Hocker on Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:39 pm

Hello,
Just joined this group and I have a question. I am trying to building a portfolio to eventually offer equine portraits to my clients so I am offering some special portrait sessions. If you were building a portfolio what types of images are there any specific images you would strive to create?

Honestly, I am looking to create a balanced grouping of images from informal images to more formal portraits, but I just don't know where to begin. I don't want to waste my time or my models times by not creating the right kinds of images that will help me develop my portfolio and broaden my business.

Suggestions or guidance welcome.

Karen

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Carien Schippers
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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Carien Schippers on Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:24 am

Karen,
I think it depends on the type of client work you are hoping to do. I think a good variety of work showing mastery of action, conformation and headshot images as well as some good representative horse and human portraits to give people an idea of your style and also make them want to hire you. The portrait end of equine photography is all about capturing the connection and evoking emotion, and providing an incentive in people to hire you because they see images that they wish they had of their horse. I think a portfolio should be a reflection of your strengths and skills. While most photographers can capture the traditional horse and human portrait headshot it takes a special photographer to really capture the intimate, loving memory moments with great light, technical mastery and "wow" factor.
While events are tough to make a good living at these days I think there are still plenty of people put there seeking photographers who can capture awesome images of them with their special animals.
Hope that helps!
"Doing what you love is freedom,
Loving what you do is happiness"

~ Chinese proverb

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Sharon Packer
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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Sharon Packer on Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:10 am

Hi Karen. Much depends on your level of photographic skills at this moment. If you are just beginning in equine photography, I suggest you find a seasoned professional and apprentice to learn the skills you desire. As well, there is a wealth of information in the archives on EPNet.
Sharon Packer
Horse Sports Photography, LLC
http://www.HorseSportsPhotography.com

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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Kevan Garecki on Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:10 pm

Sharon & Carien have both made excellent points, I echo both of their suggestions.

We are in an environment that is governed by personal taste; no matter how "good" an image is, it will either appeal to someone or it won't. The best advice I can offer for portfolio images is to be absolutely brutal in your selection, or better yet, have someone else collect a series of their favourite shots you have done, then cull from those.
Try different aspects & positions; the unusual is what sticks out in peoples' minds, so if you want to make a statement, make one they can't forget.

That said, I pour over other photographers' work; I look for similarities between their images & mine, I read how the image was created by looking at the lighting, the angles & perspectives, try to imagine what they were thinking of when they got the idea to release that shutter. That's one small part of the learning phase, and it never, ever stops.
"We are responsible forever for that which we tame."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Cynthia Pixley
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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Cynthia Pixley on Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:08 pm

I just read Scott's reply and I found that reply to be very thought provoking for me. I think we get so caught up in trying to showcase our best at every turn, that we forget that we have many good pieces of work; and thus want to include them all. However, keeping it simple with just a handful is probably best.
Feeling down? Saddle up. ~Author Unknown

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Stephen Crowers
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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Stephen Crowers on Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:54 am

Personally, I'd just say to find your own sweet spot and focus in there.

We often try to show ourselves to be a jack-of-all-trades to bring in income - and, honestly, I think we dilute our brands that way. There are a number of photographers here, and in general, where I would know their images the moment I see them... You want _that_ - and your portfolio should reflect that look, style, and passion. If you're just starting out in your market, find the 3-4 things you absolutely *love* doing and see which seems to resonate most with your expected clients - then hone in there. Keep your portfolio concise and consistent. You want people to say "Oh! She's that photographer who does {...}!"

Don't create images because someone else thinks you should...or even because they are making money doing them. Photography is always and first-most about exhibiting your own vision and finding those who resonate with it. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you can't instill that passion in your clients...

Of course you can do other things for your clients (and you should), but that's the bread and butter stuff, not your portfolio... be careful not to confuse the two.

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Sharon Packer
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Re: Portfolio Building

Postby Sharon Packer on Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:39 pm

This is excellent advice. You want your work to reflect your vision and to identify your style.

Don't create images because someone else thinks you should...or even because they are making money doing them. Photography is always and first-most about exhibiting your own vision and finding those who resonate with it. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you can't instill that passion in your clients...
Sharon Packer
Horse Sports Photography, LLC
http://www.HorseSportsPhotography.com


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