Formatting Your Work
So I've got this image here, and this one, let's just say I wanted to use this for a book cover. Does it work? Could this picture work on a book cover? Of course the answer is yes it could work on a book cover, 'cause anything could work, but in terms of actual use, I would argue that it's really good for text, because there's all this negative space, but it's really bad for cropping, 'cause you're gonna end up with two cut in half doors on either side of the frame, and the tree's gonna be cut off, so it's not so great. So it's really unlikely that I'm going to license this for a book cover, unless they do something creative with editing or something like that, extend the trees up, who knows what they might do. Because trust me, they will do anything and it's a little bit heart wrenching sometimes. But I would argue that. So with this image then, is this good for a book cover? You know, if you were going to crop it in, would you be losing an essential part of the image? And maybe yes, ...
maybe no, but what about text? Where are you going to put text on this image? It's covered in people. I know, 'cause it's me. And I covered myself here. So I would say that it's bad for both, bad for text, bad for cropping, and that's what I'm looking for with these images. So then I chose this one, which I feel is good for both. It has lots of negative space so it's okay if you cover up some of that smoke because there's smoke everywhere. It's okay if you cover up a little bit of it. And it's great for cropping because of the center composition. So we've got negative space and a center composition, which I know works really well for book covers. And I've had some success with book covers. I've done a fair few of them now, and I find that my work generally does work for that because of these two things: the negative space and the center composition. And that's not saying that your images won't work for that. It's just saying, think about how somebody else will use the work that you're putting out there. And these are just general samples that you can get for free of maybe like a blank book that you could put your image on just to show as a sample, same with that. So just thinking about, okay, how can I turn my work into samples? How can that be something that I advertise maybe on my website, maybe direct to the client? And then commissions. So we've got the service. And we've already talked about this so I'm gonna zoom right through, but advertising the service, creating samples of that as well, because it's important to show people, and then making it simple, not a complicated process. And I like to cater to my client, but I wanna really point out that using the word cater was really hard for me, because I don't mean that I'm doing everything the way my client wants it, I'm not starting the process like, "Tell me exactly the image you want and I'm gonna make you whatever you want." I'm not doing that by any means, but what I am doing is saying, okay, this is my work. You can look through what I've done before, you can let me know if any of my images speak to you, if you wanna recreate anything, and then I'm saying, now how can I emotionally and visually connect this image to you? And I'm not doing it in a way that takes away from my artistic abilities within this process. And I'll talk a lot more about this specifically with examples, because I think it's important that we most definitely don't lose our artistic perspective here. Set expectations for your clients, just make sure that they know exactly what they're getting into like I mentioned. You book a shoot with me, you're going in a swamp. Done deal. Not really, but you know, usually it is true. And then the experience over the product. I mean, I feel that there are a lot of photographers out there and I'm not saying anything bad about this either. There are a lot of photographers who advertise the product over the experience. And that's okay, it's a choice that you're making. You're saying, look, I take great images and this is what you're going to get from this photoshoot. You're going to get an 18 by 20 inch wall hanging or whatever it might be, and that's the product that they're selling. But I'm not doing that. And I have this idea that if you consider yourself a fine art photographer, if you wanna move in a more art direction with your business, then it's important to maintain that idea that you're creating art, and what is art but an experience? An experience of the art, an experience creating the art, so it's important that we really put experience above the product in this case. These are examples of my way of creating samples. So I started out... I think this was 2012 or so. I was going to do a commissioned photoshoot. I'd never done it before, I was about to advertise this new service of mine, and I was like, "Uh-oh, I don't even know how to do this, I just know that I wanna do it." So I got my two best friends and I said, "Hey guys, can you come to the forest with me and I'm gonna drape you in some fabric and put some Ace bandages on you", which at this point was very normal for them, and I said, okay, we're gonna do this whole thing and this is gonna be your commissioned portrait, and we did it. And this was what came from that. And it was a really good experience because I got to learn, especially with this one here, how does she feel best? The other one was already doing a lot of modeling, so that didn't really count, but the other one had never, so she was sort of like, "Oh, does this look good? Does this look good? Does this make my arm look fat?" Those kinds of questions that everyone will ask when they've not been in front of a camera, and it's a good experience to have. So I'm doing these commissioned shoots, I've put it out there, and I say, this is an example of my commissioned work. And then I got a couple clients from that. So it's just good to have, good to be able to say.