By Isabella Goode, Guest Blogger - Whether you’re on the way to commercial success or simply making art, it’s easy to feel like there’s no time for creating and maintaining a portfolio as a busy photographer. However, take a moment to think about how someone would search for your services, be it for their wedding or a company event.

Perhaps they would talk to a friend, or just ask Google. In any case, they will ultimately want to see a website with information about the photographer that was recommended to them. This namely includes examples of past work, coupled with a list of services and prices.

Not only is your portfolio a showcase of what you offer, but it’s also a foundation for all of your marketing activities. That is to say, you’ll be using it to sell products, book appointments or just as something to bring people back to from other places such as social media.

Put simply, an online portfolio is an absolute essential for career success as a photographer. Not convinced? Here are some more compelling reasons to invest in a website.

Sell Your Work Online

It is no secret that the majority of people prefer to shop online, which remains true for the photography industry. While there are several online platforms dedicated to selling your work, they are severely limited in their functionality. In addition, you probably don’t want to be sitting side-by-side with the competition.

This is one of many cases where a portfolio comes in, which can easily be set up to serve as your own online store.

Showcase Your Abilities

Every project comes with a unique creative direction that has a lasting impact on your vision and style. It shapes the way you work and with it, the culmination of your efforts moving forward. Your portfolio is a showcase of that evolution. It helps potential clients get an idea of how you do things when you have your vision alone to be accountable for.

Done right, your website shows visitors that you have confidence in your work and are willing to present it for all to see. It also shows that you uphold a certain level of commitment that speaks for your independence and level of effort you put in. Without a portfolio, there is no way to really prove this to potential clients.

The same rings true for your individuality. You can tell someone what you do and how you do it, but your unique style is more tangible when seen rather than heard. A portfolio is a perfect way to show the world through your eyes.

Building One is Easy

Thanks to the extensive range of tools available on the internet today, you don’t need any web design or programming experience to build an excellent portfolio. Once you have set yourself up on a website builder like WordPress, it is as simple as choosing a theme and adding your content.

From there, you can obtain additional information on making a well-rounded and unique portfolio through one of the many resources dedicated to the topic. This post with photography portfolio ideas offers an extensive look into how you can build an amazing showcase.

Moreover, Format provides countless templates and tools to help you get your mobile-optimized site off the ground. You can even get an online store set up, as well as a professional domain and email among other benefits. All of this on a single website, which goes to show how well facilitated this process is today.

A Useful Scheduling Tool

As your clientele grows, managing your schedule and staying up-to-date with your calendar can become increasingly challenging. Online scheduling software exists to solve this problem and make life easier by seamlessly scheduling appointments. These kinds of tools can be integrated with your website.

Why would you do this? By connecting scheduling software to your portfolio, clients can book appointments whenever they are ready. This is far more convenient for them, as they don’t have to wait until business hours or your availability for a response. Not only does this save you time, but it also serves as a key advantage to your customer service.

Collect Valuable Information

As part of its marketing benefits, your photography portfolio can serve as an effective way to collect information about customers. For instance, you can request prospect email addresses, which can be used to send promotional content. This helps to increase your engagement, keeping potential clients interested and existing clients coming back.

Social Media Advertising

If you are interested in making an investment in any form of paid online advertising, such as that which takes place on social media, then a website is an absolute must. It serves as the centerpiece for your campaign, driving a select target audience to your website where they can learn more about your services and ultimately become a customer.

Communicate Your Professionalism

When people are looking for a photographer, they are going to want someone that offers a professional service. Chances are that most amateurs in the industry have poorly made portfolios if they even have one to begin with. By putting together a professional-looking portfolio that is well made and informative, you immediately stand out.

Even if you take beautiful pictures, a clunky and outdated website will put people off. However, if both components are in-line with your potential clients’ expectations, they will be far more likely to give you a call. It is important to remember that your portfolio should look just as good as your photos.

Obtain and Showcase Customer Feedback

To this day, client testimonials remain an effective way to prove your credibility and make a more compelling offer. Your portfolio is, of course, the perfect place to showcase all the positive feedback you have received. This will improve the trust that potential clients have in your services, thus increasing their likelihood of becoming a customer.

However, customer feedback isn’t just useful as a marketing tool; it is also highly valuable to you. Regardless of your skills or experience as a photographer, there is always room for improvement and feedback can help reveal where you can do better. Remember that you can also link back to your website on other platforms such as Google My Business and Yelp.

It Grows with Your Needs

No matter where you are in your career, your portfolio will always serve as a valuable tool to meet your needs. Beginners will benefit from the way it signals credibility and increases reach to potential clients. From there, it can take on the role of demonstrating your specialties and the relevance of your work to those who are interested.

Even for globally recognized photographers, their portfolio is still a useful tool. It serves as a powerful calling card for potential business partners as well as being a curated virtual showcase to give other photographers valuable guidance and inspiration. A portfolio is a good way to prepare yourself for future growth and stay on track as you move forward.

The above points make it clear that having a portfolio is key to your success as a photographer, or in any creative industry for that matter. Be sure to invest some time into building a professional website that looks and performs up-to-standard. It may take some effort, but rest assured it’s a worthwhile endeavor that will quickly pay off.

Isabella Goode has written and researched articles for a wide variety of websites, blogs and magazines and has a strong understanding of art, design and a passion for photography.

 

How Artists Can Kick Start 2014

The following are some thoughts on what an artist can do to improve their chances of success in the coming New Year. Contained in these ideas are links to additional articles and posts which will explain and detail these concepts more fully for the reader;

1.         Check all of the pages of your website to see if they working properly and loading quickly.  If you can speed up the loading of your Home Page, this should be done.  Besides being annoying to some viewers, slow loading speeds can negatively impact whether your website gets a higher page rank or not.  Also, make sure that your website links (internal and external links) are working and that the format of each page is the way in which it was intended to be viewed (for whatever reason, things move, stop working, disappear, images and graphics can suddenly not be viewed).

2.         Make sure that all of the images on your website are sized properly, with a low resolution (A Resolution of 72 will help your site to loader more quickly too) and the images should be color corrected as well.

Are there better images or graphics that can be substituted for what now exists on the website?  .  This should be done in order to get the search engines to index your images (Without image descriptions the images will not be indexed).  By doing this, they will ultimately get your images to show up in the search results and when the images are viewed, they will also direct the viewer to your art website as well.

3.       Review all written text and images within your art portfolio.  Whatever parts of the portfolio can be improved upon should also be done.  Are there any new images that you can display?  Are there better images that can replace present ones in your portfolio?  Try to upgrade and update wherever possible within your art portfolio.  Make sure all have titles, sizes and pricing information. 

4.     Review and rewrite your Artist Statement and Biography.  Update your CV adding any exhibitions, new publications and any other pertinent information that has taken place since the last time that it was posted on your website or printed in your portfolio.

5.         Review any of your social media accounts, update or complete your profiles.  If any of your social media profile images can be improved or upgraded, then they should be done and also add any other new information to those social media profiles as well.  Just make sure that whatever is written or is shown on the profiles is spelled correctly and with proper sentence structure. 

Remember, a social media profile is almost like having an online resume’ for the whole world to see.   The idea of a Social Media Profile is to get people to want more information about you by going to your art website.  This is accomplished with a completed, well written and attractive Social Media Profile.

Here are a few other ideas for an artist to try and to follow in the New Year; In order to drive more traffic to your website, an artist should consider starting an Art Blog for the New Year.  An art blog helps to brand you as an expert, expands your target audience and ultimately will provide more visitors to your website.

Also, an artist should try to join and set up with as many Artist Registries and Directory Websites as possible in order to also create and direct additional traffic back to their art website.

There are many free Art Portfolio Websites where an artist can join and also expose their art to many more viewers. Whether it is an Artistry Registry, Directory or an Art Portfolio website, any of these platforms will help to direct traffic back to the artist’s website and should be freely employed by the artist.

An artist should start an ongoing online public relations campaign for all important art-related occasions, events, and functions that they are involved in throughout the year. Here is an article that we posted with some ideas to follow; Top 10 Events for Artists to Send Out Press Releases.

If the artist is totally happy with their marketing efforts and with the volume of sales of their art, then all of the suggestions above are totally unnecessary.  However, if the artist is disappointed with their results, then we believe that some of these ideas may help the artist to be more successful in 2014.

Happy New Year to all art professionals from the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery 

 

BODY OF WORK - PART IIPreviously, in Part Iwe wrote about having a body of work to show art galleries, art reps, art collectors and to any other interested parties of your art. In that article, we also discussed the overall importance of having a body of work and how to develop a body of work.

We asked the professional artist/blogger, Lori McNee to discuss this subject and to provide her tips on to how to develop a body of work. Below are her thoughts on how an artist should approach this very important exercise.

Tips to Developing a Body of Artwork, By Lori McNee

Any successful artist will tell you that developing a body of artwork is one of the main factors that separate the professional artist from the amateur.  Things that Successful Artists do Differently

It is important to create a cohesive, consistent body of work in order to be taken seriously by reputable art galleries, art collectors, or art representatives. These people expect to see a high level of consistent work that they can promote and support.

But, creating a body of work is mystifying to many fledgling artists. Below are a few suggestions that will help:

1. Style

The first step to developing a successful body of work is defining your artistic style. Whether you are a painter, photographer, ceramicist or sculptor, style is your own distinctive manner in which you apply the paint, color, texture, and shapes, mold the clay or manipulate the photographic image.

2. Consistency

Once you have a distinctive, recognizable ‘style’ of art it is imperative to be consistent. Do not promote or solicit your body of work until can consistently produce high-quality art. 10 Steps to Develop a Series of Exhibition Paintings

3. Theme

Now that you have you are comfortable with your consistent, recognizable ‘style’ of art, you are ready to create a theme for your body or artwork.

This might be a regional location, or a season, a color scheme, or paint quality. Try to think of Monet’s "Haystacks" painting or Picasso’s "Blue Period"

4. Format

Next, the artist must decide upon the format of the exhibition. Whether a two or three-dimensional artist, you must decide upon a pleasing arrangement of shapes and sizes. Keep in mind there is an emotional connotation attached to different formats.

Horizontal = peaceful

Vertical = majestic, active

Square = risky, contemporary

Standard = traditional

5. Message

Ask yourself: What is the message you are trying to convey to the viewer? What is your focal point?

6. Number

When I am asked to create a body of work for a gallery exhibition, I am generally expected to paint 12 -15 paintings. So, I suggest developing about a dozen beautiful, professional works of art for your body of work.

7. Presentation

Remember, the frame is a continuation of the painting or photograph and the message. Whether it is a sculpture or a painting, it is important to complement and showcase the artwork without distracting from it.

8. Evaluate

The last step to creating a successful body of artwork is to evaluate the group as a whole. Set up the art and look at it with a discerning eye. Are you happy with the group? Does one stand out, or clash with the rest? Must you delete something from the group for the betterment of the whole?

Once you have asked these tough questions and are comfortable with the grouping, congratulations! You have developed a body of work that is ready to be viewed!  Body of Work Part I Here

Lori McNee is a professional artist/blogger at http://finearttips.com who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings http://lorimcnee.com. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Ambassador Artist to Royal Talens. lori@lorimcneeartist.  Her art website is http://LoriMcNee.com

 

BODY OF WORKAs an artist do you have a body of work to show interested parties? What is a body of work? Why is it important to have this? How do you develop a body of work? We will explore these subjects and more a series of two articles.

To me, a body of work is a collection of an artist’s artwork which demonstrates an overall signature style. Simply put, it is artwork that is instantly recognizable to most people who appreciate art. We all know who the artist is when we see a Winslow Homer painting, an Andy Warhol print, or an Ansel Adams photograph. You recognize their art instantly as they created a body of work which they developed and perfected over a period of many years.

If you were asked by a gallery owner, art collector or by an art rep to see your artworks, could you show them a selection of 15 to 35 pieces of your art in a style, medium and subject matter that was consistent and memorable to that person? In other words, does your art distinguish you from all of the other artists that these people have seen?

What you are doing by having a body of work is demonstrating a mastery and expertise in that personal style, subject matter or media to a viewer of your artworks. By having a consistent body of work, you are drawing attention to your art in this manner rather than by showing your versatility in many styles of art. Gallery owners and art collectors want to see the mastery rather than versatility.

Every month we receive entries from artists who send us (within a group or entries) different media and different styles which show us that artist’s versatility but in reality, most of the winning artists generally show us a consistent style of art, in the same media and an overall mastery within that genre. When we visit the artist’s website we will also discover the same style is also shown there too.

Here is a quick way which will help an artist to develop their body of artwork. What is the one thing that you love to paint? What is the subject matter that fascinates you? What media do you favor more than anything else? What style of art excites and captivates your imagination? The answers to these questions will help direct your focus for all of your future creations and thus, you will begin to develop your own personal body of work.

Your body of work could be about a certain subject (landscapes, seascapes, still life etc.), or it could be on any subject whereby you employed a certain style or a unique media as your focus. Overall, this body of work becomes a collection of your artwork and by doing this you are showing a gallery owner, art collector or art rep that you can create art that is consistent within your distinctive style.

Do you have a signature style and a growing body of work to show? If not, it is time to begin this task and in by doing so successfully, you will soon take your art to the next level.

Our next post will continue about this subject when professional artist Lori McNee gives us her ideas on how to approach, develop and present a body of work in Part II of this subject.  Body of Work Part II Here 

 

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