July 5, 2010
Navigating the world of self promotion in photography can be very confusing and difficult. Many photographers feel that they take amazing images and that should be enough, but unfortunately in this world you need to not only be a great image maker, but a great marketer of your images as well. There is always the tried and true post card image with contact details on the back, but to avoid the dreaded toss pile many photographers are becoming more innovative, trying desperately to top each other by spending thousands of dollars (I’ve read of ones reaching $25,000) on simply getting an editor to take a second glance at their image. I have taken many a business class on photography and have studied the blogosphere for advice on the delicate issue of self promotion. What I have found you ask? There doesn’t seem to be one right answer. There is no magic secret ingredient that makes an editor say “wow” and type your portfolio address into their web browser. I have heard from editors who like very simple portfolios, some who like things they get to keep like a cup of noodles or a water bottle, and some who will only look at digital pieces.
When researching how to make yours I suggest checking out:
A Photo Editor’s Blog , a wonderful blog written by Rob Haggart, the former Director of Photography for Men’s Journal and Outside Magazine
An Interview with Ilise Benun on getting comfortable with self promotion
No Plastic Sleeves Blog, another great blog dedicated to portfolios and promotion for photographers
PDN’s Self Promo Awards, a selection of self promo’s that have been selected by Photo District News as the best of the best, it includes descriptions and images.
As I am preparing for my trip, along with getting all my bug repellents, shots, and clothes, I have also prepared a promo that I will be sending out to some photographers, photo editors, gallery owners, and non profits who I would love to work with. My promo is in preparation for the trip, encouraging people to follow this very blog you’re reading and create interest in my project on endangered and threatened species. After all, the only way my images can create change is if people see them! With that in mind I came up with the phrase: These animals are being erased from our planet. Soon all that will be left are the images. I am sending out an envelope containing a postcard with an image from my arctic series on the front and the general information about the project on the back. Inside the envelope I have also included a business card and four erasers: a panda bear, lion, orangutan, and a elephant. (Four animals I will be working with and photographing). The erasers all came in today and I began to put together the promos. They all looked so adorable in a pile as I sorted them that I just had to share them with you here!
Below is a sample of the promo being sent out soon: