The Portfolio: Building Yourself from Others

I took this photo when prom season was just around the corner. This was for my photography manager, Tyler, and her boyfriend. We were at Tewinkle Park in Costa Mesa, a very mainstream place for people to go for formal dance pictures. Because the two didn’t have a corsage and boutonniere, they picked that rose from Tyler’s backyard. I never thought It would be used for a very awe-inspiring effect. Tyler, and many others, told me I should go into wedding photography. Before this photoshoot, I took pictures for four other prom groups/couples and I would do two more after. Out of every photo I’ve taken for homecomings and proms, this one is still the cover photo for my portfolio. 

Sometimes, we have to serve others for our own benefit. But as photographers, we do it all the time.

Whenever I’m doing a homecoming group photo shoot, one of the things I most commonly say is, “Man, that’s going in the portfolio!”

Building a portfolio is a must, at least if you want to start being reputable. We depend on the art we create for other people to reflect on ourselves. I really wanted to be a homecoming/prom group photographer, but I realized nobody was going to ask me because I didn’t go on a single homecoming or prom photo shoot yet. At first, I offered to take pictures for free. As I saw my work improving over time (and in more areas than formal dances), so was the portfolio that I would be proud to show people outside my friend circle.

One thing about portfolios is that there is no predetermined amount of photos or time that it will take for people to start requesting and appointing you. Some people are more skillful and prolific than others.  The most important factor to your popularity as a photographer is how you market yourself. It’s sad that the very talented sometimes aren’t very well known because they keep to themselves and their little circle. If I had never joined organizations like BBN, Yearbook, and Baron Banner, it would’ve been considerably harder for me to sell myself as a professional artist.  If I had never touched Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr, I might as well not have existed, at least in the world of photography.  If I didn’t tell others’ stories first, how would everybody know mine?

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2 thoughts on “The Portfolio: Building Yourself from Others

  1. There are definitely people out there who have talent but, unfortunately, remain unrecognized. Sometimes how we market our abilities can be as important as our abilities themselves! Being great is only half the battle. Similarly, with the innovation project, coming up with an idea is only half of the innovation process. Publicity is an important part of bringing attention to a great idea, bringing the idea support and funding. Media is the water that ideas, as seeds, need to grow big and tall.

  2. I like how you told the story of how you grew as a photographer and the necessities of promoting yourself Tue! I like how it connects with our innovation projects. Great job!

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