"My advice for new photographers: Project yourself.
Over my 20+ years as a pro photographer, I've seen my business and enthusiasm for photography grow in direct proportion to the amount of time I spend incorporating personal projects in to my life-stream. New photographers often ask how they can attract quality clients when they don't yet have a strong portfolio. The answer is to go create one! You don't need to wait for paying clients to create portfolio pieces. In fact, it is often better to create your own shoots that perfectly capture the style and technique you want to be hired for. Then, when you show these in your portfolio, you draw the appropriate clients to you.
Conversely, when we start out and shoot only for paying clients, the tendency is to play it safe and give them whatthey want instead of what your true vision is. It's natural to do this at first because you are just getting started and certainly want to have happy clients. The problem, however, is that you can tend to become undefined, or too broad in your appeal. The goal is to develop a strong and identifiable style and have clients who love that style come running to you. The only way to do this is to clearly show images that represent that style in your portfolio – which often means shooting personal projects until you have a strong enough body of work to draw them in.
In the long run, personal projects also keep you fresh, inspired, and excited about what you are doing – which is undeniably important to your business success and longevity.
Finally, personal charitable projects with your photography are essential to any business. We need to share our gifts with the world and finding an organization you can contribute to, or starting your own charitable project, is the perfect outlet. There are many fantastic established projects you can contribute to, like Help Portrait, and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Get involved and make a difference, it could turn out to be the most important thing you do in your entire life."
Looking to see more of Kevin's work and check on his workshops and where he's speaking? Check out his website!
Images copyright Kevin Kubota. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.