Photography by: Alex Belov
For: Harvey Nichols
Whenever aspiring photographer makes their first steps into becoming a professional, the main question is how to get enough projects to sustain themselves financially. In other words, how to get paid doing what you like.
Depending on how big your family is, how many friends you have, and how large are networks of your friends and family members, you can rely on the word of mouth for quite some time. But sooner or later, you realize that you want to step outside of the initial "circle of trust".
Your portfolio and why to do it all over again
Some of you might say: "Hey, I already have my portfolio on my own site", or even "I spent quite some time to upload my works to different sites, why again?"
This sound like a valid point. Well, it IS the valid point, as the time is the most important resource that you have. However, our advice is "never stop expanding".
Regardless of where your main portfolio is - your own standalone website, Facebook page or even page on Flickr, 500px or another photo-sharing community - you should register on every serious photography platform. There are some facts you cannot ignore, let's summarize them:
- Reserve your name. This one is easy - if you don't reserve your name, someone else will occupy it. This will lead to the situation when other people would associate your network identity with someone else. You should take care of your identity on every platform out there - even if you don't want to invest any of your time further on!
- Reach the community. On every platform, there is a community. It consist not only of people that you can see, there are also people who lurking under the surface until they find someone they are looking for. And guess what, they can also be your potential clients. Also, do not understimate your fellow photographer peers. When you speak to them, you exchange ideas, you learn, you imitate, you teach and you get new contacts. All these are good things for your professional growth.
- Increase your exposure. Your potential clients have their own platform of choice to search for photos or photographers. Thus, having your works uploaded onto different platforms increases your chances to reach many different segments of buyers.
- Improve your SEO. If you already set up your own website, then you might have realized how important it is to boost its discoverability in search engines. The ugly truth is that first page of results in Google is always just 10 entries long and therefore it can't accommodate everyone. Doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) yourself is tricky, outsourcing is expensive, and results are not so predictable. When you make profile on some platforms, they take over some part of SEO job. When you repeat it with different platforms, it only helps you to get better ranking and thus a better discoverability.
- Specialization. There is no good solution for multiple problems. Likewise, there is no platform that works best for all kind of clients. In order to serve best the demand, you might want to have different sets of your works exhibited on different websites.