Build it for You


If I have one piece of advice I could give every photographer out there, after 10 years of working in the industry, it would be - build it for you.

When you first start out as a photographer you will be panicking. You will be wondering how to separate yourself, thinking all of your work is shit, and that everything good has already been shot, and no one will ever hire you. But despite all of that - you know you have something - or you wouldn't be determined to stick it out in an industry that will tear you apart and impoverish you if you let it.

You will never think you have enough gear. So make peace with what you have right now. You will also probably never have enough money - so also make peace with that right now. And just bloody do it because you love it.
My amazing photo agent pal Shell gave me some great advice when I was at my busiest - I was shooting a ton (still am), and I was trying to cull all of my work into a common vibe, and texture.

She told me: three for the bank, one for the book.

That means, for every four shoots you do - three should be for the bank, and one should be for your portfolio. This ratio can definitely vary, but it's a good starting point.

No you are not going to post everything you shoot, nor should you. No, you are not too good for money. No, not every shoot is necessarily representative of your skill and aesthetic and it never will be, given you are for the most part executing the visions of art directors, and clients that come to the table with a very specific need. Ultimately they need it to be a fit with their brand and the direction they are moving in. It is your job to still try to build that need into something you and they can be proud of.

Doing this over and over and over and over may slowly make you hate photography. You have to keep the ratios at a good level. Full-time photogs, what did you shoot for yourself this month, just because you wanted to? What did you spend your own money on props for, what location did you rent just because you needed it? What trip did you take because you HAD to see something. THAT is why you are a photographer. Hold onto that, or your drive will die.

It's a careful balance...but an important one. And something that all of the best photographers I know observe.

xxx Kitty