Tips

Portfolios:
– Be confident in your work and know who you are as a photographer. Know your strengths and decide whether you want to be a fashion or landscape photographer.
– It is important to identify who the client is and take some time to look at their brand/ image or style before you pitch yourself and your work to them.
– Remember the client will need to see a coherent portfolio; your work should demonstrate a consistent theme and should be your strongest images. Don’t be tempted to include weaker images to ‘pad it out’ as this could suggest that your best images were just lucky shots.
– Look at what your client is doing and what they are using in their campaigns or work, does your work fit? Whilst the Nikon Foundation competition was open to all final year photographers, the judges occasionally struggled to identify commercial connections.
– Retouching happens in most fields of photography these days so it is important to demonstrate that you have recognised when to apply retouching and that you are capable of doing a good job. If you are submitting a portfolio of portraits then ensure you retouch them well. Poor retouching or no retouching ruins what could have been a great picture; another photographer with a similar image that has been retouched is more likely to get the job over you.

Covering letters:
– A Covering letter is your one opportunity to demonstrate your passion and desire for the job and show what you can offer the client. Creative industries are very busy environments in which staff work long hours to hit tough deadlines so if your letter is longer than one page of A4 it simply won’t be read. A photo essay is not an appropriate covering letter for a job. On the other hand, you do need to give information about yourself and your work so don’t make it a one liner as you may come across as not serious enough. Be clear, polite, passionate and tailor the letter to the client
– It is a good idea to demonstrates that you are familiar with your client’s work / brand.

Websites:
– In this day and age there is no excuse for not having a web site. If you don’t have one, how do you expect clients to find you?
– Ensure the URL is easy to remember and short, if you have a long complicated name then shorten it to something that is easier to remember.
– Always have your most powerful and engaging image on the home page. Within five seconds the visitor should know who you are, what type of photography you do and how to contact you.
– As with your portfolio, avoid putting all your work on your web site unless it works well together – don’t lose a client because your best images are overshadowed by your weaker ones.
– Blogging, tweeting and Facebook are all great ways to keep potential clients up to date with your latest work, and will also help get your web site better Google rankings by driving traffic.
– If you are going to start a blog or twitter account then make sure you keep blogging and tweeting. If you lapse, clients may think you have gone off the radar.
– Separate your social and work accounts – you don’t want potential clients who are looking to invest in you to know what you had for dinner last night.

The last piece of advice is to gain as much experience as possible; understanding the market you are trying to sell into is vital if you want to succeed. So get experience where ever you can find it and, good or bad it will help you give you a better understanding of the industry. But ultimately, just keep taking pictures!