Why I've Begun Photographing Imaginary Client Work

In the commercial world of photography, it's not enough to want it. You have to shoot it.

As a freelance photographer, I can't rely on any one source of income. I must have at least six revenue streams or more at any one given time to make a living. The theory goes, if one or two streams aren't flowing then the other ones should be picking up the slack.

The hurdle arises when as a photographer, I want to venture out into another field of photography - when I have no portfolio of such work to show to potential clients. What to do now if I want to create another revenue stream?

Recently, I've become interested in pursuing commercial work for major brands. At the very least, I want to attract business opportunities which lead in that direction. Naturally, I've no portfolio and no direct commercial experience in this field. I've worked for clients on assignments, image licensing, workshops, etc., but never for commercial brands.

The choice

The way I see it, I've got two choices. I sit around and wait, maybe send out a few emails, make a few cold calls. Doesn't sound like a viable strategy, does it? Or I actually start working on the commercial work I wish to have. I don't mean to go Ghandhi here, but it's very appropriate: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Translated for photographers: "Produce the work you want your clients to hire you for."

The Pros

There are a few benefits to this approach.

* New content for website and social media platforms

* You control all the creative details - unlike the real world where clients call all the shots, literally

* Amass a collection of images you can share with potential clients to help secure their business

The only cons are the usual two, time and money. And these factors are completely in the photographer's hands. For instance, I plan for all my shoots to be no more than an hour maximum. If time happens to run over for unforeseen circumstances, then fine. But no planning for three to five hour shooting schedules or hiring out studio time unless absolutely needed or desired. The idea is to save money and to make it worth your time, including the model(s) you have to convince to help you with your project.

Since you're the one calling the shots. . .

Why not shoot products and services you already love to use?

I'm now looking for models to shoot three different campaigns, each of them based on something I really love to use. One campaign is for a cologne, one for a lens, the other for a software plugin.

I've made a page for each of my imaginary campaigns on my website, including most of the details the model will need to know before accepting the work.

For Drakkar Noir: https://www.craigboehman.com/drakkar-noir-shoot

For Sigma Art lenses: https://www.craigboehman.com/sigma-art-shoot

For Silver Efex Pro: https://www.craigboehman.com/nik-software-shoot

The Three S's Strategy

Shoot - Find the model, shoot the campaign.

Share - Share the images on your website and social media platforms, making use of tagging and hashtags to draw attention from the brands themselves and customers.

Shakedown - Directly approach your clients with new portfolio in-hand. Get the job. Or get a referral. Or get a lead. Or just make a contact.

As of this writing, I have yet to shoot one of my imaginary campaigns. To be fair, it's only been a few days. But I will be updating my blog and elsewhere to share with you the results.

Want to be one of my models? Contact me and let me know which campaign you're interested in. Also, please send me a URL to your portfolio or social media accounts, wherever you share images of yourself. And finally, please review this page for guidelines and details.

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