Portfolio Review

portfolio-review

I’m stuck at work this week without any actual work to be done. When I look at my office IM system, the only people on the job are the ones in my department, waiting for the ones who aren’t in our department to bring us some work. Which ain’t going to happen.

But I’m not letting this time go to waste (at least not all of it). Over the last couple days I have started a comprehensive portfolio review for myself. I’ve made prints of 60 or 70 of my favorite images and have begun the process of building a new and improved book. What started as an excercise to keep busy during a slow period is starting to evolve into something much more. My new list of immediate goals is a bit longer than just updating my book:

  1. Update the book
    Obviously I want to refresh the images that I have in my hardcopy book. My online portfolio has been largely ignored lately which is think is a symptom of not having a strong hardcopy book. Nothing in the world beats looking at all of your prints at the same time – I’ve found it’s tough to get see the story as clearly clicking through a website.
  2. Decide what my story is
    This process has really made it clear to me that I have several different stories happening in my book, and I need to figure out the best way to focus my story. To do that I need to determine what story is important to me.
  3. Get rid of the crap
    This exercise has shown me that my work is really all over the place. I have no doubt that there will be times when I will have to do work that isn’t always exactly what I want to do, especially now so early in my career, but that doesn’t mean I need to promote myself with the stuff I don’t like. In the past I’ve put images in my portfolio that I thought people would want to see, but that didn’t excite me. All of those images are going bye-bye
  4. Fill in the holes
    As I dump images that aren’t up to my standards, I’m also creating holes in my book. As a staff photographer, I have tons of work that is similar, but there are gaps in a logical story and flow. My goal is to identify those holes and find projects to fill them for a more well rounded portfolio.
  5. Create the best prints possible
    One of the things that I’ve realized as I go through this process is that there are many images in my book that work well as electronic images, but need work to really shine as hardcopy prints. Since we are a design department we have a wonderful top of the line Xerox color machine, which makes prints with fairly decent accuracy. Ultimately I’ll have Adorama make the final prints for me, but I’ll be able to get pretty close to where I want to be using the Xerox. I’m going through my book and adding post-production notes to each. This is tedious, but it’s giving me an idea of what needs to be done, and hopefully when I start my final edits it will go quickly.
  6. Find all source files
    I have been terrible with file management. At work, each job is assigned a unique number so it’s been pretty easy to archive, search and locate images. My personal work is spread across any number of drives and folders. It’s a mess. One big goal of mine is to organize all of my images, which I’m hoping will be easier especially now that I’m using a Drobo at home for my files. I wish there was a way to link my Lightroom library at work with the one at home, but that doesn’t seem possible. In any case, I’m going to locate all of the source files for my selects and get them archived properly and also uploaded to my Photoshelter account.

All in all this has turned into quite a project, and I don’t think I’m going to get it completed before the end of the year, but seeing as I’m not actively lo0king for freelance work at the moment, there is no immediate need for a hardcopy book. However, this is something that is long over due and couldn’t come at a better time. I’m going to be starting the new year with a clearer idea of where I’m headed in 2009.

Additionally, I’m going to try to get back into regular blogging, if only to keep my internal monologue focused, so stay tuned.

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