In this video, photographer Marcus Smith shares an important piece of advice, something that you may have heard somewhere before and something that may just propel you to focus more on what you love to do, because at the end of the day that’s what the people you want to work with want to see in your portfolio:
Most photographers don’t quite know where to start. They wish they could work with the best of brands and the best of celebrities without an inkling of a clue where to begin. Most end up doing things which they never aspired to do for the sake of getting to the level where they could do what they originally sought out to. While there is no shame in doing that, photographer Marcus Smith has a completely different idea.
Smith credits this simple piece of advice from his mother that changed his life and career:
“’In business,’ she said, ‘nobody likes that person that always talks about what they want to do.’ She said, ‘They like talking to people who have already done what they say they want to do.’”
“So, if I want to shoot for Nike, they don’t want to hear about how I wish I could shoot basketball and how I wish I could shoot Kobe, they want to see how I would do it already.”
When faced with the obviousness of the fact that he had nothing in his portfolio to showcase his love for sports photography, Smith took the hard way. He spent the next four to five months planning and painstakingly building his portfolio so that it reflected more of the type of photographer that he is and what he loves to shoot.
“The first thing that I did was I made a list of people that I felt like I will love to work for. Then I did this project which took about four to five months. It was me shooting, following the basketball team around. I am an avid basketball fan. Even if nothing came from it monetarily, it wouldn’t have mattered, because I have fun doing it anyway.”
Smith made a photo book using the images he shot and he sent it out to 12-15 people. Slowly but surely he started getting paid gigs. Everything threaded out from that one project that he took it upon himself to shoot.
“Shooting what it is that you want to get hired for then showing that work, that’s really, I think, the biggest thing that you can do.”
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