Shoot What You Love

One of my assistants made a comment the other day that reminded me of how I used to struggle with imagery for my portfolio. It took me way too many years to figure out something that seems like it should be so amazingly obvious. But because we are more often than not way to close to our own work, I couldn’t see it.

Plain and Simple?


In the early half of my career I was obsessed with shooting what I thought people wanted to see in my portfolio, rather than what inspired me. I tried to be all things to all people and anticipate any and every possible scenario. AND… I didn’t get very far.

One day while having a conversation with a colleague, she mentioned how her book was all fashion and portrait and that she was getting all of this product work from agencies. At that moment the light bulb went on and I realized that much of the work I was getting was not representative of what was in my portfolios….

With that realization I thought why am I shooting all of this stuff that really doesn’t interest me, only to have people hire me for completely non-related projects? So I started shooting what I wanted to shoot and what I thought was interesting. And the jobs came. Slowly, but they came. And I came to realize that regardless of how hard you work or how much you try, your passion (or lack thereof) comes through in your imagery. And if people don’t see it, they are not going to hire you. And when you shoot what you are passionate about, folks will see it in your work and will be drawn to it and those of like mind (which are the ONLY people you want to work for ANYWAY) will hire you!

I have confirmed this over and over and have talked with so many others who experience the same. So the moral of the story is simple. Do what you love, and they will come!

1 thought on “Shoot What You Love

  1. I feel as if the truth lies somewhere in between shooting what you love and shooting what others want. The “what you love” aspect is what gives my work its signature – I choose a subject matter or a perspective or a theme according to what I want to see. I also try to incorporate work which I know people will be watching for. Case in poinot, ring lights are over used, gimicky and kinda boring but I know that magazines and advertisers love that look (although, fortunately enough I’m starting to see less and less of it). What I try to do in a situation like that is use that standardized style and put my own spin on it so that the portfolio both demonstrates that I CAN create that look but that I’m not just copying other people’s style.

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