Trying to see how far I can go with Selfies and an iPhone. Can you build a portfolio?

As a Navy Public Affairs Officer, every time I set up a Navy event for the Steelers, I was able to stay on the field to shoot pics for publication. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my combat camera issued gear, and I don’t shoot sports for a living. So my longest lens was a 180mm f/2.8 Nikon. That made those great shallow DOF shots from half way across the field difficult. But what it did give me, was the ability to shoot some great images when they were right up on me that very few people get to see.

When I am working in Studio or on location, some of the most fun photo shoots are the ones with kids. I struggle a bit with babies (they tend not to take direction well and parents always want to control the environment)– but kids are a hoot. While I am not shooting weddings anymore, I still look for any opportunity to do portraits and interesting photo projects.

Looking for a job is a full-time business. Like business, you need to understand your product, your potential clients and have a strategy to get those clients to buy. So remember the story of “the man and his mule.”

A very poor farmer was forced to sell his five mules for $20 each. An entrepreneurial young man took out a loan and bought all the mules for $100. He then put a sign, “Pack animals – $100 each” outside his barn. He sold all five of them within the week.

The poor farmer, clearly upset that he hadn’t earned the same profits, asked, “How did you sell those mules for $100 each? They weren’t worth more than the $20 I sold them to you for.”

The young man looked the farmer squarely in the eye and told him, “I don’t sell mules. I sell pack animals.”

The young man understood his clients. He knew what they wanted and developed a plan how to sell it to them. He rebranded the mules into pack animals, which was the key phrase his clients would respond to.

The same branding is true for your business. As you sell yourself and your company, you have to be aware of what the clients want. Do they want photos or do they want stories? Do they want prints, or do they want experiences?

Effective advertising delivers a promise: shinier floors, supple hair, and more luxurious driving experience. Before you make a promise you must know what you can deliver.

In micro-businesses like wedding photography, photographers fail to notice that photography is only half of the industry. The other half is business, and it is the business end where the real promises are made.