#Askjulie – Enlarging a portfolio – Spreading the word

It’s time for another #askjulie! Make sure to keep sending in your questions to info@julialionhair.com !


My name is Adam, a photographer based in Amsterdam (originally from Israel) and I hope to get your advice on a few questions! 

First I’ll explain a bit by sharing my story – but you can skip this and just get to the questions in the end…

Well, just around 15 years ago I’ve started photographing musicians and bands, which led into a few jobs with them, PR photos, Cover designs (I am a graphic designer), posters and so on – meaning, I never focused only on photography and actually the major focus was on design work. as a day-time job I also worked as  a designer. now, very recently, I’ve decided it’s time to focus on what I really love and take on photography 100% as a full time profession. And now the challenges are – where to start? My portfolio isn’t large but I can stand behind the quality of work in it. I face two issues, one – enlarge my portfolio, two – spread the word. Both prove to be harder than expected.

1. How do you find good TFP partners? I try looking for collaborations with models via Model Mayhem to very low responses, I have posted notices at fashion design school looking for students to shoot their work – and found pure silence. Any tips on doing something else? Any tips in doing the same – but better? Thank you!

2. What are the best ways to get yourself known? There is posting your work to blogs, groups, and so on, and there is what i suspect is better – working with many people, tagging them when you post, and basically reaching their audience. Lastly there are blogs, youtube, etc – but again people need to find it, reach it… What worked better for you? How did you grow your following? 

Thank you very much.”
– Adam


Hey Adam!

I took a look at your website and your work is stunning. I can totally see that you started as a designer, your work would fit perfectly in professional websites or promotion material. Your website looks very professional and it’s easy to navigate through the pictures. Good job!

As to your first question, finding good TFP models is a process of trial and error. When I started out, I worked with everyone, and I learned to tell what makes someone a good model. Being comfortable with the camera, good posing skills, adaptability, and most of all, a good vibe and good communication are definitely things to keep in mind when looking for a model. Once you’ve worked with someone you really like, take advantage of that. Shoot with them a lot so you can teach each other new things. Ask if they know any other good models. A lot of the models I know, I got to meet because of someone else in the business is a friend of a friend of a friend, … and so on.
Add them on social media and check out who they are following.  When I meet a new model, I add them on Instagram, and a lot of related profiles pop up when I do. I visit several of these profiles and add the ones I like as well. They might be more inclined to talk to you when you have mutual friends or followers.
By keeping on adding people to your social network, you have more chance of meeting good models. Sometimes I just browse artist’s pages on Facebook, and that’s how I discover new people.
It’s a good tip for artists to give a link to other artists you like on your page! Facebook has a function to give a like to another artist with your page, so their page pops up on yours when people visit. This is an excellent way to look for likeminded people, who like to work in a similar style.

What has also helped me in the beginning and joining local Facebook groups for photography. Share your profile and say you are looking for new faces to photograph. I’m very sure that within a day or two, you will have lots of comments and private messages.

Don’t be shy to send messages to everyone you admire. I have written another blog post about how to ask people for a collaboration, which you can read here.

Now, for your second question: how to get your name known.
Getting known in the field is a long process. The best way to start is just to work with a lot of people. Especially succesful people. If you surround yourself with succes, you are more likely to succeed yourself.
When I started working for Sheridan’s Art, I gained a LOT of followers. Simply because her followers saw my work and decided to check out my page. Sometimes, this is luck, but you can also try to achieve this by booking well known models. If they like the picture you made of them, they might share it in your social media. Thanks to the credits, people will visit your page to check you out.
What has worked extremely well for me, have been social media giveaways. I make a post that people have to share on their walls or with their friends, they have to like the page, and the winner gets a prize. Participating doesn’t cost much effort, and the reward is pretty neat, so giveaways are an excellent way to get more followers.

In the past I used to go a lot to networking events. I’m pretty sure Amsterdam has them too, try to consult your local photostudios or Facebook groups. You can meet other people in the industry, look at each others portfolio, and hand out business cards. This is how I got my name known locally.

Thanks for your questions, they were really interesting to think about! Hope I helped you with this post.

Let’s ask the same questions to my followers! How do you find models? Where did you meet your most favorite model? What do you do to get more people to know your business?

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