If you’re a photographer, there’s an argument that says you should show as much of your work as you can. You might not agree with it. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone. But I do think it could help you to think about it if you never have before.
It’s worth saying too that by ‘your work as a photographer’, I don’t just mean your photographs. As you know better than me, your work is about much more than that.
This post is punctuated with a bunch of photographs I shot on Fujicolor C200. They’re really a ragtag gang of leftovers that inspired me to write this in the first place. There’s a full review of the film that you can read here should you want to.
Or you could save that for later and read what you clicked onto this page for. To see why, as a photographer, you should show as much of your work as you can.
The balance between terrible and worthwhile
The first thing to explain here is that I’m not advocating you show all your work. As the title states, it’s about showing as much as you can. And by that, I mean as much as you can without damaging your overall portfolio or reputation.
Quite how much that is depends on what you’re trying to do with your photography. For me, as a photography blogger rather than a professional photographer, I have a lot more leeway. I can do posts like this one and part of this one showing when and how I messed up.
I can throw most of my shots up on Instagram and if some only get a measly amount of likes, even by my low standards, it doesn’t matter. Nobody else will remember my not-so-good shots so why should I worry? Not when I can just post another anyway.
So for me really, quantity is more important than quality. That’s not to say I don’t care about making good photographs, but it’s not their quality or commercial value that puts bread on my table. Which is handy, because they have none.
That said, if you’re trying to sell your work or yourself as a photographer, it is a good idea to keep to yourself the stuff that dilutes the quality of what people see. I understand that. Again though, are you really showing as much as you could be?
Of course, having technically bad photographs littered throughout your portfolio is going to hurt you. It would suggest you don’t know what you’re doing. But putting a round-up of unused shots out there with some context or an explanation is probably better than not doing so.
It could be a guide to why the composition wasn’t as good as the images you did use, or how something went wrong technically to screw them up. And then, most importantly of all, walking through how others can avoid the same thing happening to them.
There are so many people competing to get paid work as a photographer today, and the internet has made client acquisition both easier and harder. It takes going the extra mile to stand out, but the idea of showing as much of your work as you can could help you do that.
As mentioned, that could simply be by showing a little of what’s behind the curtain or helping others out by sharing your experience and knowledge. It could be any number of other things you can think of too.
How other creators show as much of their work as they can
Thinking about other creative endeavours is often useful for inspiring your own photography. Composition and colours in paintings or locations and lighting in movies and TV shows spring to mind.
Looking beyond the work itself though and thinking about what people choose to release to the world could give you some more ideas for showing as much of your work as you can.
The first example is when musicians release collections of B-sides, rarities, and demos. These were mainly songs deemed not good enough to make it onto the proper albums or, in the case of the demos, needed further work to get them up to scratch.
So if they’re not as good as or as polished as the main record, why release them at all? My answer to that would be… why not?
Fans of the artist get more songs to listen to and get to hear early versions of stuff they already know. It doesn’t matter if it’s not quite as good, as nobody expects it to be. That’s not its purpose.
It brings value to the consumer in a different way and, let’s be honest, more money for the musician or record label too. That’s not a bad thing though. If I were trying to sell myself as a photographer, any new ways to make money would be very welcome indeed.
The second example of people showing more than they need to is collections of outtakes and mistakes from movies and TV shows.
No actor gets it right every time, so why not save all the occasions they mess up and use the footage they already have anyway to create something the viewers see as a bonus?
It doesn’t make any extra revenue in the way a new collection of old songs does, but it does help show the person behind the A-list name and help the fan feel they’re as imperfect as all of us.
In both cases here, there are lessons you could take to help you as a photographer trying to sell yourself or your work.
They are making use of assets you’ve already made, bringing value to anyone who happens to see it, and helping people to feel like they know the person behind the camera.
Showing as much of my work as I can
As I said in the opening of this piece, this topic was inspired by having these photographs left over from a roll of film and not knowing what to do with them. It just felt to me it was better they got shared than not. Even the first-of-the-roll one up there.
It’s not the first time either, as there’s a similar post I wrote a while ago that rounded up a bunch of photographs I’d shot on some Oriental Seagull film and didn’t know what else to do with.
I’d gotten a couple of standalone photo essays from that roll, like this one from the Shanghai marriage market and this one from the city’s Jing’An Sculpture Park, but the stragglers needed a write-up of their own.
Again, as a photography blogger, priorities are different to those of a professional photographer. The more I can put out, the better.
If you want to learn more about the film these leftovers were shot on, you can check out the complete Fujicolor c200 review. Or even go see how much you could pick some up for from Amazon, from eBay, or from Analogue Wonderland.
If you do and you aren’t sure you like the results you got with it, think about how you could get them out there in a constructive way anyway.
You know, just to share as much as your work as you can. 😀
- A Versatile, All-Around Film, Smooth, Fine Grain, Enhanced Color Reproduction & Sharpness,Designed for versatility and ease of use
- the multi- purpose 200 is an all-around Film perfect for outdoors, or indoors with flash.
If you found that post useful, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about the Fujicolor C200 film I used here:
- The comprehensive Fujicolor C200 review
- Some great websites to share and sell your photography
- Shooting Fujicolor C200 on the beach
And if you think others will enjoy or benefit from this post too, help them find it by giving it a share?