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April 26, 2006
Networking Site Flaws.
opinion editorial will be a bit shorter than most, since we are busy updating
the rest of this site and are preparing an article about exploiting the
flaws of what I am going to touch on.
I’m talking about Portfolio Networking Sites and some of their flaws.
Want to know a secret? Most professional models and photographers don’t
like portfolio networking sites and, while they may have a free profile
up on several, they never seem to use them that much. I don’t blame
them. I don’t take them all that seriously, and to be honest, I
am one of the few models who do not have a portfolio networking profile
Most professionals take the time to learn and invest in their careers.
We pay for the portfolios that we need (did you know that most professional
photographers pay four to six times what a model would, on average, to
develop their portfolios? I was surprised to learn this, too!). We have
professional web sites made that are effective and are easy to update.
We buy domain names for our web sites. We basically distance ourselves
from the amateurs, too, and present a professional presence. By default,
this means that portfolio networking sites are not that important to us,
and there are good reasons behind this.
Here are a few brief points on the flaws and why most professionals don’t
take them seriously. Before I touch on them, please ask yourself what
the definition of a career is. Is it working for free? Is it learning
bad habits by working with amateurs? Is it putting yourself at risk by
not checking out those that you work with before you work with them? No,
a career is making a living doing what you are good at while gaining skill
and experience. Pay could be anything from monetary compensation (making
money) to obtaining better tools for the promotion of your career.
On to some of the flaws of portfolio networking sites.
As a professional, who exactly are you marketing to in order to book jobs?
What is the point of networking with those who either are competing with
you or who think that they are competing with you?
There are too many amateur photographers on these sites shooting for free,
which makes me really question their motivation, and clueless people who
think that they are models on these sites and who have no clue how to
discern value and quality. How hard is it to market yourself on a site
that is cluttered with people who aren’t what they claim to be?
A professional knows who their customers are and knows how to market their
services to them without being lost in a crowd of people who are confusing
the market. They also don’t waste their time marketing to people
who aren’t in the market for what they have to offer. Portfolio
networking sites have lots of profiles on them and built-in competition
that limits what you can do as a professional.
As a professional, you have to protect yourself. You need to keep certain
information from those who are looking to compete with you. One big problem
with portfolio networking sites is that your clients list, which should
be one of our most valuable and protected trade secrets, are there for
your competition to shop. Show me someone who gives away their client
list and suggests that their clients join a portfolio networking site,
and I will show you an unprofessional idiot who has no business sense.
I know of a few photographers who run around shooting pretty girls for
free and get them to join such sites so they can work with other “photographers”,
too. Do I respect them? No. Will I ever work with them? Hell no, and that’s
even if their work wasn’t crap to begin with.
Mark my words: Some of these so-called professionals are in for a rude
awakening. I know of several real professionals who are planning to show
the clients of these morons the bigger and better deal, and it won’t
be hard to take away their clients, especially when it is so easy to figure
out who they are to begin with. When you have more experienced photographers
out there who have more experience, do better work, know the business
better than you, and have the respect and loyalty of models who they work
with, the last thing that you want to do is show them who your clients
are. Some of those clients only work with amateur photographers because
they do not know any better and are not aware that there is anything better
out there. When you make it easy for the professionals to get in touch
with your clients when they have you beat in every way, you only have
yourself to blame when your clients leave you. Many photographers who
rely on portfolio networking sites are amateurs who do TFP work, and they
make it too easy for experienced professionals to come along and stomp
them into the dirt.
We are going to be going into this a lot more in the future, because many
of these self-proclaimed professionals are demonstrating that they are
unprofessionals with no clue about what they think they are doing by giving
away what little business that they have.
of professional standards.
Most portfolio networking sites have no way of making their members accountable,
are either free or offered at little charge, and have no way of qualifying
their members. ANYONE can join this sites, regardless of actual professional
qualifications, and MOST do, increasing perceived competition on the site
and making it very difficult to find the real professionals who may have
a profile. Think you know who you are dealing with? Do you like their
work? How do you know for sure?
With all of these people on the site, you are going to get lots of conflicting
information that will only serve to confuse anyone who is new to the industry.
The blind will lead the blind. Most of the information comes from the
site message boards, and most of the people posting on those boards have
lots of opinions with no real education to back them up. If they have
all of this time to post on the boards and give mixed advice, how do they
have time to work their career? When I see photographers posting all sorts
of B.S. on message boards, I always wonder when they have the time to
book and do shoots. Most can’t, and don’t.
ways to take advantage of these sites, but I will not go into it here.
Wait for the article, and learn how to exploit the flaws of portfolio
Danielle Cooper, Editor
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