My name is Michael D. Becker and I’m a photographer specializing in lifestyle, portrait, and corporate photography. While my work has appeared in dozens of magazines, such as Elléments Magazine, Fuse Magazine, VOLO Magazine, and Dark Beauty Magazine to name a few, I wanted to invest in my business to secure more paying gigs. I first learned about Agency Access through an article on Breed Academy’s website.
Putting the proverbial cart before the horse, I initially signed up for a Basic Self Serve Bundle with Agency Access that included their database, email credits, and FoundFolios. However, my portfolio and website were very diverse – covering subject matter ranging from executive portraits to fine art nudes. I quickly found myself questioning how to do outreach in the absence of a clear message and focus. I needed help!
At this point, I invested in a 2-hour consult with Jennifer Perlmutter, a creative consultant at Agency Access. It was important to me that we met face-to-face the first time, so we setup a date/time to meet and she requested that I bring a copy of my portfolio. In advance of the meeting, I printed out some of my best work and assembled my first print portfolio. This exercise itself was very helpful and rewarding. It forced me to start to assemble a cohesive group of images and it was also great to see my work in large print as opposed to just on a computer screen.
I was very nervous about the initial meeting with Jennifer. While I had been published in several magazine outlets, no one really critiqued my work and I was wondering if I had the skills to “make it” as a photographer. My fears were alleviated during the meeting and Jennifer was constructive about my work and confirmed the need for clearer focus and direction with the portfolio. In addition, we discussed which areas of photography would be better suited to generate income in the near-term, which meant less of a focus on the fine art nude side of my work.
Based on Jennifer’s direction, we decided that commercial work, such as environmental portraiture for magazines and other outlets, would be the best path forward for me. In view of the fact that I didn’t have a robust portfolio of work in this specific genre, my next challenge was to expand my portfolio. I really liked working with Jennifer, so the next logical step was to sign up for a Portfolio Build with her and Agency Access.
Over the following months, we had weekly Skype calls to discuss upcoming photo shoot concepts and Jennifer was great in providing direction to help ensure that each shoot would fit well with the overall portfolio. We would also review photo proofs and she helped select which images ultimately would make it into the “new” portfolio. It was extremely helpful to have regular contact and keep me constantly focused on growing my portfolio.
Towards the end of the Portfolio Build, Jennifer requested a single portfolio containing all of the images we selected throughout the past few months. From this set, she helped select a cohesive group of images that would be used to populate a new website focusing more on the commercial side of my business. I also created a separate website to house my fine art nude work so that it was completely separate from my new direction. I should have done that long ago!
Because of Jennifer and Agency Access, I just launched my new website and have a much better platform to showcase my work and pursue a real career in photography as opposed to being more of a hobby. The Portfolio Build may have been a lot of work, but it was extremely rewarding to have new images and a focused set to share with the world. Now it’s time to grow my business and get more work!
Michael D. Becker is an internationally published photographer specializing in lifestyle, portrait, and corporate photography. His work has appeared in dozens of fashion and beauty magazines such as Elléments Magazine, Fuse Magazine, VOLO Magazine, and Dark Beauty Magazine to name a few. Michael lives in Bucks County, PA, but was raised in the great city of Chicago and is a loyal Cubs baseball fan - which just goes to show that he's an eternal optimist! He has an Associate of Science in Photography degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
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