7 crucial reasons to talk about your personal work

17 April, 2022

If you work for discerning visual people in the advertising world you’ll know that personal work is the marketing back bone of your practice.

(If you didn’t know that, now you do. It’s a non-negotiable habit of highly successful photographers).

But something that may be missing from your personal work is a well articulated introduction.

Your perspective, if you will.

You may not think having a brief description or introduction to your personal projects is important.

But it IS.

And this is why:


1. It helps answer questions.

When you make a compelling photographic series it often causes the viewers to ask questions. People always want to know more. Whether it’s on an art gallery wall, in a competition or on a website, help them find out your motivation, or the story behind the series. It will really help engage your audience longer.


© Lilli Waters evocative images are supported by emotive words that convey her feelings.


2. It helps sell your work.

Everyone wants a story. if you’re selling your work as art you’re way more likely to get buyers across the line with an interesting back story. Your curator will thank you and so will your agent, and buyers will have something to talk about when it’s on their wall.


When I was an agent it was super helpful to have stories to tell. © Andrew Martin


3. You’re more likely to get it published.

PR people are busy. So are editors of publications. A series of work with words is a GIFT to these people. It’s ready made. It’s articulated. Boom! Instant PR, and in some cases, it’s a series that a publication will pay for. More exposure equals more people talking about you equals more work.


© Zoe Wetherall had her work published in multiple publications because of her well articulated introductions


4. It shows you’re a great communicator

Your job as a commercial or advertising photographer is to be an excellent communicator of ideas. That is your role as a lens based image maker and it’s helpful to show that you can do this when shooting personal work. A succinct introduction will show you understand ideas. And that means the world to advertising creatives. Truly.


© Robert Earp from his Series Project work, ‘Duck and Cover’


5. It helps your ideal clients understand who you are.

They can see by your images that you’re an amazing photographer, but how can they better understand your personality? People are hiring YOU so a well articulated project that conveys a piece of your personality is really helpful in helping them understand who you are, and who they’ll get to spend time collaborating, communicating and working with, on set or on location.


©Scott Woodward shot this image as part of his series ‘Tough, Oily Love” – his voice is conveyed really well in this series intro.

6. It makes you THINK about what you’re making. 

Is it an idea, or just a ‘theme’? Or even just a test shoot or project test? I’ve seen way too many half baked ‘projects’ appear as a ‘series’ when they really aren’t saying anything. Having a clearly articulated and honed in idea BEFORE you start shooting will actually make it much easier to know what you’re shooting, how you’re shooting it and why you’re shooting it.


© Lorna Carmichael shot ‘A Concubine’s Legacy” in Bangkok after discovering the ancient history of flower garlands.

7. It’s a great way to get crew and collaborators on board.

With an idea you can articulate, all manner of people will come on board. Share your vision eloquently and get them excited about what you’re making, potentially saving you money (it’s a personal project right?), and time, and skipping some of those project-stopping hurdles.


© Christian Mushenko shared his ‘Rituals of Home’ idea before shooting to get input what ‘home’ meant to them.

Yup, I know it’s writing.

Yup, I know you’re possibly dyslexic.

But you need to find a way to do this, because it will lead to a unique project that’s truly your own.

And potentially get you hired to shoot more of what you love.