I've had a number of new clients ask me to come by their offices and show them work. They'd like to integrate my work further into the work that their companies are producing. They are looking for a pairing that would be advantageous for both of us. But implicit in the invitation is the assumption that I'll bring along a really great portfolio which they will be able to share with their teams. The portfolio is the cement that makes the working relationship initially bond. It provides a concise statement to their peers that says, "See, I told you this guy could do good work!"
But I've fallen down on the job. Like so many other photographers and visual artists I've let myself believe that the web could be a good, all purpose portfolio. "Need to see my work? Head on over to the website." The sad thing is that I know better. I know how important it is to sit across the table with someone and be there when they look at the work. I also know how much more appealing two dimensional art is when you show it big and well. We should all have up-to-date portfolios that we can toss in the car and go show at a client meeting. It's like bringing your own welcome mat.
I have a number of printed portfolios here in the studio but most of the work in them is older, and that makes no sense at all. I've done about a hundred projects (both personal and business) in the last year and at least half of those projects produced work that I like and which I would enjoy showing. But there's an inertia against moving through the process to a print.
I wrote over the weekend about buying a 50 sheet box of matte surface, 13x19 inch ink jet paper and my intention to fire up my personal printing press and see if the truly ancient Canon Pro9000 was still capable of outputting acceptable prints. Well, as it happens I am not as unorganized as I sometimes pretend to be. There's a folder on my desktop entitled, "Portfolio Files to Work on and Print, 2014."
I opened that folder up today and started fussing with work in PhotoShop. I downloaded and installed the printer profiles for the exact paper and printer I am using. And, with more than a little anticipation, I did a test print.
Why "anticipation?" Because getting a good or a bad print will also tell you volumes about the quality (or horrifying lack of quality) of your monitor profile. I waited the five minutes or so it takes to print out a high quality, 13x19 inch print and then I exhaled happily and held in my hands a print that is so exactly like what I am seeing on the screen of my current model iMac 27 inch monitor that I almost cried. I'd presumed that printer tech had moved on in the last six years but I wasn't seeing much wrong on my output.
I have a 13 x19 inch portfolio book just waiting for dry prints. By the end of the week I should have a hundred new prints from which to choose. I'm promising myself that I'll keep up with my promotional materials from now on. I love seeing big, detailed, wonderful images come inching out. For the first time in months I feel like grabbing the phone and making some dates to show off the work. That's how it's supposed to feel. That's when you know you're on the right track.
And I'm happy to see that I don't need to run out an buy a new printer. More ink? Yes! But more printer? Not so much...