Amateur to Freelance: How to Develop a Portfolio | Indeana Underhill | Skillshare

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Amateur to Freelance: How to Develop a Portfolio

teacher avatar Indeana Underhill, Cinematographer & Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. About Me & What You'll Learn

    • 2. Use Your Own Resources

    • 3. Be a Tourist

    • 4. Build a Portfolio & an Audience

    • 5. Marketing

    • 6. Wrap Up & Class Project

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About This Class

Get More Experience Shooting: Amateur to Freelance

Ready to expand your portfolio, getting experience in different genres of photography? Don't know where to look or how to start? This class will help you get more experience for your portfolio, shooting lots and meeting people along the way.

No matter if you live in a small suburb or a massive city, there are always tools and resources to help you become more successfull at what you do. Through my own experience in photography with marketing, networking and shooting- you will have a long list of ideas and options that you can apply right now. 

This class is aimed at those amateur photographers who are looking to do something more with their photography. From building a portfolio to getting paid gigs, my tips and tricks will get you on the right path to begin looking ahead. 

At the end of the class, you will demonstrate the action you have taken by sharing a series of photos from a new genre of photography you have started to explore.

Be creative, daring and take great photos!

For more of my photography classes ranging from beginner principles to intermediate development: 


Automatic to Manual Mode: The 3 Things You Need to Know

The Travelling Photographer: Choosing the Right Gear for Your Journey


Lens Choice: A Beginner's Guide

Lenses 101: Shooting with Primes

Lenses 101: Creativity with Vintage Lenses & DIY Filters


Lens Filters: Pushing Your Still Images

Advanced Lens Choice: Editing In-Camera

For more of my work, you can check out my instagram or website.

Meet Your Teacher

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Indeana Underhill

Cinematographer & Photographer


Indeana is a Canadian cinematographer based in Los Angeles. She is an Associate Member of the CSC, a member of the ASC MITC Lens Committee and a graduate of American Film Institute's Cinematography Conservatory Class of 2020. 

With over 35 credits, she has worked professionally in South Korea, Greece, Spain, Scotland, Argentina, Qatar, Egypt, Canada & the US. Her background in photography has enabled her to continue to tell diverse stories through her lens.



See full profile

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1. About Me & What You'll Learn: Hi, My name's Indiana, and I'm a lifestyle in trouble for tar This causes designed for any amateur photographer looking at ways in order to market themselves to possibly start freelancing on the side. Over the past three years, I've gone from little to no camera skills to develop your portfolio connections and a business and film and photography. This class. We're going to talk about the incidents of marketing, building a portfolio, how to start when you don't even have a portfolio. And how to be proud of the work that your marketing. Two new clients. This is a course that shouldn't power you and inspire you to go beyond what you're currently doing in photography and learn and read and develop your portfolio. Market yourself and get out there and start shooting. So join me in. This costs about going from amateur to freelance and learn about the way that you could take your photography skills to the next level and begin marketing them for everyone to see 2. Use Your Own Resources: the first thing we're gonna be talking about is using our own resources, and this is applicable. Teoh. Pretty much anything you feel comfortable with. So having your camera, your lenses and shooting an environment that you feel comfortable and safe in. This is a great thing to begin with before you have to go out and market yourself and meet with new clients. If you're not quite comfortable with that yet a professional portfolio doesn't mean you need to have professional clients. It can be friends. It could be family. It could be pets. It could be objects. The most important thing to practice when using your resources is light, different times of the day, how it comes through windows, what it looks like on people's faces, how you can sculpt it. I photographed a few of my friends who look really great in front the camera, but one of my best friends, Jesse I, photographed her multiple times, and when we went down to Martha's Vineyard in the summer, I photographed her on the beach, and they used that exercise to look at how to sculpt faces with natural sunlight. This is the testing phase of your portfolio It's really about testing your own skills. It's a photographer and developing on them it's trial and error 100% there. If you exercise that, you can do for using your resources that I found really helpful, take normal lights that you want to think would be flattering and photos and make them water. You don't need studio lights in order to look like your professional lights, similar to the one I did here with my boyfriend. I got a brand new USSR lens, which is this one here, and I really wanted to test out what this looked like. And I wanted to do it with a really interesting light scape. And so the way I did that is I grabbed a fake movie light. Well, she turned the light around and they had this spotlight effects coming out of it, and I focused those on this I on the side of his face, and I really was able to test the capacity of the lens and push my creative skill set in order to get photos that I'm really proud of. All they have to do is pick up on any known or call a person over and start photographic. There's really no excuse because you got photos you're really proud of because you're really comfortable to shoot them. And that's what I found was really helpful when starting out, I would kind of form these photos as a basis for everything else. For instance, I had a client, one of the first clients who I found the old line saw I was getting into photography and asked if I would do an engagement shoot. I no idea who this couple Waas and I absolutely said yes, because I was really excited to do my first shoot. But I was really nervous. So I took my parents outside to a beach at my cottage one weekend, and I shot him for 45 minutes. And I have a syriza bows that I started to market myself with for engagement shop shoes. So when I did my engagement shoot the following week after that, I already was comfortable with what where I was going to start, how it was gonna pose them, and they felt more confident with me as their photographer as well. So it really helps if you take, you know, people you know or places you're familiar with and shoot in that first, because you'll become inherently comfortable with your own skills. A photographer to another exercise you can do is playing with different textures and backgrounds. Look at these textures and look at these backgrounds and see what they do to your photo. What look does it give? It doesn't given old and Tiki Look, does it given a rustic look? Does it give it a contemporary look? And what do you like and why That's always the question you want to be asking. Why do I like it? How did I get that? What could I do to take it to the next step? Because when you're thinking of a spot when you're doing an engagement shoot or a portrait session or you're photographing event, you're always gonna need to be thinking on your feet. So do it now when you're in a comfortable environment in your own room, where your own house with your own friends and get comfortable with how you're shooting, why I like it, how you did it. And that's what using your resources. Yes, 3. Be a Tourist: the second thing, we're gonna be talking about it being a tourist in your own city. This is taking the first thing using your resources and applying it on a larger scale because now you're still gonna have that comfortable it because you're in your own city. But you're gonna have the public around, and you're gonna have to choose how you react, Teoh. Different people walking in your frames, how to get around people not wanting to be photos. So this is a great exercise that I find I really enjoy. And the next thing about this is later on when we talk about marking you connection market , these photos. Some people are a tourist in your town or your city, and they don't have the experience that you do roaming the streets of Toronto or Michigan or or a small town. They want to get out there and they want to do the things that they've seen you dio. And so this is a great experience for you not only to develop your own skill set, but to intrigue other people into the life of you and looking through your eyes and what you want to do in Toronto. There's it's big, so there's a lot of different places you can go, but one of the places I love to visit, it's on a sentence, and I want to photograph it in the way that I've grown to love it over the years. So every once in a while they continue to change it since it's getting knocked down. So I've been in quite a few times recently, and I always photograph in a different way there few great exercises you can do for being a tourist in your own city. One of these exercises will allow you the next time to go into a photo, having ideas for that photo that you normally wouldn't have had. One of those is if you're laughing inspiration, pick a spot, stand in that spot and try to eat seven different voters. Another great exercise you could do for being a tourist in your own city is taking a photo of something that stands out. For example, one day I had just finished breakfast and was walking back to the car where it was parked, and I saw this fantastic, beautiful gold painted doorway in. You're in the middle of an out. When I took a photo of it, you could just see that the color popped and it's You find a lot of that in towns and cities and you'll take photos of them and we'll just bringing new life to your photos. So I dairy to try and find maybe three things that stand out. Another exercises a day in the life through your eyes. Getting out there with a day in the life through your eyes is really easy. You just take your camera with you wherever you go for one day, and then you curate a serious photos at the end of the day that really show what the essence of that day. WAAS. This is a really great one for inspiration and feeling like you're accomplishing a lot of the day because it tests your ability to to take photos. In a scenario where you're normally not used to taking photos, go out at different times of the day. Try different frames. Do the exercises we talked about explore, wander, walk, experiment, And through that I think you'll be a lot happier with your own photos because you've been able to push your creative comfort and go beyond. And that's what being a tourist in your own city is. All that 4. Build a Portfolio & an Audience: the next step is building portfolio, and this isn't a fully fledged portfolio yet. It's a photos you've captured and using your resources and being a tourist in your own city and taking those and putting together. So you have something to show for the work you've done. This is gonna be the preliminary step to marketing yourselves to clients and festivals. On that we'll talk about next. And so it's a really important part of designing who you are and branding yourself. What I would normally do is start out with something free. So start out with Tumblr Were wicks dot com wasn't to recommendations. There are lots others, but those the two that I used to really like Teller like, because people can follow you would discover you wick Silex. It looks like a professional website if you don't know what genre photography you want to get into, yet you could always have subsection. It's on your website. So if you like food and then if you like music, then portrait and landscape have different pages for each one tip that I would give one bill. Your portfolio is don't give the client or perspective clients every photo you've taken only pick the best because you're curating a series of images that are gonna benefit you in the long run. So you only want to pick your best work, pick the work that really speaks to you. You know, once again, using our resources and get your friends and family to say whether they like photos or not , and why, Once you have a preliminary portfolio, you're going to send that out, too. Festivals you're interested in working with. This really puts you in a great position to network and capped with people and get your work out there because majority of people who are working for festivals are linked to other people within the industry. Because either they're volunteering their time by because they're passionate about it or they're getting paid to do what they love. Festivals for the community. Last summer, I volunteered for five different festivals, which included music, food and pride, and it encompass of variety of genres and photography. I met a fantastic number of people that have given me paid work now, and I've been able to build on my skills because when you're working or volunteering for a festival, they give you a lot of creative freedom. One of the festival's I volunteered for was taste of trauma, and this is a festival where people paying the entry fee to sample a select number of dishes from the best restaurants in Toronto. So each restaurant has a booth with their head chef and their cooks. So as a photographer, I was given free rein to go behind the scenes and photograph. You know, the kitchens, making food, the food itself, the people eating it. And I was able to sample those dishes while meeting the marketing managers and heads for each restaurant who were there to promote their food. So it was a really great experience to meet with people and clients that I would be working with in the future and also get more of a professional portfolio together that I could add to the one I just made online. What I would do is Google in your city, Google events that your government or community is put out and email the head and send your portfolio link and get your name out. There were in a day and age where every event needs for Tarver and bigger events need multiple photographers. So by getting your name out there and emailing the heads of the festival's asking if they need photographers, you'll not only be meeting the heads of those festivals who can connect you to other people , but you'll be meeting other photographers who could give you insights into what you might want to take photos of. Also, remember the festivals to collect his money business cards as you can, and have business cards, even if you don't have a website. But you just have a little portfolio like print off 50 cards, a local store and handles because business cards stay with people one day they might be looking at them and remember you. And then they might contact you or go look your portfolio and something might start from that and as well. When you exchange your business card, they're gonna give you their business card back. And it's great to have people's contacts because later on, if you need work, you can contact them if you want to work with them and they might get back to you and they might have something for you. So it's not just a portfolio development you're gonna get. It's gonna be the contacts you're gonna get from working at these festivals. That's one of the most important things in any industry is the network you haven't how big it is because you're volunteering your time for festivals. The one thing I would do that I did was asked for recognition on their social media channels because normally these festivals pretty big following. So if you even though you're working for free, they're giving you advertising by recognizing you for the work you've done, all you need is one potential client to see your name, click on that that links to your website, your portfolio or your instagram, and they might want to work with you. Now they have a photographer that they can go. I actually needed a photographer levy contact about person, so it's a really great way to not only develop your portfolio in a professional manner, but you can also make the contacts that you normally wouldn't have access to. This really opens up your audience 5. Marketing: So now, in addition to having the recognition and an audience on the social media channels of the festivals that you volunteered for, you're going to create your own audience by marketing yourself, and you're gonna be doing that off spending no money whatsoever. The way I started doing it was I took the photos that I have gone from the festival's themselves that I've captured and we're proud of, and I refined my portfolio is the social media channels that I use and have found worked really well for gaining an audience for your website portfolio and photos are 500 Pecs, Google plus Facebook, personal and business pages and Instagram. The next step, after having the social media presence is going out of the way and making friends and a community of people you really don't know And you didn't know, but you will, and the way that I found I could do that and my first paid gigs. God, we're off gg and credulous. When I first started on congee, Gee, I started with headshots and engagement photos. Doing stuff like this is really helpful because not only once again are you able to get those professional networks in that portfolio together. But now you're you'll be getting paid. Don't under value your work when you're setting a rate because not only doesn't undervalue the entire photo community, but undervalues what you could potentially be making and what effort you're going into if you don't know what to start with four ads, I would say stick to something you really comfortable in. You don't want to promise work that you know you won't be able to give them because they are customers. They're paying for a service, and in the end, that service has to extraordinary. You should do an intro about yourself where they can contact you, and then you should lay out what to expect. What I mean by that is you should lay out that how many photos are gonna be edited and sent them how it's gonna be sent to them, what the turnaround time is, how long the shoot is. Are there awards or of changes, things like that. It doesn't need to be a little list. It could just be a few things. But as long as the people know what they're getting with their service, how long it's gonna be and how long after they're gonna get it? There'll be a lot happier because you've already set those parameters in place. In addition to posting, you can't just expect to post once because we're in a day in age when everyone's posting, especially on congee. I found I had to post once a week in order to get constant responses. Also, if you're a bit shy about the whole posting on Kaji Gee or Craigslist or you find it uncomfortable, perhaps think about emailing people that you've met at the festival's heads company's business of restaurants, heads of the festival and see if there's any work you could do Post Festival that they might be interested in having. As photographers. We take a lot of photos. A lot of those photos end up on our heart hard drives, and we can't do anything with them because we forget. Why not post them on a website where people can buy those photos whenever they want to forever and you get a paycheck? Stock photography is a really interesting thing to get into their quite a few classes on skill share about shooting stock photography, how to get into it, stock photography It's definitely worthwhile if you have. If you take a lot of photos, you travel a lot. You have a lot of different topics and you have time to post and ship. One of my favorite companies that I've worked with for about two years now is flash stock. They are start up in Toronto but work with the biggest brands. So I've shot for Mercedes Corona, Nicorette, John, Frieda and so Flash connects authentic imagery with brains. And they do that by hiring amateur photographers, sending them assignments, and you choose whether to accept or decline. There are quite a few options for starting toe market yourself. Eventually, your wife's it's gonna do the talking, your social media platforms. They're gonna speak for itself, and you won't need to post sunken gj any work craigslist. But to start out with, you want to build that audience in. The best way to do that is building in as many streams as possible that you can manage in summary. Start out with perhaps saw photography, perhaps bloodstock but definitely Instagram Google, plus Facebook, G, Craigslist and any other photo site you can think of like 500 pics or flicker that gets an audience that's gonna love your work just as much as you 6. Wrap Up & Class Project: So we talked for a load of this class. I hope a lot of it resonated. You wrote it down. You're ready to begin or you already started. So it's now onto your class project, as this is a class where it could fit into the short term and the long term in the short term, the cost project. I would love to see you use your own resources. So draw on that first segment of the cloths and think about your friends, your family, the places that inspire you. Shoot it in a new way with a different source of light with a different lens of a different vocal wing and show me something and to show everyone out something that you would normally not shoot. If you have any further questions or want some advice on what to do next, feel free to comment on the discussion or get in touch with me, and I'll happily answer any