Clay Cook | Building Your First Print Portfolio

Welcome fellow photographers to another hot one! On this podcast episode we feature Louisville based commercial and editorial photographer Clay Cook. I was on Instagram an saw that he just recently teamed up with Wonderful Machine and Mullenberg Designs to print and produce his first official looking print portfolio. This obviously leads me to question how did he find work before this portfolio? I also ask questions like what has been the biggest win for him in marketing himself and securing paying clients. Clay also mentions how his role as an educator/ influencer comes into play and how one should go about earning a sponsorship. This is a great resource for anyone looking to print their first professional portfolio and gives insight as to the timeline, cost and what to expect.

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What you will learn

3:28 What did you have in place before you new print portfolio? The problem with good enough

5:32 How do you get your portfolio to “bounce around”? Forming Strategic Relationships

8:00 Confidence to share your work

10:57 How did you get work without portfolio? Advice for finding work without a print portfolio.

12:21 Growing beyond the local market

14:49 Marketing Strategy

16:00 How does you being an educator factor into your marketing?

19:13  Details of first sponsorship

22:02 How did Agency Access help you?

26:49 What was it like turning over every photo you’ve ever shot

27:49 Surprise of opening up first edit

29:49 What it means vs how it looks

31:55 Printing/ binding of print portfolio

34:17 Determining the size of portfolio 

36:04 Overall cost of new portfolio

38:00 Are you happy with the print portfolio?

40:28 Name something you don’t need as a photographer to succeed,

44:36 How important is a social following?

47:40 What upcoming events you have coming up?!

Clay Cook Quotes

“I go through these phases where I don’t like anything.”

“Sponsorships don’t happen overnight, it’s definitely something that happens over years.”

“You’ve got to consider who’s looking at this portfolio”

“Subject matter plays #1 in photographers. What it means vs how it looks.”

“Now I prefer imagery that speaks to me rather than looks good.”

“A website is 100% vital in this day an age. A blog is even more vital.”

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