I met Michael Clinard a couple years back when we started the journey of editing his extensive body of work and marketing together. BUT TODAY was the day I knew Michael had arrived and was owning HIS OWN STYLE and ROCK'N IT! We started our morning call with reviewing his latest edit (which he did himself - changed up category names and added in new work) and it was my moment of celebration with him because all of our hard work together WAS NOW CONCRETE. Michael is shooting daily, doing the best work of his career and this is ONLY the beginning. It is officially 1 year to date that his marketing truly hit the ground running. But today is really only the beginning for Michael. I KNOW Michael has only scratched the surface with his work and style…I am anxious to see more…and by that I mean MORE ADVERTISING WORK!
Q: HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN YOUR STYLE?
I shoot a fun, offbeat style of conceptual photography -- primarily portraits and reportage.
Q: WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS LAST YEAR? DID YOU MEET THEM?
Overall, my goal was introducing a targeted group of magazines and agencies to my brand of photography. Being all but new to the industry on a national level, I knew it might take all of 2011 for my name/work to "marinate" in the minds of potential clients and buyers. For this reason, we crafted a consistent schedule of emails and direct mail pieces that would take place over the course of the year. Paramount in all those pieces was showing imagery that fully embodied my vision and point of view. As a result, projects started to come in within the first four months of our reaching out to folks. As for meeting these goals, I'd say we met them if not exceeded them.
Q: WHAT DID YOU DO TO MEET THEM?
As stated, a consistent schedule of emails and direct mail pieces was important. I followed up with individuals who showed interest in my work and those that took the time to write me back with thanks for introducing them to it. Additionally, I went to NYC in June of last year for face-to-face portfolio meetings. Outside this -- and equally important -- was remaining true to my style every time a project came in. That can be tough for any number of reasons, but there was always the exercise of translating a client's project through the filter which is my own -- sometimes quirky -- point of view.
Q: WHAT ARE THIS YEARS GOALS?
2011 was a banner year for me -- my wife and I had our first child, I received a PDN 30 nomination and tackled a host of awesome projects -- all in my first year of shooting! It's going to be hard to match in 2012, but I intend on keeping the momentum moving forward by pushing toward larger, national advertising campaigns while continuing to service my steady base of editorial clients. Above all else, I love problem-solving and relish the challenge of taking an idea -- however fantastical (is that a word) -- and creating imagery which communicates a message in a fun, compelling way. Any opportunity to do that with like-minded people is a good day. There are a couple ideas in the way of personal projects that I'm kicking around that should speak to this, so stay tuned!
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE WITH A UNIQUE VISION AND WHO IS UNSURE OF THEMSELVES?
I can't tell you how many times when -- in the early development of my photographic vision -- industry folks or colleagues would attempt to steer me toward a genre that was more easily defined and marketable, i.e. 'lifestyle.' I don't fault them for it since my work just wasn't "hitting the right way," and there were so many times it would've been easier to shift gears and start to shoot:
- from a low angle with
- some bikini-clad gal in the foreground riding
- a longboard while some
- well-groomed, shirtless male model chased after her on
- the Venice strip, all the while being
- backlit by the sun which is
- flaring my camera's wide angle lens.
In the end, that's just not me. I'd say be leery of going the prescriptive, formulaic route. It might put one in a position to shoot a campaign quicker OR work with a magazine faster, but there's nothing more important than staying true to one's vision and respecting the time it takes to cultivate it. As someone that's just coming up, one may not know what he/she is doing until a year afterward. It's then going to take another year for that to make sense and possibly six more months until the work is "hitting the right way." The question is "who are you gonna be?"
Are you gonna be the guy/gal that bends every time someone says "here's what you should do" OR are you the guy/gal that says "I hear you dude, but I'm gonna keep pushing it."
For me, I kept pushing it and found comfort in being uncomfortable for quite a spell there until things made sense. I'd say it's all in your gut, if you feel it's inside you then give yourself the time and freedom to discover it. It sometimes take a couple years for it to manifest, but you'll be glad you did. Then -- even when that's not working -- give yourself another six months. Patience, broheme. . .