It started back in college when I was taking drafting and civil engineering classes in hopes of transferring to an architecture program somewhere. That’s not where I discovered I was horrible at math, but that’s where it really started to annoy me. So, I jumped to graphic design, where I excelled. The rest is history, well, not exactly.
While a creative director for a couple of ad agencies and companies over the years, I still loved buildings. It wasn’t until I got deeper into photography that I realized I could merge my love for buildings and my love for photography. So, I did.
I started small by going around photographing buildings to put together some sort of a portfolio. That allowed me to show an acquaintance, who was the new business coordinator for an architectural firm, some of the images I was taking. She hired me for one job, then two. Then she left for another firm. See where I’m going here?
Now I had two clients, then three. But my biggest break came when I did something out of the norm. This was the turning point for my career.
On the way home one evening from another job I passed Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando. The afternoon light was hitting the building in the most beautiful way. I had to get off the highway and photograph this building, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up. The next day I spent the time to clean it up, removing cars, people, signs, whatever distracted from the gorgeous building itself.
Here’s where it gets good. I sent it to Nemours Marketing Department and said “I photographed your building yesterday evening, I’d like for you to have it.” Then I said “I am a local photographer so if you ever have a need for one, please consider me.”
It took all of about two hours for me to get an email saying “We love this image, what can we use it for? By the way we have an article in our monthly magazine that needs some photography done.”
Low and behold another client, but it doesn’t stop there. Nemours has referred me to many other companies, including one of my larger architectural clients who I’ve done dozens of projects for over the years. Those in turn have referred me to more, creating an on-going clientele list.
Hopefully you get where I’m going with this. You have to put yourself out there, even if it means giving some work away in the beginning. This scenario doesn’t have to be architectural photography, it could be portrait, wedding, commercial, etc.
Find what you’re passionate about and find a way to make it happen.
You can find Jeff’s architecture work on Instagram @JLPhotographicArchitecture, and my fun work @JLphotographic. Be sure to check out his KelbyOne class, Architectural Photography: Market. Shoot. Edit.