Inspire 2016 Speaker Ned Jackson - A completely New Portfolio

In this series of blog posts, we are introducing the faculty at Inspire 2016. Today we’d like to introduce you to Ned Jackson who will be teaching: Comprehensive Business Reviews with Leah Haydock.

Over the past year, I’ve been pushing myself to create a completely new portfolio that would help drive editorial and commercial projects into the studio.  The task seems easy in concept but feels more like trying to turn the Titanic in practice.  Trying to carve out the time to create unpaid work is always a challenge.  For starters, I’m running a fairly busy wedding business that keeps me pretty damned swamped even with the help of my amazing studio manager.  I’m also a father of two awesome but busy boys and married (with the hopes of staying that way).  All that to say, I’m already juggling a lot of balls in the air.  

However, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I have to keep growing and evolving or else I get stagnant and bored.  When the dust from my 2014 wedding season settled in January 2015, I started charting out my goals.  I had lofty ambitions of creating one portfolio-worthy piece each week.  That seemed reasonable to me, but I quickly learned that I either needed to lower my expectations of what was “portfolio-worthy” or I needed to adjust my expectations of what I could actually achieve.  One of the biggest challenges was trying create images that didn’t feel like bland stock imagery, but rather represented my personality and style (even if this style diverged from my wedding work).  I wasn’t always successful at this.  However, the wedding business financially allowed me the time and patience to slowly craft the portfolio without having to rush it (for better of worse).  Over the course of the spring, I worked like a madman to shoot anyone who’d allow me the opportunity to make their portrait.  Little by little, I was able to piece together a website and fill it with the type of work I want to shoot.  When May rolled around, ‘Hurricane Wedding 2015’ was in full swing and my new endeavor took a side seat to keeping my business rolling along.  While certainly not complete, I was definitely proud of what I had pulled together in so little time.  I found myself borrowing ideas and concepts from this work in my wedding work and it helped to keep me fresh and inspired throughout the wedding season.