Lincoln Barbour is, in his own words "a photographer of all things great in life." Whether he's capturing the char-grilled goodness of a juicy burger, the light and airy feeling of a modern interior, or the distinct character of a far-away locale, his images always leave us spell-bound, and usually a little hungry. His mouth-watering images are showcased in a customized modularity theme from Graph Paper Press that links seamlessly to his PhotoShelter archive, which he uses to proof and deliver files to his clients.
Based in Portland, OR, Lincoln is an incredibly technical and thorough photographer, yet equally as masterful at allowing real human moments to unfold before his lens, his photographs have a sense of being real. His photographic style is unique and consistent across all the subjects of his work:
"I like natural, warm and rich imagery...I often shoot in a way that appeals to my desires. I shoot food to look delicious. I shoot interiors to look comfortable. I shoot places that look cool to visit. And I shoot lifestyle that looks fun."
His photo business and marketing strategies have played a pivotal role in building a career as a go-to photographer for numerous publications and brands. As a former web designer, Barbour also has some interesting insight on how site design can affect your photo business.
During the first dot-com boom and bust, Lincoln's work as a web designer had left him burned out and in need of a change. One of his web clients was an architectural photographer named Philip Beaurline (www.beaurline.com), as a long-time photo hobbyist, Lincoln asked him to lunch to talk about how he made a living as a commercial photographer. At the end of that lunch, Beaurline offered Lincoln a job as his studio manager and assistant. "I decided to go for it and it was the best decision I ever made."
After working with Philip for two years, Lincoln struck out on his own. The early days weren't easy, but he was working as a photographer shooting real estate, headshots, products, small editorial assignments, you name it. After 2 more years Lincoln moved to Portland, OR with his then girlfriend (now wife) and that's when his career really started to take off.
"I target mostly ad agencies, in-house designers, businesses and magazines that need photography of food, architecture, and lifestyle. My ideal client is someone who needs all three (like resorts, hotels, restaurants, etc.). My primary clients are architects, interior designers, restaurateurs, magazines, and ad agencies."
PhotoShelter has played a key role in his success. Primarily using his PhotoShelter account to share proofs and deliver final images, Lincoln's client proofing and final file delivery activities are all managed through the PhotoShelter interface. He relies on the PhotoShelter export plugin by Pact Software for Lightroom to export his low res proofs straight to his PhotoShelter account and sends a private gallery invite to his client. Once they've made their selections via a lightbox, Lincoln can go back to Lightroom to process the final files and do any touch ups in PhotoShop. He re-loads the files at full resolution to spec and sends the finals directly to his client. "Before PhotoShelter, this process was painstaking and required lots of different steps. PhotoShelter streamlines everything for me and that makes things more profitable." He also adds "once the high re[s] are online, I just leave them there. You never know when a stock sale will come around."
Lincoln changes things up with his site design to maximize exposure and showcase his best work. He has an interesting portfolio strategy,
"...your first portfolio on your website is what you will get hired the most to do. A few years ago, I had people as my first portfolio and I got a lot of portrait assignments. Then I changed it to architecture, and I got lot of architectural assignments. This year, I switched it to food and sure enough, I'm getting a lot of food inquires."
He was also surprised to find that switching his background color had a significant impact on his business, "white or light themed websites get a better response than dark themed websites. At least it does for my market. When I had a black background on my site, business dropped off by 50%."
Lincoln credits part of his successes to a large network of talented assistants, stylists, and producers; all with "the desire to keep doing what we love to do for a living." Joining ASMP was also a pivotal moment of his career, connecting him with the resources and photo network to put him on a professional path.