A good photography portfolio shows off your best work. It will help potential clients decide if you’re the right fit for their project.
Many photographers want to include a variety of photos to show how versatile they are. But overwhelming your audience with too much work dilutes the impact of your best images.
1. Your personal style
A photography portfolio is your brand, so it should showcase not only your skills but also your personal style. This can be in the way you light a subject, the composition of a shot, or even how you process an image. The goal is to show a potential client that you have your own distinct visual identity and can bring this to their project.
Developing your style can take time, so be patient. If you’re unsure where to start, ask fellow photographers for advice. Especially those in the niche you’re trying to break into, as they’ll have first-hand experience and can give you great tips. Alternatively, you can visit online photography forums and ask questions in the community.
When choosing photos to include in your portfolio, be sure to only choose your best work. This doesn’t mean that you can’t include some old shots, but it is important to keep in mind your end goal when making a portfolio. You might want to focus on a certain type of photography, for example, weddings, or you may be looking to branch out and shoot other types of projects, such as fashion editorials.
Another thing to consider is the overall feeling of your photography. Try to identify a few words that describe your style, such as “evocative,” “romantic,” or “playful.” Once you have these words in mind, look for commonalities between the images you’ve chosen. For example, do you tend to favor a particular color or texture? This is an excellent way to begin identifying your personal style and can help guide your future choices as you build your photography portfolio.
When putting together your photography portfolio, be sure to include both print and digital versions of your work. Some clients will prefer to review a printed version of your work, while others will prefer to view it on a website. Either way, be sure to use high-quality files when submitting your portfolios.
It’s also important to include an about page on your website, where you can share some of your background and the story behind your photography. For example, you could talk about how a certain personal experience inspired you to become a photographer. It’s a great way to connect with potential clients and make them feel like they know you.
2. Your technical skills
When it comes to creating a photography portfolio, quality is more important than quantity. Too many images can dilute the impact of your best work, so it’s essential that you select each image carefully. This process can be time consuming, but it will help ensure that your photography portfolio contains only your best pieces of work.
It’s also a good idea to include a few pieces that demonstrate your technical skills. If you have taken some photos using a wide angle lens or shot some images in low light, these can add a lot of value to your portfolio. This shows potential clients that you are a versatile photographer who can adapt to any situation.
Another way to showcase your technical skills is by including photos that show off your editing capabilities. This can include things like making panoramas, GIFs, and recoloring photographs to emphasize certain elements. It’s important to include these types of photos in your photography portfolio because they can help demonstrate that you have a creative eye and are capable of using Photoshop and other editing tools to make your photos stand out.
Finally, don’t forget to include a few of your most memorable shots in your photography portfolio. This will help potential clients remember your work and may even encourage them to hire you. This is especially important if you’re trying to get a job in a particular field, like wedding photography or commercial photography.
Once you’ve finished selecting the best images for your photography portfolio, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback from friends and colleagues. They don’t necessarily need to be photographers, but they should be able to give you honest feedback about which photos are the strongest and which ones don’t quite stand out.
Having a second opinion can be really helpful, especially when you’re creating a photo portfolio for a specific job application. So, ask a few trusted friends and colleagues for their feedback and pick their favorites from your shortlist.
3. Your experience
Photographer portfolios are a key element in the job application process and are used to impress prospective clients. While they may be created for a variety of reasons, the basic goal is the same: to showcase your skills and style in a way that is appealing to potential clients.
In addition to the style and technique of the photos you choose, your photography portfolio should also highlight your experience. This includes not only the number of jobs you have completed, but also the types of assignments you have worked on. If you have worked on a wide range of different projects, your portfolio will be more diverse and will better demonstrate your versatility.
However, when choosing the shots for your portfolio, remember that the quality of the images should be top-notch. Including too many sub-par images will weaken the overall impact of your portfolio. If you are having trouble selecting which images to include, seek outside feedback from other photographers or people who know the industry well. It is important to get an unbiased opinion from someone who can be brutally honest with you.
When creating your photography portfolio, try to have a theme. It helps if the photos in your portfolio are connected by something, like color or location. It can also be helpful to have a variety of different styles, from black-and-white architecture shots to soft, dreamy bridal portraits. You should also include different viewpoints, including panoramic and close-up photos.
Finally, your portfolio should contain only the photographs that you consider to be your best work. A good rule of thumb is that your photography portfolio should only contain 20 great images, as opposed to 10 okay ones.
While it is tempting to fill your portfolio with a wide variety of subjects, this will only confuse and detract from the impact of the photos. If you have worked on a few different kinds of assignments, select the best images from each project. If you are applying for a position that requires shooting outdoor events, be sure to include images of these types of events in your portfolio.
4. Your client list
The instinct of many young photographers is to create a portfolio with a wide variety of work to show how versatile they are. However, this can end up diluting the impact of your best work as potential clients are unlikely to carefully look at dozens of images. Instead, focus on curating a small selection of your best work, and ensure the quality of these photos is as high as possible.
It’s also important to remember that your client list is an important part of your portfolio. Not only does it give potential clients an idea of the type of clients you work with, but it can help to build trust and show that you have experience working on similar projects. In addition, if you include a client list on your website, it can help to increase the likelihood of getting referrals from past clients.
When creating your photography portfolio website, it’s a good idea to have a pricing page. This can help to avoid any unnecessary confusion or awkward conversations between you and potential clients, as it will allow them to see your prices upfront. Additionally, including your prices on your portfolio can be an effective way to encourage potential clients to contact you.
Another important aspect of your portfolio is to have a detailed description of each photo. This will not only help to make your portfolio more accessible for people with disabilities, but it will also boost your SEO by describing the subject of each photograph. Try to use descriptive adjectives and words that evoke emotion, such as “awe” and “wonder”, to create an immersive viewing experience for your viewers.
Once you’ve finished putting together your photography portfolio, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback from a few trusted friends and colleagues. Make sure to recruit people who are willing to be brutally honest with you – this will help you to spot any errors or areas for improvement. For example, if you have a lot of landscape photos in your portfolio but none of them feature people, ask your friends if they would be happy to pose for you as models.