You need to show your work, but how? Well, you need a photography portfolio, and today I’ll give you some advice to build your own.
If you’ve practiced photography for a while, you are probably defining your style and the kind of photography you want to shoot. Then, in order to get more photo shoots, you need to show your photography work.
So let’s start with one question.
What kind of work do you want to shoot more?
If you’re interested in shooting landscapes, show your landscape work. If you want to shoot portraits, show your portrait work. Make sure you are consistent between the kind of shoots you want to make and the ones you show. It’s fine if you’re interested in more than one kind of photography, but you’ll then need to build a portfolio for each kind.
Select Your Best Work. Only the Best.
Of course, look for images that have excellent technique, but also look at your images and select those that clearly evoque an emotion or produce some emotional response.
If you need help, I wrote a post about choosing good images. Good images are a great starting point but, your portfolio should have your very best.
A friend of mine sent me a link to his flickr account, asking me to review his portfolio. When I clicked on the link, I saw an album titled “Portfolio” and a listing of more than 500 images… If I saw each image for 1 minute, it would take me 8 hours and 20 minutes to review.
Do you think a potential customer will take 8 hours to look at your work and make a decision to hire you? Of course not! S/he will get bored after 10 minutes! A portfolio should be short, probably between 8 and 12 images.
Choose a Platform
This point may be different, according to your style and type of work. My usual recommendation is to build your own website and show your work there. You may need to hire a website designer or learn how to use WordPress and pay for your own hosting. Another option is to use Squarespace or Wix, which have all the tools on the website and you don’t need to code anything.
Some people like to use an album on Flickr or 500px, specifically used as a portfolio, and other albums as galleries for clients. I think it’s fine, but I recommend your own website because you can control the look and feel of your portfolio. Another plus is that your online visitors won’t get distracted by other people’s work.
Regardless of the online/digital platform, you could also have a printed version of your portfolio. The simplest way is to have your images printed in 8×12 and carry them around in a folder, but my preferred method is to design and print a soft-cover book using Blurb or your local Costco store.
I think it’s good practice to look back on your work once or twice a year, so you refresh your portfolio. Your style will evolve over time, so some images may not reflect your best anymore. Let’s remove those and replace them with more current images.
As you can see, building a portfolio takes some time at first, but then it’s a matter of keeping it fresh. It’s also very important to have one because it will be on of your main marketing tools, so take the time to build it.
The question then is, do you have an online portfolio? If so, please share it in the comments section.