A printed or digital photography portfolio is a key part of a photographer’s craft, as it allows you to quickly share your work with potential clients, but what is portfolio photography?
Well to put it simply, a professional photography portfolio can take many forms, from a photography portfolio website, to a printed photography portfolio hand out. While a stunning photography portfolio will bring you plenty of work, a bad one can make work hard to find.
So what constitutes a good portfolio, and how do you recognise a bad one, even when reviewing your own work?
While portfolios are just as varied as individual photographer’s personalities, there are a few tricks to determine if your portfolio is ready to go, or if it needs a bit more work. Whether your photo portfolio is part of your branding handout kit at the end of shoots of whether it’s the key to your photography website, learning the dos and don’ts are essential to understanding what is portfolio photography, so lets dive in.
What Should Be Included In Photography Portfolios?
When you make a photography portfolio, the common approach is to just throw in the best photos you have, without too much thought to the flow of the entire portfolio, how many photos are included, or even if one image matches the next.
This is a mistake as a portfolio for photography is more than just a collection of images that are professional and show off technique. Of course, this probably leaves you asking, what is portfolio photography? Well, a portfolio instead should be a body of work that tells a story and shows off both your talent, your style, and the vision that you have for the images that you’re creating.
How Do I Make a Portfolio For My Growing Photography Business?
A common problem for the kind of photographers who have to ask ‘what is portfolio photography’, is that their lack of clients means a lack of body of work, which in turn stops them from getting new clients. However, with a little bit of hard work you can escape this catch 22 and get onto clients that won’t ask ‘what is portfolio photography?’ when you ask if you can put their shots into your portfolio.
Instead of only focusing on paid work, ask for volunteers in your personal life and start creating shots that are going to make their way into your portfolio while again making sure you’ve got variety, scope, etc. As you get clients, you can start adding those in to replace or accompany the volunteer photos from earlier in your career when you had to ask, ‘what is portfolio photography?’.
How Many Pictures Should Be In A Photography Portfolio?
Just like the question of ‘what is portfolio photography’ there’s no simple answer to this question, with numerous photographers telling you numerous different answers. Some feel as though you should try to stuff 60+ photos in a portfolio to show how talented you are, while others feel that anything more than 5 images is overkill.
However, professionalism is in a curated and trimmed portfolio as much as it is in the content itself! For
the best professional look and feel, you’re going to want to look for 10-15, or fewer, as to simply answer the question of ‘what is portfolio photography’ for your potential clients.
These prints should all make an impact and show that you are the real deal. If you think you can cut one or two without
interrupting the flow, feel free, less is best!
How Do I Make My Portfolio Stand Out From The Crowd?
There’s no one single answer as to how to make sure that clients remember your portfolio as being totally unique.
However, you can certainly make sure that your portfolio as the best and strongest it can be by keeping it fresh and creative wherever possible.
While highlighting that you are experienced with many technical aspects, design is equally an important element to keep at the top of your mind if you want to help your portfolio stand out from others asking ‘what is portfolio photography’.
One of the most overlooked elements of a portfolio that can really help you stand out however, is progression. As a photographer you should always keep learning, trying and experimenting, so make sure that this continual education shows up in your portfolio. It will clients see that you have lots of ideas to offer, that this is your passion and that you take it seriously. That, if anything, will help you to stand out amongst the competition!
Should I Have A Printed Or An Online Portfolio?
There are some who feel that printed portfolios are the only true option when it comes to showing your photography off because it is has always been the classic practice throughout the years. However, with the rise in popularity of the internet and social media especially, online portfolios now also give you a certain authenticity that is hard to find elsewhere.
As such, the best advice for a buddy photographer is that you should start with an online photography portfolio, even if it’s just on Instagram. Simple to set-up and effective when you need to show your prints off quickly, they’re user-friendly and designed for the modern photographer.
Once you’ve got your portfolio solid and steady enough that you always go with the same prints to show clients, you can also look at creating a print portfolio with those prints to really up your game and increase your professionalism.
After all, there’s no rule saying that you can’t have both a print and an online portfolio presence! In fact, having both even helps make sure that you don’t lose a client because they prefer one over the other! Just make sure that you stay consistent
between print and digital.
Things To Remember For Portfolio Photography
As your portfolio is a collection of all your best work, including two similar images could make potential clients think you’re a lazy photographer that just takes multiple photos of the same thing and doesn’t understand what is portfolio photography.
It’s okay to include photos from the same shoot, especially if you’re just starting out, but make sure those photos are different in more ways than one. If you’re building a portrait portfolio, for example, it’s best to not include a second shot that just involved readjusting the subject’s hands, but you could include a photo from a completely different set-up from the same session.
Cut Out Any Fluff
As mentioned earlier, quality is always better than quantity – a portfolio with hundreds of images quickly becomes overwhelming and will make your audience question what is portfolio photography. As such, your portfolio should include your best work and only your best work. If you can identify even one small flaw in your image, it is best not to include as you’re trying to showcase your best images, not all your images.
If you find yourself wanting to include more than you should, consider creating a blog or spam account to display images from all your shoots, and a portfolio with just the best ones from your when you had to ask what is portfolio photography, all the way to the when you’re an expert.
Find Your Style
A portfolio doesn’t just show a potential client that you’re a competent photographer, it helps them determine if your styles will mesh well with what they want from their photo session. If you have an image with perfect composition and exposure, but it’s not your typical style, don’t include it. Your portfolio should state more than just the fact that you know the technical aspects of photography – it should display your artistic style more prominently, and convince your audience that don’t have to ask ‘what is portfolio photography’.
Consider Your Audience
While they might look amazing, a bride-to-be doesn’t want to sift through your photos of corporate events when she is looking for a wedding photographer. Specialising in a certain area of photography is a good idea for starting a photography business, but if you’re shoot in multiple subcategories, it’s imperative you have a separate portfolio for niche you shoot. If you shoot both maternity photos and new-born portraits, keep separate albums or use different pages
on your website.
When designing these separate albums, its important to ask yourself who is looking at your portfolio? For example a bride-to-be isn’t looking for the same thing that a business is looking for, and so different design elements will appeal to her. When choosing the elements of the portfolio, like what cover to use or
what template to choose for your website, consider who your audience is and what will speak to them the most.
The Most Important Step For Portfolio Photography
Now that you understand what is portfolio photography, and once you have gone ahead and put together your photography portfolio, the next step in any professional photographers’ process would be to protect their work before publishing it, online or in print.
As a content creator who publishes any form of work online or distributes it in person, you should know the importance of watermarking your work.
In terms of security, watermarking can’t be beat, allowing you to safeguard your work from any potential content thieves and protect your copyright on all work you publish online.
The only downside to the process is that watermarking can be difficult without professional photo editing knowledge. Luckily, WaterMarquee is here to help! While there are a few tools online that allow watermarking, no tool can match the free bulk watermarking offered by WaterMarquee. With this service you can watermark up to five images at a time, entirely free of charge! So what are you waiting for, photography portfolio and build your brand with WaterMarquee today!