As a photographer, you know the dilemma: you can shoot as well as you want, the actual art is only part of your work. And often not even the one your clients perceive. Because it’s all about external presentation and marketing. This also includes that you manage to put together a suitable portfolio and present it to your potential clients in an appealing way.
Here are some tips on how to find the right photos for your portfolio. We show you how you can easily create your photographer portfolio online.
In the portfolio is allowed what pleases
Just as models have their own portfolios where clients can get an impression of them, you as a photographer also need a portfolio. And just as models often go door to door for this, you must also be prepared to make certain sacrifices in order to put together an appealing selection of images.
Of course, you can take photos of babies to your friends, at their weddings or in the wild. It is important that you know beforehand exactly what you want to photograph. Do you work in wedding photography or do you want to sell business portraits? Are you offering photos for actors and models? Are you photographing at weddings or events? These are all very different businesses with very different requirements and your portfolio needs to reflect that. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with serving multiple areas.
Search through your photos of all previous projects and make a preliminary selection. If there are photos that you are still missing for an optimal presentation, you should make an effort to compensate for this accordingly and complete your digital portfolio.
Image selection and target group
It goes without saying, but for the sake of completeness it should be mentioned again: Only your best photos belong in your portfolio. Which photos are you particularly proud of, what were the highlights for your clients?
In addition, your portfolio should consist of recent work, if possible. Photographers evolve artistically, trends change and you may already have new equipment. The photos in your portfolio need to reflect all of this. So update your photos when you’ve just completed an interesting photo job. Check your portfolio yourself from time to time to see if you still feel well represented.
Also, be sure to keep your portfolio as full as possible. Photos alone may give a more accurate view of your work, but it’s hardly meaningful. If potential clients can’t be convinced by 10 good photos, a hundred mediocre photos won’t help.
Each photo in your portfolio should be meaningful and have a legitimate place in the portfolio. Avoid too much duplication, vary your photos and also pay attention to what clients want to see. If you work as a wedding photographer, you don’t need 10 photos of the couple at the altar in your portfolio. Loosen them up with couple photos or glimpses of the wedding hustle and bustle. Likewise, models or actors need close-ups as well as full body photos.
In addition to the artistic aspects of quality, you should also pay attention to the craftsmanship. The most beautiful photo in your personal collection can reflect badly on you if the focus is not where it should be.
Don’t forget Photoshop & Lightroom
Beginners in particular often mean too well with Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom and stylize their photos a bit too concisely. Most clients, on the other hand, appreciate the look of naturalness. Hold back a bit with filters and curves, a professional portfolio is not Instagram.
Since portfolios are no longer passed around as prints in a bound leather portfolio these days, make sure you get the format right. On your website, you should implement easy-to-load thumbnails that can be viewed in full resolution if desired. This will give you transparency, but at the same time allow your clients to view your photos on the go.
If possible, you should not mix formats and styles too much, consider your portfolio as a complete work of art. If it’s full of different photos in portrait and landscape format, the first glance will look more like a patchwork quilt than a portfolio.
Always keep in mind what kind of audience you want to reach with your portfolio, because at the end of the day, you’re not taking the photos for yourself, but to get booked by new clients. Your portfolio is the best business card you have as a photographer. Of course, compiling and selecting it is not as much fun as taking and editing photos, but it’s worth the effort.