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Portfolio Building Explained

If we talk about portfolios many questions arise in our mind like what to upload, how to upload, where to upload, why to have a portfolio, who will see my portfolio. So these are some points related to portfolios.

by- Dikshit Negi

let's start from the very basics!

What is a Photography Portfolio?

A portfolio is a concise collection of your photos created to show people your best work. Its purpose is usually to get a photography gig. Whether you want to do weddings, portraits, commercial jobs, or to work for an environmental group to save a piece of the earth, a portfolio is the tool that shows a customer your capabilities.


Why should you have a photography portfolio?

Let’s understand this with the help of an example: suppose you are in a coffee shop and you meet your favourite fashion photographer and you start telling him about your pictures, your style and the models for whom you have shot after some time, he will leave the table. Now let’s change the approach keeping the scenario the same and you meet your favourite fashion photographer and this time you showed him your portfolio or you gave him the URL of your site. This makes the task easy and increases the surety of you getting some work.


What should be in a photography portfolio?

Earlier people used to show their work in hard copies or we can say in printed form, but now things have changed and people prefer to use digital galleries to showcase their work, so choose a medium that’s easy to update.

Consider your audience. If you want to do weddings, your portfolio would contain portraits of couples, groups, wedding events like getting ready, throwing the bouquet, and still-life shots including flowers, rings, and invitations. If you want to work for a conservation group, you’ll need landscapes, activities such as clean-up days, close-ups of special plants or animals found in their area, and maybe a portrait of the founder. Do your research!

When considering how to make a photography portfolio, know your prospective customer’s needs and show that you can fill them.


What kind of pictures should you include in your portfolio?

It depends on the individual what photos he/she wants to upload, it depends on your work. If you want to do weddings then your portfolio should consist of wedding pictures like ceremony, rings, couple shots etc same goes with other genres. But it is not a rule you can upload pictures from different genres depending upon your choice.


How many pictures and what should you include in your portfolio?

This is a debatable topic because some photographers prefer to keep few pictures and some prefer to keep more pictures, but if I say from my point of view we should keep few pictures ranging from 8-12. Because the prospective employers are busy and they don’t have time to see tons of pictures. You might be the best rose photographer in the world, but showing 35 pictures of roses will mark you as an amateur.

Think first: What are you good at? I am good at landscapes, architecture, and flowers, and I can come up with a few decent people-pictures. My portfolio would target buyers who want landscape and nature photos rather than urban street scenes or baby portraits.


How do you get images for a portfolio?

It is a very common question that from where would I get good pictures or how can I click good pictures and the simple answer to it is Shoot free and shoot cheap.

Many of the images in a wedding portfolio are still-life pictures that can be created without a wedding. Shoot your own wedding ring. Create portraits of family members and friends. Practice using different styles — photojournalism, romantic and fun. Photograph local buildings to illustrate that you can do architecture.


How should you present your portfolio?

Presentation is important! You may have a great collection of pictures, but if you simply toss them into a folder, you’re not doing yourself any favours. If you’re showing prints, consider including your original shots plus the finished product—brochures or magazine pages that used your stuff. Get good prints, perhaps on special paper. Make your portfolio stand out because of its quality, not because of irrelevant gimmicks.

If your portfolio will be online, choose a portfolio site such as Smugmug or Zenfolio. These services provide you with a way to upload photos into galleries with themes that you can choose. Make sure the theme doesn’t overwhelm your images. Consider adding music or creative text to personalize your portfolio. And try to organize a way to show the depth of your work as well as the breadth.


Who will look at your portfolio?

Well, no one. Portfolios don’t go out and find people. Once you know how to make a photography portfolio, the fact that you have created a stunning showcase of your work won’t bring in one customer. You can create keywords or tags, title your images to maximize web-search results, and tell all your friends to go look at your new site. But finding people to look at your portfolio is your next job.

Print some business cards and go network with buyers. Develop an email list and send monthly newsletters and announcements. Be the junk-mailer that you hate. Network, network, network.

Portfolio building is necessary and it's a must for every photographer, regardless of how innovative their craft is.

Go and make a portfolio right away!


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