How to Build your Photography Portfolio

As a photographer there is no greater joy than being recognized for what you love doing. A large part of that recognition will come through the self promotional tactics you employ. One way to ensure you get recognition for what you do is to create a photography portfolio which is second to none.

Photographer's Portfolio

Step 1) Choosing your theme You may already have the pictures to create a themed portfolio or you may be planning on capturing them over the next little while. Either way, your portfolio, like a well written book, should have some unifying theme. This theme can be conceptual or it can be technical. For example, your theme could be about courage, love, urban life, rural life, garbage. Alternatively you can create a theme based on photographic technicalities. For example you could create a portfolio showcasing all of your best wide angle work, or one which displays your best black and white work. The themes for creating a portfolio are only limited by your own imagination. So take your time and create a themed portfolio which means something to you.

Step 2) Choosing the photos Choosing the right photographs to put in your portfolio will be a time consuming process. By the nature of the portfolio itself, only your best pieces should be placed within the portfolio. If you don’t’ have too many top picks spend some more time photographing until you get the desired results. Your portfolio is something you should be proud of, not something thrown together out of impatience and haste.

Your portfolio should be manageable for the viewer to get through. Too often photographers fill pages and pages with photographs that the viewer will skim through to get to the end. Most audiences have short attention spans. Don’t take it personally, it’s simply how we’ve been conditioned to see the world. If you’re photography portfolio is shorter, your audience will be more likely to slow down and spend more time looking at each photograph.

For those of you who have been to art galleries showcasing a particular artist work, you’ll remember, that their showcase was relatively easy to get through. This is because they don’t’ want to clutter the walls and they want to keep your attention the whole time. You must do the same as a photographer. Just because they make photo albums that can hold 500 pictures doesn’t mean you should try to fill it up. Narrow your portfolio down to 20-50 photographs. There is no hard set number you need to follow but this seems to be the range that most audiences would prefer.

Step 3) Showing your work Now that you’ve put together your portfolio, it’s time to show it off. Keep it in a public space in your house, show your friends and family, but a digital copy online and show it around to galleries and exhibits if you’re looking to sell some of the photographs in your set.

Completing your portfolio is a great feeling. It’s a great internal battle choosing the perfect pictures for your portfolio because it represents you and what you stand for as a photographer. Take your time putting it together, but make sure your complete your project. Too many photographers shoot all day long and fail to present their work properly. Don’t let your photographs sit around in boxes in the closest. Take the best ones out and show them off!

John S
Stare Online Photography School

6 Responses to “How to Build your Photography Portfolio”

  1. Clippingimages says:

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Amber says:

    Great information. I am just starting to put together a portfolio. One thing that I am struggling with is if I should put my name on my photos. I have sold a few of my photos to friends and they wanted my name on them (which I did in photoshop) but I am wondering if that is really necessary for a portfolio.

  3. mk says:

    u dont particulary need ur name on the photos u can make a seal for ur individual pictures or not have anything at all. i suggestif u do put ur name on the photos make two copies. one without ur name and one with urname

  4. Victor Ojo says:

    I have taking over a thousand photographs and wondering the first step i need to take, to start a portfolio. What do i need to do, to start my portfolio?

  5. Photography website says:

    Thanks for sharing this useful piece of info.Check this…

  6. caroline says:

    Help. What size should the print outs be?

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