Social media may seem like the easy choice for creating a quick and visible portfolio for everyone to look through, especially when it comes to Instagram. Easily upload your photos to your feed, and, boom, your portfolio is created. You don't need to give any details; the proof is in the pudding, right? Well, wrong.
Creating a portfolio will take slightly more effort than just uploading all of your work to social media and calling it a day.
Don't get me wrong - social media is absolutely a great way to get your name out there and network. You can gain followers and have your work viewed by hundreds or thousands. But, this shouldn't be your portfolio. You want your portfolio to showcase your talent and exhibit how you work with your client and meet their needs.
When you take the time to create a portfolio, you prove to potential clients that you are a professional and take this career path seriously. Social media is a great platform to show off your hobby and what you're good at but, it doesn't quite prove that you are a professional photographer. Use your portfolio to show off the relationships you have built with your clients.
For example, when creating your portfolio, think about what potential clients need. Most people are interested in your referrals. You can include a section of referrals and/or testimonials from previous clients. You can browse other photographers' online portfolios to get an idea of how you would like yours laid out.
Potential Portfolio Sites
Some sites are free, and others will have a price. Not sure which to choose? It all depends on how much control you want. Some websites will even give you the ability to have an e-commerce feature.
Portfolio Starter Guide
Don't worry if you are new to your photography career. You can still start building your portfolio.
• Shoot Frequently
Shoot, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more. The best thing you can have is too many photographs to choose from for your portfolio. Take this opportunity to take pictures of friends and family if you are starting from scratch. You can continuously add more photos to your portfolio as you are going.
• Choose a Portfolio Aesthetic
Try to hone in on your specialty. What types of photographs do you want to be known for taking? Here are a few examples: Event, sport, family, newborn, product, the list goes on. You don't have to pick just one; you can have a few specialties. After this, you can design your portfolio around your aesthetic. Most of the sites I listed above will give you templates that will be easy to work with.
• Featured Images
Once you have all the photographs for your portfolio picked out, you will need a few featured images. You will want to pick featured pictures that will grab your potential client's attention. Try to avoid using photographs that are too similar. You will want to prove your creative range. If you're unsure, ask for advice from a trusted friend or colleague.
• Old-School Portfolio
Although having a website as your portfolio is a great way to stay in tune with technology, an old-school hard copy is also a good idea. When creating this type of portfolio, you will need high-quality prints and go through a trusted printer to get vibrant colors and top-quality paper.
Tip: A great online resource is mpix.com. They also have photography portfolio options.
• Don't Overload
Although you want a wide range of photographs in your portfolio, you don't want to overwhelm the viewer. You don't need to include every single photo you have ever taken. If you think you need to explain why the photograph you took is fantastic, then you can probably leave it out.
• Always Ask Advice
Although you don't want too much advice, it's nice to have a second opinion on your portfolio from a colleague. If you don't have a trusted source, you can always look for a professional to critique your portfolio for you.
• Who is Your Audience
Just like figuring out your aesthetic, you will need to know your audience. Knowing your audience will help you design the scope of your portfolio.
Use this guide to help you create your portfolio and put your best foot forward. And again, look around and see what other photographers include in their portfolios. Doing this will help give you an idea of what you want.