7 Tips for Photography Portfolios

Professional photography portfolios require a full understanding of their markets. Commercially, the photographer's portfolio is the big asset for getting work. Photographers, who can produce huge amounts of material, have to work hard to maintain their portfolios and presentation standards.  Photography is a tough business, and even getting attention can be difficult. Pro photographers put in a lot of time and effort to create the best possible portfolios and presentation they can.

Photography portfolios- Getting organized

There are some important rules for managing your content when creating a photographic portfolio:

Create a system for archiving your materials. You can use subjects, dates, client's names, or whatever's easiest, but make sure you can keep track of your valuable images.

Use quality controls in keeping your materials: Not every shot is a winner. Some just take up space. This is a particular problem with hardcopies. You may need to retain a complete record of commercial shoots for your clients for business purposes, but it's better to create an archive so the extra materials don't get in the way when you're assembling your portfolio.

Make copies of your best work: Protect your materials from loss. It's quite easy to lose work in the process of editing, and discover that was the only copy you had. Hardcopy is notorious for this, so scan your works immediately, if you work in that medium. With digital media, keep backups.  

Portfolio issues

Photographers can find themselves working in many different areas, particularly in commercial photography, where the sheer number of subjects can be like a dictionary. These are the primary considerations when putting together a commercial portfolio:

Subjects: Tailor your portfolio to each job, using the subjects as your guidelines. You can include your creative ideas and techniques, but stick to relevant materials. Unless there's a specific requirement to show competencies in a particular area, don't let your portfolio presentation get off topic.

Technical issues: Many commercial photography jobs require fixed standards of technical presentation. This can include a range of specific needs for your work, anything from the type of software you use to dpi and pixel counts, or particular forms of media. When selecting your portfolio materials, make sure you're able to verify any necessary specifications. You may be asked technical questions regarding your work, so make sure you have that information available as notes with your portfolio .

Pre production materials: Commercial clients, particularly in advertising and marketing, may need to see materials like original shots, mockups, series of shots, etc. This requirement relates to their own production processes, as well as your credentials in commercial work. If you're looking for jobs with agencies, it's a good idea to have examples of your production work for presentation to their technical and creative staff.

Presentation methods: Most presentations are digital, either online or slideshows, but in some cases hard copy is a good approach. This is a case of "Know your market". Always make sure you're providing your materials in the format the client or employer wants, because they may simply reject anything that isn't.