Dreaming of a career in photography? An online portfolio allows you to showcase your skill and talent, which will help you secure jobs and clients. But how do you go about making an online portfolio? Which photos should you include, and how should you format or design your portfolio?
Use these seven expert tips to build a portfolio that presents your work in a professional, beautiful way.
1. Showcase Your Style or Theme
If you're working toward a professional career as a photographer, you've probably developed your own theme or style. Maybe you prefer portrait photography or the hustle and bustle of wedding photography.
While you don't necessarily need to constrain yourself to one particular type of photography or theme, you do want to showcase your own unique style when creating your portfolio. Every photographer has their own style, and that's what will set you apart from the competition.
When people look at your work, you want them to recognize your style.
Make sure that this theme is consistent throughout your portfolio. Try to refrain from adding an unrelated image even if the photo is really interesting or unique.
2. Keep Your Potential Client in Mind When Choosing Photos
Not only do you want to highlight a certain theme in your portfolio, but you also want to keep your potential clients in mind when selecting photos.
If you're looking to work as a wedding photographer, for example, you'll want to include bright and beautiful photos that convey the celebratory mood of a wedding.
Where appropriate, you can share the backstory that goes along with your photos. Sharing these stories will give viewers insight into your creative process.
3. Stay Organized
If you haven't chosen a specialization and want to showcase a variety of photos (e.g. wedding, family photos, babies etc.), organize your work by theme and in a way that's easy to navigate.
Each specialization, or theme, should be categorized and easy to find through the main menu.
While it may require a little extra effort on your part, organizing your portfolio will make it easier for potential clients to find what they need.
4. Show Off Your Best Work
Whether you plan on highlighting one specialization or multiple types of photography, you'll want to choose only your best work.
No one wants to sift through a portfolio with thousands of images. A dozen photos is more than sufficient. Remember, clients are busy people and don't have time to scroll through page after page in your gallery.
In fact, many potential clients won't even scroll through the 12 images in your portfolio, so put your absolute best photos first to make sure they're seen.
5. Keep the Design Simple and Clean
All eyes should be on your photos – not the layout or design of the portfolio. Keep the design simple and uncluttered. Otherwise, the layout of the portfolio will compete with your photos for attention.
If you plan on adding watermarks to your images, refrain from overdoing it. Aggressive watermarks may turn clients away, and take away from the beauty of your images.
6. Make It Easy For Clients to Contact You
The goal with building any portfolio is to land new clients or assignments. Make sure that interested clients can easily contact you to discuss their needs and your work.
Ideally, you want to include your contact information on every page. You may include your phone number and address if you have an office. If you work out of your home, you may only want to include a phone number. A contact form is another important element to include, and will allow clients to contact you via email.
7. Create a Bio That Highlights Your Creative Process and Point of View
It's easy to get so caught up in photo selection that you overlook the importance of creating a biography. Your bio is what introduces you to the world – to potential clients – so use this space to highlight your creative process and your point of view.
Share your backstory. When and how did you become interested in photography? If you have any notable clients or features in publications or the press, feel free to integrate these elements into your bio as well.
Above all else, make sure that you come off as an approachable person in your biography. Briefly mention any other hobbies you might have or other quirky tidbits that make you more relatable to potential clients and viewers.
It's easy to get so caught up in the details that you procrastinate and take weeks or months to get your portfolio up. Remember, your portfolio is a work in progress, and you're free to make changes here and there whenever you please. What's most important is making sure that you get your portfolio up and running, so you can start working on gaining new clients and assignments.