The Portfolio - Never a Second Chance

You have heard it before. "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." In photography, just as in all kinds of businesses, it is the same. Your portfolio, or body of work is really all that matters.  If you are a portrait photographer your best work is on display on your walls and on your website. Photojournalists show tear-sheets and clippings. Commercial/advertising folks often still show a physical portfolio, even in the world of web pages and zipped files on Dropbox.  The fact is that many buyers of photography still want to see something that has been printed. 

Regardless of your method of presenting your work, the fact is that nothing you can do is more important than your content. No one cares how much trouble it was for you to get a specific picture and nobody cares about the story behind the image. They simply care about the quality of the image. 

Photographers, of course, want to know everything. They want to see BTS pics and want to hear all of the stories. And that is fine but please do NOT let the HOW get in the way of the WHAT. The pictures have to speak for themselves and you should never apologize for your work.

A few years ago I was looking at a lot of student work and seeing one portfolio after another. What I found was that every single one of the students apologized for an image or two in their portfolio or mentioned the need to update their website galleries. Folks, if you need to update your galleries, THEN UPDATE YOUR GALLERIES. But stop making excuses for the images. You are not going to be there when the potential client views the work and you will be unable to explain anything about it. The work has to stand on it's own. 

You can choose to have different styles of work categorized but try to just show a few of each style. 25 images of a little girl on high key background are not necessary when two will get your point across. Use good judgement with not only content, but also the volume or amount of images you share. Most newer photographers try to show everything and the more veteran folks are much more selective.  Now everyone go edit.  Ready, GO!

A long-time favorite of mine from Liverpool, England

Beautiful little Avery after a portfolio session.

A recent fashion/catalog image from a favorite new client.

If you love to work with black and white like I do, then you must show it. Show all of your qualifications in your portfolio work. An illustration of one-light studio work.