In our high tech times, a photography portfolio (the same as any other portfolio) no longer needs to be printed. Today most photographers prefer to present their works in digital format. When a portfolio is designed right, you have the advantage over other professionals in your niche. In today’s variety of creative and catchy photo portfolios, you will have to use your best endeavors to make your presentation stand out among other great web works.
Showcasing an image based portfolio on a website can be a tricky task. It’s usually a lot different than a normal client or business website. With a normal website, there is usually a consistent structure, which includes a header, a navigation menu, sometimes a sidebar, and usually a footer. However, when showcasing photography, there are no limits. You don’t need a navigation bar, header, or footer, if you don’t want to have them. The more creative you can be, while still focusing on the main goal of your site, the more attention you’ll gain.
Your online photography portfolio is intended to either attract clientele or show off your photos and images. Some people choose the latter, adding bits of text to each photo they post, creating a photo blog. That type of site is not intended to attract clients and bring home the cash, but instead be a viewing gallery for whoever stumbles across it.
So, here are 5 tips that you should consider when creating your photography portfolio:
1. Consider Your Target Demographic
Your portfolio needs to reflect your target demographic, whether it is a couple looking for a wedding shoot, or an agency looking for a commercial shoot. If your portfolio gives off the wrong image, you won’t attract any of the clients you want.
Think of a wedding photographer’s portfolio, typically white, clean, and easy to use. This is suited towards the target demographic of a wedding photographer: typically younger couples (sometimes females are in charge of certain decisions) with dreams of the perfect wedding. Typically speaking, weddings are full of white, with beautiful flowers and rays of sunshine. If you want to attract wedding clients, you need your portfolio to resemble a wedding.
2. Selecting Images
After the audience is specified, it’s time to make a selection of images that are to be presented in the portfolio. Here are some tips on how to make a better selection:
- Scrutinize the images and select the best ones that you want to present to the audience. Divide them into categories. This is important, because a photo gallery is interesting if it offers a journey to the visitor. If there is a thread that ties the images into a whole, such a portfolio will always be interesting to the audience.
- It is good if the photos are in a logical order. You have to prepare for a meeting with the person to whom you’ll be showing your works. So, place your photo works either in chronological order, or some other order you think they need to be placed. You should be ready to explain to your prospective client why you present your works in such a way.
- Do not select many photos for the portfolio – employers or customers don’t have time to review a lengthy portfolio. An optimal variant is to include from 20 to 30 photos.
- Choose those photos that will show the results of specific photographic efforts according to the goals for which the portfolio is created. It is inaccurate to say that a portfolio can only present the best works ever created by a photographer. A portfolio should be used for a concrete exact purpose, for example: “to show the works created during a definite period of time”, “to present the photographer’s skills in taking black-and-white photos”, etc.
- As soon as the images are selected, ask for feedback from friends, family or other photographers. The opinion of another person may be very useful.
3. Only Use High Resolution Images
When a potential client goes to your view your portfolio, they expect to see high resolution, professional looking images. So give them that! Don’t display “full size” images at 300px by 300px. The viewer is there to see your work at its greatest quality, not a low quality optimized for bandwidth. When you consider your target demographic, chances are high that they are located near you. By now, most of us have high-speed cable or DSL connections, so utilize them.
Provide high-resolution images for your clients and in return they may have to wait a couple seconds longer. If they’re that impatient that they won’t wait for your portfolio to load the best quality possible, then personally speaking, they’re too impatient to be your client.
4. Protect Your Work
With today’s technology, no matter how hard you try to protect your images, somebody, somewhere, can steal a copy. You can try disabling right click, or put all your images as background images, and hope your users aren’t tech-capable; but that will never work.
The only way to truly protect your photos is to embed watermarks on them. By embedding watermarks into the jpg’s, if thieves steal your work, the watermark will always be there. The larger the watermark, the harder it will be to get rid of it.
5. Make it Easy for Your Users to Contact You
We have seen some photo portfolios that have no way of contacting the photographer. What do you think, why? To tell the truth, we do not know. Regardless of how good your work is, if your viewer can’t get in touch with you, you’re not getting any work. It’s really simple for you to add contact details to your site. Whether it’s a contact page, a phone number on every page, or an email address in the footer, finding your contact information should be a breeze for your users.
You can put whatever you want for your contact details, just make sure that whatever you do put, is correct. A simple phone number will do, although if a potential client isn’t fond of the telephone, it may be better if they knew your email address as well. Remember to think about all your users before you make any final decisions.
As a conclusion, we’ll name some additional points that should be kept in mind when designing a photo portfolio and after it goes live.
- A photo portfolio should start and end strong. Think about the “title” and “cover image” – it is the face of your online presentation and should grab the viewer’s attention from the first second. And the last image is a conclusion of what that the viewer has seen before. So, there is a position where your stand out image goes.
- Provide the photos with all necessary info. Place a title or the image info below (or near) the photo. It will be much easier for your customer or viewer who is interested in your works to specify exactly what photos exactly they mean when contacting you.
- Keep the portfolio fresh. Update it as often as necessary – it should always be up to date, and it is not about the photos only. The web design of the portfolio should also be improved or polished from time to time, as technologies develop rapidly.
Remember, these are all just tips – helpful pieces of advices that you can choose to use in your own portfolio if you wish. Use none, one or all of them! It’s up to you, just never forget about your end users. They are the ones who really matter!