As a photographer there is no greater joy than being recognized for what you love doing. A large part of that recognition will come through the self promotional tactics you employ. One way to ensure you get recognition for what you do is to create a photography portfolio which is second to none. Choosing the right photographs to put in your portfolio will be a time consuming process. By the nature of the portfolio itself, only your best pieces should be placed within the portfolio. If you don’t’ have too many top picks spend some more time photographing until you get the desired results. Your portfolio is something you should be proud of, not something thrown together out of impatience and haste.
What to look for in your photos?
You need to know your clients. When you know whose attention you’re trying to get, choose your work based on that. If you’re looking to get into the wedding industry, choose only your best wedding photos, but show variety in terms of style. You don’t want them to think that you’re only capable of doing one type of work. Expand your range and more options will open up.
You want to show off your best craftsmanship, so choose photos that show your skill in terms of lighting and composition, but remember that you’ll also want to show that you’re capable of making your models look good, so people will know that you’re able to make a connection with whom you’re working and are able to instruct the person in front of your camera.
Newest work vs. older stuff?
Say you’re going through a creativity block and your newer stuff just doesn’t look as good as some of your older work, what should you choose to show in your port? You have to find that balance between showing your best work while keeping it current. So choose your best photos, but have a few recent photos also be part of your portfolio.
Drink Alone but Don’t Edit Alone
Our first suggestion is that you do not do this alone. You are a great and wonderful photographer – you are however a lousy editor of your own work. You’re too close to it. Not only are you emotionally attached to the images and the process, you see the flaws and miss the impact that comes from looking at the work with fresh eyes. We also find that photographers look at their work from too narrow a perspective and don’t see bigger trends that are right before their eyes.
Finalizing Your Photography Portfolio
Take your time with the process. Say you start with 100 photos — edit out 10 or 20 each week until you have your 20 best. You might end up swapping photos out again and again until you’re content with your decisions. Once you’ve selected your photos, let them marinate for awhile. Come back a week later and see how you feel about them. Share your portfolio with a handful of other photographers you respect and admire, and ask them for their feedback. Perhaps show them your top 30 photos and ask them what they think are the best 20, or which two or three they think are the weakest, to help you make your final decisions.
Do you have any more tips that would be helpful to other photographers? Let us know what you think by commenting at the bottom.