If you’re serious about making the most out of your skills and training in photography, you need to think about creating a portfolio. You need a portfolio to keep your collection and to showcase your artistry. You need a portfolio if you want people and potential clients to notice you; if you want to establish your name and brand.
However, creating a photography portfolio is not easy. It’s not something that you can do in a few hours or overnight. You have to invest your time, effort, talents, and your photography skills to create an impressive collection. After all, your portfolio is your investment; it is your calling card and it introduces your work to the world.
1. Identify Your Audience
Before you start building your portfolio, you need to identify your niche or audience first. To whom do you want to show your photos? To whom are you trying to reach out? Who do you wish would view your photos? Knowing the answers to the said questions will help you determine your reason for creating the portfolio. Additionally, the answers can also help you identify the style, tone, and content your portfolio should possess.
For example, if your target audience is couples planning their weddings, your portfolio should showcase engagement, bridal shower, and wedding photos. Likewise, the tone and style should also complement an engagement or wedding vibe. If you have a website, your main homepage should feature your niche photos. For instance, in Sumastre Photography, we specialize in aerial photography. We highlighted all our aerial photography and videography works at the top of the homepage so that it will be prominently displayed at the website.
It’s the first set of photo-collection the visitors and potential clients will see – no need for them to click other links or navigate away from the main webpage.
2. Choose Your Photos Wisely
You will need to plan or choose which photos to include in your portfolio. Better yet, decide on whether or not you need to shoot new ones (most photographers do this). Brainstorming (if you have a team or with your friends) and planning are two ways of making sure that your project is well organized.
3. Create a Web Presence
Since you’re going to build an online portfolio, too, you have to create a website. Make this a part of your brainstorming session, but be sure that you have a good web designer with you. The designer can help in laying out the technical attributes of the website, including the SEO side of it (if you want your site optimized for search engines). Likewise, with a designer around, you’ll have someone who can help you with the visual aspects.
Designers have a very keen eye for details, and this is an advantage for anyone who wants to come up with an attention-grabbing portfolio.
4. Schedule a Shoot
Aside from picking out your best photos, you also need to schedule a shoot. Don’t worry, though, because unless you really want to, you won’t need to hire models. Get your creative juices going and think of a unique concept to showcase or advertise your specialty. For example, if your focus is on engagements and weddings, you can always take photos of engagement and wedding paraphernalia. You don’t have to find models to act as the bride and groom. If you want to, you can always use some photos from weddings you’ve photographed. But you can stage some scenes as well.
If you don’t have a studio, you can always do the shoot at home. Find a spot with good lighting and do the shoot there. Use wedding rings, wedding pillows, a wedding invitation, veil and cord, and a bride’s bouquet as your props. You can even ask two of your crew to act as hand models. Take a close-up shot of their entwined hands to symbolize the union of two persons. This is the best and most practical way to take staged photos for your portfolio.