tips for portfolio photography

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Tips for Portfolio Photography

How to quickly and easily build a photography portfolio that will take you from hobbyist.
1. What is a photography portfolio
A portfolio is a concise collection of your photos created to show people your best work. Its purpose is usually to get a photography gig. Whether you want to do weddings, portraits, commercial jobs, or to work for an environmental group to save a piece of the earth, a portfolio is the tool that shows a customer your capabilities.
2. Why should you have a photography portfolio
Youandre standing at a fall festival, watching your kids decorate their pumpkins, and you strike up a conversation with another parent. You find out that this person is an art editor at your favorite magazine and youandd love to do some work for them. You try to convince her that youandre a great photographer but you see her eyes glaze over because sheands heard this a thousand times, and she just wants to watch her kids. You tell stories about your photo shoots and list the places youandve been published. She tries to escape, but you follow her to the ladies room. You chase her around desperately. Oh no, this may be your only chance, but youandre not making any brownie points It would be so much easier to give her your business card with your URL. Even better, get her e mail address and send her a short, friendly note with a link to your portfolio.
Other scenarios youandre at a business breakfast or a baby shower or a friend introduces you to someone who needs photography work done. A portfolio is a way to show this person that youandre the one to do the job. Or youandre applying to a photo workshop, and they need a sample of your work to recommend a course.
3. What should be in a photography portfolio
Some experts say that a portfolio is a printed presentation of your best work until now, showing the breadth of your skills. Some say a portfolio should be tailored to the customer youandre approaching. If your portfolio is a traditional folder of printed photographs, it will be much less dynamic than an online gallery could be. If youandre just starting out, youandll want to add your latest great stuff often, so choose a medium thatands easy to update.
Consider your audience. If you want to do weddings, your portfolio would contain portraits of couples, groups, wedding events like getting ready throwing the bouquet, and still life shots including flowers, rings, and invitations. If you want to work for a conservation group, youandll need landscapes, activities such as clean up days, close ups of special plants or animals found in their area, and maybe a portrait of the founder. DO YOUR RESEARCH Know your prospective customerands needs and show that you can fill them.
4. What kind of pictures should you include in your portfolio
Pick a theme. Thereands nothing more jarring than seeing a crisp black and white architectural shot next to a soft, dreamy, pastel bridal portrait. If you can do both styles, separate them in your portfolio. A theme could be
5. How many pictures and what should you include in your portfolio
Hereands the killer: your portfolio should contain only 8 to 12 pictures. Photo buyers are busy people. The worst thing you can do is to swamp them with photos that are redundant. You might be the best rose photographer in the world, but showing 35 pictures of roses will mark you as an amateur. Think first: What are you good at? I am good at landscapes, architecture, and flowers, and I can come up with a few decent people pictures. My portfolio would target buyers who want landscape and nature photos rather than urban street scenes or baby portraits. I would include varied viewpoints of New England scenes, details like stone walls and weather vanes, macro flowers, and people as compositional elements in the landscape. I would not show a portfolio of portraits, because it would imply that I do this type of work very well a falsehood that I canandt deliver on. A portfolio can include your aspirations as well as your accomplishments, but you must be able to do the type of work youandre looking for.
6. How do you get images for a portfolio
Shoot free and shoot cheap. Many of the images in a wedding portfolio are still life pictures that can be created without a wedding. Get some flowers and practice macro photography. Shoot your own wedding ring. Create evocative portraits of family members and friends. Practice using different styles photojournalism, romantic, fun. Photograph local buildings to illustrate that you can do architecture. I recently viewed the website of a photographer who did great architectural photos of a Dunkinand Donuts.
I shot my first wedding for a friend, who agreed to pay for half of my film costs. What a bargain for both of us I also had a friend in politics, and shot political portraits for his campaign. And somewhere I met the owner of an exercise business and shot her facility and staff after hours. These free photos were used by the people in them, and gave me invaluable experience. NOTE WELL: When you present your pictures to your customer, show them only the really good ones and edit out the duds. The brochures and prints from these sessions were an important part of my portfolio for years.
7. Who will look at your portfolio
Well, no one. Portfolios donandt go out and find people. The fact that you have created a stunning showcase of your work wonandt bring in one customer. You can create keywords or tags, title your images to maximize web search results, and tell all your friends to go look at your new site. But finding people to look at your portfolio is your next job. Print some business cards and go network with buyers. Develop an e mail list and send monthly newsletters and announcements. Be the junk mailer that you hate. Network, network, network.
8. Donandts for Photography Portfolios
Donandt include redundant images. If you have only rose pictures, you may not be ready to work with a paying customer. Or find a gardening magazine and take some pictures of gardening tools, gloves, and an overview of its design to give your collection some variety. Donandt get bogged down trying to find your 8 best images of all time. You can re do it next year. Donandt wait until you have the ultimate portfolio. If youandre reading this, you need to take some baby steps first. The next time youandre at a fall festival talking to an art director, you can just slip her a card and try to get her e mail address.
9. How to Create a Photography Portfolio
Photographers develop their art and their craft to create outstanding photographs worthy of capturing a share of a lucrative market. Photographers will benefit by learning how to create a photography portfolio in order to market their work. Dedicated photographers often have a collection of photographs before they contemplate entering the commercial market, and this collection is a great starting place.
10. Examine the work of the great photographers at the local library
Ansel Adams and Eugene Smith produced dissimilar images using similar skills and techniques. Their portfolios are accessible and educational. Adams focused on landscapes while Smith was a photojournalist, but their collections contain commercial quality images, which are inspirational and instructive.
Check out the work of photographers currently producing commercial quality images. Adams and Smith produced their work years ago, but the most recent great photography is available at libraries and museums. Successful photographers showcase their best images on their websites and market their work to the public.
Narrow the focus of your research to the work of photographers who share your interest in subject matter.


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