How to Start a Photography Portfolio in 5 Easy Steps

If you want to learn how to start a photography portfolio, look no further! Follow the 5 easy steps presented and you will be the proud owner of a unique photography portfolio. First of all, you need to understand how important your portfolio is for your career: the portfolio is the photographer’s business card, so make sure that yours is professional, attractive, and creative.

Whether you wonder how to start a photography business or just want to display your work in a professional way, this article is the right tool for you. You will learn how to properly show your photographs for them to be appreciated, what theme you should choose and what design best fits your style. Take your time to read through and then opt for what best represents your particular personality and view, so you end up with a portfolio that speaks clearly about you and your abilities.

Step 1: Understand why you need a portfolio

Starting a photography portfolio might seem scary at the beginning, but to make everything easier, you need to first understand why you need it. A portfolio is a presentation the work you’ve done so far. Don’t be inhibited by the misconception that is should represent a sort of best of album. However, you should select the photographs you are most proud of while keeping an eye on a common theme that brings everything together.

Think of the reason for starting your portfolio in the first place. Is it a tool for you to get a job interview, an exhibition in a gallery or do you want to use it to make yourself recognized? Answer these question first and once you know why you need it, your mental image about your portfolio’s aspect will be much clearer.

Step 2: Decide on an individual, unifying theme

What is the invisible thread that brings together the work you will include in your portfolio? You have to know the main theme you want to pursue before even deciding on the photographs you will include because this way your job will get easier. Once you know your theme, you will find it much simple to select the photos, the style, and format of your presentation. Bearing in mind the theme, you will know what unifies your work, bringing a more cohesive aspect to your portfolio.

Step 3: Select the most suitable photographs

This part might be a bit difficult because an artist is not always able to judge his work objectively. You should resist the temptation of choosing your favorite shots, and try to select your best work. That means starting from a group of 100 photographs and then gradually eliminating those who are not perfectly executed. You should also keep in mind the theme of your portfolio in order to decide what fits and what doesn’t.

A good trick to help you ensure that your best work goes in your portfolio is to ask for someone else’s opinion. A friend you trust or a fellow photographer who has more experience can offer you valuable insight and help the process of selection. It’s always good to ask for their opinion because it will certainly come in handy and it will improve the general look of your portfolio.

photography portfolio of Jeremy Cowart


Step 4: Decide on a great layout

For print portfolios, you should really think about the best presentation for your work, starting from the paper, you print the photographs on, how many you have on every page and the general aspect as a whole. Print them at a high resolution on good quality paper because even though it is more expensive, it’s worth every dollar. If you are careful with these aspects, you will be able to present the best version of your work that will improve your chances of getting noticed.

The best way is to keep just one shot per page, as it provides a fresh look and also ensures that every one of your photographs gets noticed. A more spaced out layout also adds to the value of your portfolio, making it easier for the audience to enjoy it. Keep the captions underneath your shots simple and direct, including only the title, location and the date when you took the photo.

Step 5: Find your audience!

After you have built your portfolio and you are proud of the work you’ve included and satisfied with the resulting product all you have to do is show it to people. If you created it as an attachment to your resume, then your mission is simple, just send it to your prospect employer and wait for a positive reply.

If on the other hand, you want to use it to make yourself and your work known, then your mission is a bit trickier. No reason to worry, though, you have an amazing portfolio, and there are tons of people out there who want to see it you just need to find them. Send your portfolio to local gallery owners and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the unconventional spaces that might host a future exhibition of yours.

How to start a photography portfolio might seem like a challenge at first, but after you’ve followed the steps in this article, your work will be a lot easier. All you have to do is realize the importance of a good portfolio that will launch your career and then start working on it. Browse through your shots and select the best ones that match your theme and then think about the layout. After you’ve made up your mind, head to the printing center.

Your portfolio  should develop into an interesting story that engages the viewer, so let the photos speak for themselves. Keep the captions brief and don’t forget to include a presentation of yourself and your professional achievements. You’re almost done! All that is left to do after you’ve built your portfolio is to show your work to future employers, fellow photographers, and gallery owners.

Be proud of yourself, you now have a visual resume that will ensure your success. Good luck!

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