Learn how to make a photography portfolio from scratch with our comprehensive guide. Also, discover tips to boost your existing portfolio.
As an independent photographer, you want to stand out among the crowd. But how do you inform potential clients of your stellar skills? Enter the power of a well-created portfolio.
With countless photographers vying for attention, your photography portfolio acts like a lens through which clients see your expertise. It’s more than just a collection of images; it's a vivid testament to your artistry and vision.
In this guide, we’ll tell you how to make a photography portfolio. We’ll also provide you with practical tips for enhancing your portfolio.
What is a photography portfolio? 📷
A photography portfolio is a collection of your best photos that showcases your work, technique, abilities, and style. It shows prospective clients your experience and helps them decide whether you’d be a good fit for their requirements and needs.
And having a portfolio is paramount if you’re a freelancer trying to find work. A well-structured portfolio shows your professionalism and work ethic, helping you stand out as a freelancer and match with clients. Not only does a portfolio validate your expertise, but it also provides potential clients a window into your artistic approach, ensuring you’re a memorable visual storyteller –– not just another name.
What should a photography portfolio include? 📝
Your portfolio should include your best photography in the type of work you’re looking to pursue in a way that captivates viewers and potential clients. For example, if you primarily cover weddings but love to capture picturesque landscapes, you should have two portfolios –– one for weddings and one for landscape shots.
You should also add elements like a short bio, contact information, and client testimonials to demonstrate your credibility.
How many photos should you use in your portfolio? 🌅
A well-curated and trimmed portfolio is more professional and impressive than a smorgasbord of unnecessary photographs. Selecting 10–15 (or fewer) photos would make more of an impact on a viewer than adding all the pictures you clicked at a wedding.
How to make a photography portfolio in 6 steps 🪜
A well-crafted portfolio acts as a window, offering clients a glimpse into your unique world. Each photo needs to be a testament to your expertise, creativity, and commitment. Below, we've mapped out a step-by-step guide to help you effectively communicate your narrative and prowess:
1. Establish your goals and customize your portfolio according to your prospective clients 🎯
Before creating your portfolio, it is important to outline your goals and viewer type. For example, if a bride-to-be reaches out to you for a pre-wedding shoot, she will be more interested in viewing other bridal or wedding photos you’ve clicked to make a decision.
2. Choose your best photos 🥰
When selecting photos to include in your portfolio, pick the best work that you’ve done.
Keep your strategy and target audience in mind while you’re sifting through your gallery grid and work, and choose photos showcasing your different techniques and styles.
3. Select a portfolio format 🎆
Although we’ve transitioned to a more digital world, a printed portfolio still holds value and get you your next client. Here’s how to present your work in both formats:
A photography portfolio website is a dynamic way of displaying and promoting your best work. This format is super convenient for freelancers to send out to their target audience and widen their reach.
In an online photography portfolio, you upload photos onto a website and send the link to prospective clients. To ensure clarity, choose the best website builder suited to your needs when creating a portfolio website. Sites such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix.com, and Adobe Portfolio are great starting points to build a photography website portfolio. These photography portfolio websites also have modern templates that make it super easy to create an impressive online portfolio. Contra’s portfolio tool, specially designed for freelancers, has several website templates that could help you kickstart your photography career.
Having a print portfolio is an investment. Here, you print your best images in the highest quality and organize them in a book, binder, magazine, etc. This typically helps during face-to-face meetings with potential clients.
It’s recommended to create both a hard copy and an online version of your portfolio to attract clients. That’s because the former is a more intimate, personalized view of your capabilities, while the latter definitely widens your reach and makes it easy for you to regularly update your work.
1. Decide your portfolio’s order 🎫
When putting your photos in order, start and end strongly. Select your best image from your gallery as the first and an excellent image as your last to close on a high. There should be no filler images; select your favorites for the middle.
2. Determine the number of photographs on each page 🤠
Per your preferences, decide whether you want to include multiple photos that relate to each other on one page or have each photo on its own page. Play around and try both ways to see which works best for your photographs.
3. Add details to your portfolio 🧵
Try to enhance your portfolio by adding personalized details. Adding a logo or business card (seek help from a graphic designer for a professional touch) can leave a lasting impression. Also, add a brief bio highlighting your personality to connect with clients.
Tips to enhance your photography portfolio 😍
Your photography portfolio shouldn’t blend in with the rest. But how do you ensure it? By enhancing it with specific touches and elements, you can elevate your portfolio’s impact. Here are a few essential tips to refine your portfolio, ensuring it not only represents your work but also leaves an indelible mark on anyone who views it:
Create a narrative 🌟
Tell a story with your photos to showcase a narrative and flow. For example, if it’s a wedding portfolio, you should place the photos in a way that demonstrates rituals one after the other. You shouldn’t place a picture of a couple cutting a cake before the picture of a bride walking down an aisle.
Don’t use too similar images or pictures from the same shoot 📽️
When you include two or more similar images (where all that’s different is a hand position), potential clients might think you take many shots of the same thing. If you can, show photos from multiple shoots to show your range and experience level.
It’s advised to use your best images, but if you need to do some photo editing on your chosen images, you can use tools like Adobe Lightroom.
Keep it simple 🥳
Make use of a clean and easy design or template that highlights your photographs. It also needs to allow easy navigation for clients.
Get another opinion 🗣️
Ask other photography professionals, friends, and family similar to your target audience for their feedback on your portfolio and choice of photographs. A second or third opinion would give you more objectivity.
2 photographer portfolio examples 😎
Looking at other professional portfolios for inspiration can also help you gain perspective. Here are two helpful samples of professional photographer portfolios from the talented Independents at Contra:
1. YongChin Foo ✨
Foo is a freelance video director and photographer, and his portfolio is an impressive showcase of his talents and includes projects ranging from film festivals and podcasts to product photography and product launch events. He divides his online portfolio into main categories: work and services. This ensures clarity and gives potential clients a peek into his expertise.
2. Toni Sabato ⭐
Sabato is a web designer, photographer, and video producer who specializes in brand photography. Sabato’s website portfolio is a delightful showcase of his style and has a more modern layout and website design that grabs viewers’ attention.
Showcase your photography portfolio with Contra 🔥
While a strong photography portfolio is your foundation, where and how you showcase it can make all the difference. Contra offers the perfect platform for Independents like you, ensuring your talent gets the visibility it deserves. Don't just create a portfolio; share it with a community ready to embrace your vision.
Join Contra for Independents today, and promote your freelance photography services without any commissions. Level up your freelancer career and make money online by sending proposals and matching with clients who value your skills.