“Should I have an online portfolio?” I get asked this from time to time. If you are or wish to be a professional photographer then the short answer is YES. If you prefer just to be a keen enthusiast or hobbyist, then it’s a matter of choice. But where to post one? And what to have in it?
Why do you need a portfolio?
Isn’t putting images up on social media enough? No, not really. Sadly people scroll through a myriad images on social media. Occasionally, one image might stop the scroll for a moment and even get a heart or a like, but then people move on. This is just the way the world works. If you are sharing holiday snaps, photos you took on a day trip or what you had for breakfast, it’s fine.
But if you want to be taken seriously as a professional photographer, then you need a dedicated option for people to see your very best work. They probably want to find out a little about your business and how to contact you. It needs to be painless for people visiting your website or portfolio. Think of your portfolio as a digital business card. Sure you can still use social media, but that continually gets updated, while your portfolio remains stable.
What sites are great options?
If you have an Adobe account you have access to a free online Portfolio. It’s quick and easy to set up (my favorite type), and it doesn’t look too bad. Just please don’t look too closely at mine, it was only for playing purposes, I don’t use it for business.
Other options can include websites and platforms from free to paid; Squarespace, WordPress, Behance, Wix, Dribble and more. How much you pay (if anything) depends on your budget. How fancy it is, depends on your patience and skill level. I have a Gallery (or two) built into my website on Squarespace.
What do I put on my portfolio?
Your very best images. They say you should have no more than 20 of your very best images in your portfolio. Or if you photograph several genres, then 10-20 in each category. I have broken the rules and I have LOADS of images in my galleries, especially for my creative portraits, over on my main website. But I do lead my portrait clients to a smaller, less confusing portfolio as well.
The idea is NOT to overwhelm people, and to showcase your very best work. Clean. Simple. Easy. That’s what people are looking for. Check out just some of these award winning portfolios (according to Squarespace) for inspiration.
Maybe it’s time to give yours a little spruce up for the new year. I know I will be giving mine a little T.L.C. as well.
Leave a Reply