How To Build A Photography Portfolio 

A candid image of a merchant pouring a cup of water from a green jug in front of his establishment in Kolkata, India.

Are you a keen, enthusiast photographer looking to present your images to the world in a well ordered and cohesive manner?

Perhaps you’d like to add a portfolio of images to your website, blog or social media platforms.

Attachment Is A Problem In Photography

The trouble is it’s very hard to be objective, particularly when your images feature loved ones or involved cost, time and travel to produce.

The more you’ve invested into your images, one way or another, the harder it’s likely to be to view them in an objective manner.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Emotive images are always what forms the strongest connection with our audience.

However, it’s important to understand that our own emotional connection with particular images or subject matter will not, necessarily, resonate with our audience in the same way.

Design prinicples of symmetry and repetition explored in this photo of a high-rise apartment block in Singapore.

Your Needs Versus Those Of Your Audience

You may be making images primarily for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, from a creative point of view, it’s the ideal position to be in.

However, if your audience is important to you, then you need to consider their needs as well.

You Need Me | I’m Mr Objective

What you need is me, which is to say someone with years of experience helping emerging photographers, whether serious amateurs or tertiary level photography students, select and sequence their work into concise, cohesive portfolios that flow seamlessly from beginning to end. 

This is a process I’ve helped folks through hundreds of times. But by no means is it an easy task. From my end it requires significant amounts of concentration, a highly developed sense of visual literacy and an empathetic nature.

For me it’s an exhaustive, but exhilarating experience.

For you it will be a great learning experience as I’II explain everything I do, as I do it.

A Weddell Seal springs to attention while resting on an iceberg near Cuverville Island in Antarctica.

What To Submit For Your Portfolio Review

Please submit up to a maximum of 30 photos.

They will be the images that you feel are your best or most appropriate for the task at hand.

To better understand that instruction, let’s break it down through two quite different examples.

A lovely, delicate black and white portrait of a young woman by window light in Melbourne, Australia.

Genre Specific Portfolio

Let’s say you’re a passionate wildlife photographer and you want to put together a portfolio that’s based around birds.

That means you’ll need to remove any images from your original 30 that are not avian in nature. You don’t need my help with that as it’s clearly something you can do for yourself.

You may very well have great photos of your kids, of your favourite sports or of places you’ve visited on your travels. I get that.

But, if you’ve decided upon a genre specific portfolio, then those other photos are not to be submitted along with your avian photography.

It’s important to keep focused on the task at hand. Otherwise I’II end up spending value time eliminating these other photos from the mix.

The best thing you can do is to set yourself up for success by making my job easier. That’s an important lesson when dealing with clients or photo editors.

This angel is a beautiful and inspiring example of street art in suburban Melbourne.

The Generalist's Portfolio

Conversely, if you like to photograph a whole range of things and you want your portfolio to reflect that diversity of style, then that diversity should be reflected in the images you submit.

In that case you could submit your best 30 images, regardless of the range of genres involved.

It’s then my job to tell you which images I think should be removed from the mix and in what order the rest should be sequenced.

It’s usually a very difficult task to sequence images from different genres into the one portfolio. But I’ve done it many times before and, if that’s the kind of portfolio you want to present, I’m more than happy to help you put it together.

Please Note:

While I’m happy to accept images from different genres it’s fair to say that, even for a photography generalist, the genre specific (e.g., sports) approach is usually the best.

Perhaps you could submit your best 30 landscape images. With what you learn you may be able to repeat the process on your own with, for example, your best portrait photos.

This approach would allow you to post a variety of different portfolios on your website, blog or social media platforms.

The lush and verdant Tegalalang rice terrace near the town of Ubud on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

How to Submit Your Images For Feedback

Once the session has been booked and paid for I’II send you a link to a special folder, with your name on it, that I’II create for you on either Google Drive or Dropbox.

You won’t even need a paid account with Google or Dropbox to upload copies of your photos in this way. The process is free.

I’II accept either full resolution JPEGs or, for faster upload and download speeds, you might prefer to send copies of the images (but only if it’s easy for you to do so) as follows:

Landscape Orientation: 2,500 pixels for the longest edge

Portrait Orientation: 1,000 pixels for the shortest edge

PPI/DPI: 72

What I can't accept is large layered Photoshop files. If you work in Photoshop please make sure your files are flattened and saved in JPEG (i.e., .jpg) format prior to sending them to me.

Ice crystals on a tree showcase the delicate beauty of nature on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain), China.

This Is What I’II Do For You

My first job will be to quickly and efficiently reduce your selection of up to 30 images down to a number something like 12 to 15 images.

I’II then make suggestions as to how to organize (i.e., order) this reduced selection of images to produce a superior presentation.

Once the final selection and sequencing has been achieved I’II discuss what it is I believe you’re doing well, what you can work on into the future and, ultimately, what your work is really about.

You see the key to receiving meaningful feedback is to first assemble a portfolio that showcases your photography in a cohesive and harmonious way. That’s why steps 1 and 2 have to precede step 3.

 

Session Duration - 60 Minutes

This very special portfolio building and feedback session is conducted over a 60 minute (approx.) time frame.

The session will be recorded and I’II send you a link to watch it. I’II make sure that link is available to you for 3 months after the session’s original recording date.

That will give you plenty of opportunities to rewatch the video, absorb the feedback provided and learn the sequencing process I’II demonstrate.

Cost Of Your Portfolio Building And Feedback Session

The cost of this 60 minute (approx.) Portfolio Building and Feedback session is USD $50, payable in advance, via the following link.

You’ll find your Portfolio Building and Feedback session to be very rewarding and highly informative. I hope it's just what you need to advance your photography to the next level.

If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Me directly. And if you like what I'm offering please use the social media icons on this page to share this post widely and wildly.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru