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Presenting a stunning photography portfolio is an essential part of securing work as a professional photographer. So why not start early, and make it a fun and easy exercise by doing it the right way? There are many different criteria to consider, and each one makes a big difference to how your work will be received.
Let’s take a look at some of the main things you should keep in mind when it comes to building a photography portfolio to represent yourself.
Be True To Yourself
Lots of people try to compromise both their artistic and creative integrity when it comes to building up a photography portfolio because they want to try and be seen as suitable for a certain type of work, or fit into a certain creative scene. This never ends well. You need to be true to who you are, and allow your authenticity to come through in the photos that you take.
By creating work that captures your own personality as well as what’s within the frame, you’ll resonate with your natural audience and attract the right kind of opportunities and clients.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Yes, practice still makes perfect. When it comes to building a photography portfolio, it’s very important not just that you practice, but also that you compare your work to what you’ve done before, perhaps even repeating some shoots with new ideas.
This process of iteration and review helps your photography improve rapidly while keeping a range of work represented in your personal showcase. If you want to see a real journey of growth, take photos and document everything the whole way through. These records might even become valuable assets themselves later in your career.
Share to succeed
Building up a volume of photography is always good, but don’t forget about the people you’ll be working alongside or drawing inspiration from. Networking is a great way to meet up with other creatives and form meaningful relationships that you can use to secure work or solve problems in the future, and when you meet those people, your portfolio needs to be available in the right format at the right time.
Personal websites, social media platforms, and dedicated portfolio sites like ‘Behance’ are great ways to make your portfolio available through the click of a link or, by scanning a QR code that can be combined with physical mediums like business cards or flyers for a double whammy.
Learn to Love Feedback
Lots of people are averse to the idea of getting feedback or even constructive criticism for their photos, but this is essential if you want to find ways you can improve your portfolio.
Once you’ve shared your portfolio, don’t forget to follow up, even if you don’t get the acceptance onto a course or employment you were hoping for. If you ask people what they thought of the photos, and they give you an honest answer, then you can use that and start to develop your photography skills in the right areas to improve your chances. Using this feedback to improve yourself will give you a huge advantage compared to somebody who is averse to being criticised.
Find Time to Experiment
Experimentation is a great way to let your imagination come through in a photography portfolio, and it’s the perfect time to really push the boat out when you’re first building a body of work. It’s often the case that people check a portfolio looking for a specific type of photo, but sometimes they might be looking for the photographer to provide the inspiration themselves. If you experiment and take photos of different kinds, then you can highlight your versatility and increase the chances that you’ll spark an idea they like with your work.
So, when it comes to things like building a photography portfolio, it’s important to make sure that you practice, experiment outside of your comfort zone from time-to-time, and listen to the feedback of those you share your work with, documenting that entire journey the whole time.
Building a photography portfolio is often a lifelong thing, and you may not be finished even as you reach the peak of your ability. That’s good, because it gives you something else to aim for, just keep adding photos.
If you’re ready to make this a serious career then the BA (Hons) Photography course at the University of Bolton is a great choice, offering courses in traditional and fashion photography that will prepare your portfolio for professional roles in a wide range of specialist areas.
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