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What Is a Portfolio? How to Show Your Photographs Professionally

Read Time: 5 mins

In this lesson, the first in a series from Chamira Young's course about making portfolios, you will learn what a photography portfolio is, about the four main portfolio types and their different purposes, and how to get started on making your own.

What is a Photographer's Portfolio?

A photographer's portfolios is a collection of your past work, presented in digital or printed format, that represents your photographic focus or the type of work that you want to create in the future.

A portfolio therefore can be used as a tool to showcase your work and to demonstrate your talent and area(s) of expertise to your market or audience. Many photographers choose to create more than one portfolio, each suited for different markets or goals. Done well, portfolios are an excellent marketing tool.

What Is a Photographer's Portfolio?What Is a Photographer's Portfolio?What Is a Photographer's Portfolio?

What are the Advantages of Creating a Portfolio?

Even if you don't have a commercial aim for your photography, making a portfolio is worth your while.

  1. A portfolio represents your vision and talent.
  2. It presents you with the opportunity to review your work and identify the very best examples of it.
  3. It collects your best work in one place.
  4. It opens up a dialogue between you and your target market about your work and your mission as an artist.
What are the Advantages of Creating a Portfolio?What are the Advantages of Creating a Portfolio?What are the Advantages of Creating a Portfolio?

What's the Right Type of Portfolio for You?

Choosing the right type of portfolio for your personal goals is one of the most important decisions that you will need to make. Here are the most common forms your portfolio will take. 

Web Portfolio

The web portfolio is essentially your images on a website. The benefits of a web portfolio is that it's always there, and it's also easy to refer people to with a link. Moreover, as a professional, having a web presence today is expected.

When selecting a theme for your website, it's generally recommended that you choose a design that is clean and non-intrusive, so that viewers can focus on your work without distractions.

PDF Portfolio

Next, we have the PDF portfolio, which is a collection of your images in a multi-page PDF. The benefit of a PDF portfolio is that it's easy to send to clients electronically, or refer them to it from your website. 

It's also something that they can take with them. They can download it via email or get it from your site and look it over at their leisure.

Tablet PortfolioTablet PortfolioTablet Portfolio

Tablet Portfolio

The tablet portfolio is a collection of your images on your tablet. The immediate purposes and benefits of a tablet portfolio is that it's portable and doesn't necessarily have to rely on an internet connection. If you're using a portfolio app, you can take it with you to show in person, like to a portfolio review, for example, and even allow the viewer to scroll through the photos at their own pace.

Print Portfolio

And finally, we have the print portfolio. In spite of this being the digital age, a well made printed portfolio can have the greatest impact on viewers. That's because there's nothing like viewing high-quality photos printed on high-quality paper and professionally presented in an elegant box or binder of your choice.

While it can take considerable effort to put together, printed portfolios are classics and very impressive. Examples of print portfolios include handmade books, leather satchels, display cases and archival boxes with prints. But really the sky is the limit.

Next Steps

If your portfolio is for a particular project, or you want to present your work to galleries, an artist statement for your work is a great next step. Writing an artist statement given viewers some context, and an entry-point to talking with you. Here's our guide to writing an artist statement for your photography:

Keep following this course for more on how to make a photography portfolio.

Free Video Courses: Follow Envato Tuts+ on YouTube

Want to get more great tips on everything related to photography? Follow Envato Tuts+ on YouTube and access FREE courses like 'What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses". 

In it Dave Bode will take you on a comprehensive journey through the world of lenses, where you will learn everything about lens focal lengths, aperture, image stabilisation and more, to help you choose the right lens for every situation.


More Resources for Photographers

Here are more top tutorial and resources for Photographers to try from Envato Tuts+:

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