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You may or may not be aware of something that is called a photography portfolio.

I personally believe they are one of the best ways to get your photography curated and displayed in one place.

They are handy for personal use, college/university applications, competitions and for gaining clients.

This article will guide you through why you should have a portfolio and how you should go about it.

What is a Photography Portfolio?

Put simply, a portfolio is a collection of images.

It is formed by a specific set of images that you choose.

It is mainly used to represent your personal photographic focus as well as the type of photography you would like to get into in the future.

You can create just one portfolio or multiple if you wish. For example, you could have 3 portfolios. One for your portraits, another for your urban photography and a third for your night photography.

What format you use to show off your work is up to you, too.

Here are a few quick examples of some of the ways you can display your photography portfolio:

  • On Instagram (create an account and build up a following)
  • In an Album (get an album custom-made and fill it up with your fave photos)
  • On a website (Squarespace is a great place to get a domain name and the website designer is intuitive)
  • In a magazine (get your work published in another magazine, this also gets your photography exposure towards a new audience)

Again, you can display it however you like. The challenge is deciding what photos to put in and why.

I would suggest you either create a portfolio based on your favourite photos or some photos that revolve around a certain theme. This way there is a sense of purpose around your portfolio and it can be a great way to keep your pictures organised and in one place.

Again, these are just some quick ideas on how to organise your portfolio and what to put in them. Next up I will be explaining why you should have one and when you may be asked to produce a portfolio for your photography.

Why Should I Start a Photography Portfolio?

photos on table with notebook

As mentioned before, photography portfolios are amazing and they can be a great way to show off what you’re made of.

Firstly, they help to build your basic creativity skills. This is because you will learn how to shoot and compose images based on a certain goal.

One example of this would be if you were creating a portfolio based on pictures of your hometown. You will build up the skills to identify what images you need to take to add to your portfolio, thus saving you time.

Secondly, the can help you to really show off what you’re made of. Without making a portfolio, many of your digital photos would be consigned to the back of your hard drive, never to be seen again. Creating a Portfolio means you will need to look through all your old photos and sift through them. This will re-jig your memory and you will be exposed to

This will allow you to be critical of your work and really choose the photos that you believe best represent the portfolio and your end goal.

You may also come across a time where you need to submit a portfolio for a competition or an application. Some examples of this include:

  • For a photography/media-related job: You may need to submit a portfolio showing off your skills and what type of photography you are capable of shooting. This is so that the employer can see that you are skilled enough and able to do the job
  • For a University/College Application: This is common for college applications for A-Levels (college is 16-18 yrs old in the UK) and it is to ensure that you are passionate about photography and that you have the basic skills needed to succeed. This shows to Universities that you will be the right fit for the course.
  • For a Photography Competition: While some competitions only require you to submit a photo or two, others may ask for you to work towards a greater project. And what greater way to do this than with a professional-looking portfolio. This will get your work exposed to a new audience.

Ok, so now you understand the importance of a portfolio and how it can help you out in loads of different situations. But how do I go about making one, you may ask?

Well, here are some quick tips to help you get started in the process of creating your own photography portfolio.

How do I Create a Photography Portfolio?

photobook out of box

Getting started with any project can be a struggle. It feels like you open up a blank page and you are overwhelmed. It is important to have some goals set out before you start your portfolio. This way you understand what you are doing and you know how to get there. Some goals you could set yourself include:

  • To shoot 25 images before you start your portfolio
  • To research the topic you are creating a portfolio on. This way you can caption your photos better and this will add some history and background knowledge to each individual photo.
  • Get some feedback. Get a friend or family member to check over your photos and see what they think
  • To finish the portfolio by a certain date. This date could be used as a deadline and you can plan your time around this with your deadline in mind.

Overall, it is important to set some goals and work towards your portfolio. As this article has explained, a portfolio can be very helpful and it will serve you well as a creative. Even for personal purposes, it can be a source of inspiration and a way of preserving memories you can look back on time and time again.

It is also important to decide on what format you will build your portfolio. Using a physical album is a great way to do this and it is far easier to keep all your photos in one place while using this format.

The other piece of advice I would give is to stop delaying and take action as quick as you can. You can do hours of planning and procrastinate but the best thing you can do is to just get out there and start shooting. Then take your best photos, pop them in your portfolio and you are good to go.

I hope this article helped you to start thinking about your own portfolio. Let me know in the comments what you have learned from this article. Feel free to ask me any questions if you need any help!


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Joel Oughton is the Creator of Photoaspire. He likes to write about anything photography related and is more than happy to help out others with any photography-related issues

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