tips for portfolio photography

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Tips for Portfolio Photography

How to quickly and easily build a photography portfolio that will take you from hobbyist.
41. Only Use High Resolution Images
When a potential client goes to your view your portfolio, they expect to see high resolution, professional looking images. So give them that Dont display full size images at 300px by 300px. The viewer is there to see your work at its greatest quality, not a low quality optimized for bandwidth. When you consider your target demographic, chances are high that they are located near you. By now, most of us have high speed cable or DSL connections, so utilize them.
Provide high resolution images for your clients and in return they may have to wait a couple seconds longer. If theyre that impatient that they wont wait for your portfolio to load the best quality possible, then personally speaking, theyre too impatient to be my client.
42. Use a Large Viewing Area
Now that youre using high resolution images, why not use a large viewing area as well? W3Schools reports that in January of 2011, 0.6% of users were still using a display resolution of 800 x 600. That means, if you want to cover all your bases, design your portfolio to fit into those dimensions. That way, users who are above 800 x 600 can still easily access your portfolio. For users on tablets and smart phones you can resize your portfolio to fit their device.
A trending topic the past couple months in the web design world is Responsive Web Design; responding to your users. Have your site adjust its layout if a user has a resolution smaller than normal. If a user has a larger screen, try making your layout adapt by loading in larger images. By using Responsive Web Design in your portfolio, you can achieve an overall greater user satisfaction. Nothing is worse than viewing a site on your iMac, only to have it fail on your iPhone the next morning on the train ride to work.
43. Narrow Down Your Choices of Images
Although you may have a large collection of images you wish to share in your portfolio, try to limit your selection to the stronger pieces. Too many images in your portfolio can increase load times, and provide the viewer with too many options. It can make your portfolio feel like it is dragging on and on.
If you limit your selection, the viewer sees only the strongest of images, and if they are interested in seeing more, they can get in touch with you. Limiting your selection also makes your portfolio seem more defined and structured. If you want to publish a large collection of all your photos, use services such as Flickr, and 500px.
44. Strategically Order Your Photos
When tasked with writing a literal essay, you organize your points in strategic order. You put the strongest points at either the beginning or the end of the essay and the leave the weaker points in the middle. By placing the strongest points at the beginning, you instantly draw in the viewer and grab their attention. By placing the stronger points at the end of the essay, you end on a high note, leaving the viewer with some strong points they wont forget.
Its the same with your photography portfolio. If you place your strongest images at either the beginning or end of the portfolio, you will hit the viewer the hardest. I recommend using both ends of the spectrum, grab their attention right from the beginning and leave them something to remember at the end of the portfolio.
45. Protect Your Work
With todays technology, no matter how hard you try to protect your images, somebody, somewhere, can steal a copy. You can try disabling right click, or put all your images as background images, and hope your users arent tech capable; but that will never work.
The only way to truly protect your photos is to embed watermarks on them. By embedding watermarks into the jpgs, if thieves steal your work, the watermark will always be there. The larger the watermark, the harder it will be to get rid of it.
46. Provide Details with Each Photo
Viewers like to know whom you shot for and who they are looking at. They could be really interested in your fashion photography and theyd love to hire you and one of the models youve shot before to work together again.
If you find it adequate to provide a little information about each photo, go for it You dont have to give every piece a title, but a one sentence description of who the company you shot for is or who the model is or maybe what tools you used or even the location of the shot.
Every little bit counts and the more work you put into your portfolio the more passionate the potential client will see you as.
47. Rethink Your Navigation
When searching the web to find examples of photography portfolios, I often found sites that included thumbnails of each image and next prev arrows to navigate forward and backward in the gallery. What I didnt find often, but came across more than I had expected was keyboard navigation, in addition to thumbnails and next prev arrows.
The easier your site is for your viewer to navigate and get around, the happier they will be using your site. The happier they are using your site, the more positive feelings they will produce while looking over your work. The same works in the opposite direction, dont forget. If your site is too hard to use, your users will be easily turned off and will produce more negative feelings towards your work.
48. Try to Limit Scrolling
This tip contradicts tip 6, where I advised in using a large viewing area for your photos. The key is to either
Find a balance between small screen vs large screen, or Use image resizing technology or use multiple sizes of the same image, depending on the viewers screen resolution.
Its usually a good idea if you can limit the users scrolling, no matter what device resolution they are using. Adapt for smaller screens by rearranging the layout of the site, or maybe making thumbnails a different size.
As I mentioned in tip 6, 800 x 600 is still the smallest resolution you should cover if youre worried about every possible user. Try designing for that resolution, with no scrolling and then enhance the design and layout for larger screens and resolutions.
49. Make it Easy for Your Users to Contact You
Regardless of how good your work is, if your viewer cant get in touch with you, youre not getting any work. Its really simple for you to add contact details to your site. Whether its a contact page, a phone number on every page, or an email address in the footer, finding your contact information should be a breeze for your users.
You can put whatever you want for your contact details, just make sure that whatever you do put, is correct. A simple phone number will do, although if a potential client isnt fond of the telephone, it may be better if they knew your email address as well. Remember to think about all your users before you make any final decisions.
50. Get a Second Opinion
Youve just spent a week designing your new portfolio and another week coding it. You launch your new site and announce it to the world only to receive a handful of negative feedback about the usability of your site. It turns out the site doesnt look too hot on 13 MacBooks because the resolution is nowhere near the resolution of your 27 iMac.
Oops Looks like you should have done some testing. Not only that, but a second opinion would have been great as well Getting someone knowledgeable in the industry to double check your new portfolio for you is never a bad idea. They can provide a second insight into areas you may have skimmed over, and point out any obvious bugs youre not seeing.
With saying that though, make sure you pick and choose your second opinion wisely. Try to stay away from family and friends, not only because their opinion may be biased, but also because they may not know enough about the industry to give you a proper opinion.


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