essential photography tips
Look for lenses where the zoom control doesnt change the filter orientation
. Rotating a circular polarising filter changes the strength of the polarising effect, making skies deeper or lighter, and changing the amount of reflection they cancel out. If you plan on using such a filter then wherever possible buy lenses where turning the zoom control doesn t simultaneously rotate the end of the lens, and with it the filter, as this will change the effect. If you have no choice, set your zoom first and adjust the effect afterw
Don t forget about white balance
. When using a filter set your the white balance on your camera to the appropriate conditions, rather than auto, to stop the camera compensating for the filter in front of the lens.Make sure you set your white balance manually when using a filter.
Don t rush out to buy a skylight filter
. Putting a clear filter on the front of your lens to protect its surface sounds like a great idea. After all, your lens was an expensive investment. The end of your lens is stronger than you might think, however, and easy to clean if you don t let the dirt build up. Dispensing with a skylight filter will not only save you money, but also avoid the chance of introducing light problems due to increased reflections or the slight reduction in the leve
Cheat s macro mode
. Dedicated macro lenses are expensive, but you can quickly and easily improve your existing lens macro credentials by using screw on magnifiers. They re not a perfect solution as they decrease the level of light coming into the lens, but for occasional work they are very effective, easily sourced and cheap. We bought ours, below, first hand from eBay, where you should expect to bid around ?15 for a set of four screw on filters.If you can t afford
Avoid stacking up too many filters
. It s tempting to add multiple filters to the end of each lens to achieve different results, but bear in mind that although they may look perfectly clear to you, each one reduces the amount of light passing through by a small amount. For the best results, use the smallest number of filters possible.
Choose a manual lens over a powered one
. Some compact interchangeable lens cameras come with a choice of powered or manual zoom. The former is a great lazy option, allowing you to press a button to get the framing you re after, but the latter is often cheaper and almost always quicker to use as it moves at whatever speed you turn it, without being hobbled by the speed of an internal motor. You can also often make finer and more predictable changes when zooming manually than you can with
Shoot slowly zoom quickly At the same time
. If you re shooting a static display, add some interest by turning the zoom control while shooting with a fairly slow shutter speed (you can only do this with a manual zoom, as a powered lens will be locked off when shooting). This works particularly well when shooting cars and other forms of transport as it gives them a sense of motion.Give static subjects added dynamism and excitement by changing the zoom while using a slow shutter speed.
Try a prime lens for more creativity
. Shooting with a fixed focal length a prime lens will make you think more carefully about how you want to frame a subject to tell a particular story. It will often also get you a cleaner, sharper result.
What do the measurements on my lens mean
. Lenses are measured in terms of their focal length, which broadly describes the effect they have on incoming light and the way it is focused on the sensor. A short focal length, such as 24mm, doesn t have a very high level of magnification, so will focus a broad vista on the sensor. A long focal length, such as 240mm, has a high level of magnification, like a telescope, and so will fill the sensor with just the central part of the view.
Understand your lens true dimensions
. Unless you ve paid for a high end dSLR, or a professional camera such as the Leica M9 , your pocket snapper s sensor will almost certainly be smaller than a frame of 35mm film, the standard point of reference against which all focal lengths are measured.The 35mm in a frame s name actually relates to the space between the top and the bottom of the film strip, which as well as the frame itself also contains some border areas and the sprocket holes
Save money by opting for a smaller sensor
. This means you can, technically, save money by opting for a smaller sensor, as you ll be able to buy less powerful lenses to achieve the kind of results you would otherwise only get with a longer, more expensive zoom.
Use zone focusing
. Related to point 6 f/8 and be there if you have a lens with both f stop and focal measurements on the barrel, understanding how they relate to each other can help you take great spontaneous photos with a high degree of confidence.In the image below we ve set our aperture to f/5.6, as indicated by the red line pointing to the 5.6 reading on the lower gauge. We ve then set the range on the yellow gauge to around 1.2 metres by positioning this
Invest in a cheap pair of lights
. If you re doing any kind of indoor photography, invest in a cheap pair of lights. Buy at least a pair, complete with tripod stands and reflectors to direct the light. Opt for continuous light rather than flash units, as they re cheaper, easy to use and great for beginners, as you don t have to take test shots to see how the shadows fall during setup.
Understand colour temperature
. Different colours and levels of light are measured using the Kelvin scale. For the best results, look for studio lights with a temperature of around 5,500K 6,000K to emulate bright daylight. Lights with a lower colour temperature often render a colour caste in your images that will have to be corrected in Photoshop or an alternative image editor.This professional studio bulb maintains a constant colour temperature of 5500K, as specified on the fu
Buy a light box but dont spend more money
. Minimise shadows in your studio lit work by investing in an inexpensive light box. Effectively a five sided cube with gauze sides and top, you position your lights so that they shine through the sides of the box, diffusing the light and softening the shadows. Light boxes usually ship with a felted back cloth that can be attached using Velcro to create an infinite field of view by obscuring the seams of the box.An inexpensive light box makes it ea
Make best use of available light with a sheet of paper
. If you can t afford studio lights, even out harsh contrasts when shooting with natural light by positioning a large sheet of paper or card to reflect the incoming light onto the unlit side of your subject. If shooting people, ask them to hold the card themselves outside of the framed shot. Alternatively, invest in a set of reflectors. You can pick up a new, multi part set with white, silver and gold reflective surfaces for around ?12 on eBay.This
Don t be dictated by the sun
. Using automatic settings to shoot into the sun will throw your subject into silhouette as the camera dials down the exposure to compensate for the bright background. Shooting people with the sun in front of them, meanwhile, solves the silhouette problem but introduces another one: squinting. Solve this by keeping their back to the sun and forcing the flash to fire (switch from it auto to on or forced ) to correct the exposure on your subject
Observe the rule of thirds
. The most aesthetically pleasing images are those in which the subjects are aligned with the one third power points in every frame. Position horizons one third up or down the height of the image, and people one third in from the left or right. Likewise, if you re snapping a frame filling head shot, position the eyes so they re one third down from the top of the frame.Some cameras give you the option of displaying an overlaid grid on the rear LCD t
Exposure and focus come first framing second
. Half pressing the shutter release fixes the focus and exposure settings for the shot you re about to take. Pressing it all the way captures the frame.Use this to your advantage by metering for particular conditions by putting your subject on one of your camera s focus positions and half pressing the shutter to lock its settings then, without releasing the button, recompose the framing to align your subjects on the one third power positions. This
Use your free light meter
. If you don t have a light meter, use your camera s auto mode to gauge the optimum settings, even if you don t want an immaculately exposed result. Examine the shot s settings and then switch to manual mode and replicate them before pushing individual elements shutter speed, sensitivity, aperture and so on to achieve the moody result you re after.Let your camera do the hard work: take a picture in auto mode and use its self selected settings
Get up early stay out late
. Photography is all about painting with light. Light is what gives your pictures contrast, shape and texture, and often the best light it that which appears at either end of the day when the sun is lower in the sky. At these times of day it casts longer, more extreme shadows, which in turn pick out small details, bumps and texture.By shooting early in the morning and late in the afternoon, you ll achieve far more interesting results than you would
Embrace the grey day
. Don t let an overcast day put you off heading out with your camera. The softer light you get on an overcast day is perfect for shooting plants, flowers and foliage as it dampens the contrasts we were championing in our previous step. This allows the camera to achieve a more balanced exposure and really bring out the colours in petals.Overcast days present the perfect conditions for shooting flowers and foliage.
Travel without a tripod
. Packing a tripod when you head off on holiday is a great way to extend the shooting day, allowing you to take some stunning night time shots with streaking lights and illuminated landmarks. If you re pushed for space, though, check out this trick. Balance your camera somewhere sturdy and safe, disable the flash and set a slow shutter speed or two seconds or more.Now set your self timer, fire the shutter release and let go of your camera so that y
Travel without a tripod tip 2
. It s not always possible to find a flat surface on which to perform the previous trick. Try and find a flat surface on some castle battlements and you ll see what we mean. Combat this by packing a small beanbag in your camera bag.Check out school sports and games categories on eBay to find 100g beanbags (a pack of four costs less than ?5), which can be pressed into shape on uneven surfaces, with your camera snugly settled on top. It s more stable
Travel without a tripod tip 3
. Professional tripods use quarter inch screws to fix your camera in place. You can easily source a screw of the same size from a normal hardware store. To avoid travelling with a bulky tripod, drill a hole in a standard bottle top (the type you d find capping a 500ml drinks bottle) and thread the screw through it, fixing it in place using strong glue.Keep this in your camera bag as you travel, but don t bother carrying the rest of the bottle, as t
Banish long arm self portraits
. Self portraits are great for capturing holiday memories, but if you can t find somewhere suitable to balance your camera while also framing the scene behind you, the only way you can take them is to hold your camera at arm s length and press the shutter release. The results are rarely flattering.Invest in a cheap monopod (search eBay for handheld monopod) and use this to hold your camera away from you while keeping your hands in a more natural po
Look at the eyes not around the eyes look at the eyes
. Ever wondered why so many magazines have faces on the cover? It s because we identify with such pictures, which in turn helps us identify with the magazine. Art editors know that our inclination is to connect with the eyes staring out of the cover, and the same is true of your portraits.When shooting a person, if only one part of your image is in focus, make it the eyes. That s the first place your audience will look. So long as they re in focus,
Use burst mode when shooting pets
. Pets are unpredictable, so don t wait for them to pose before shooting. The chances are you ll miss the crucial moment.Don t wait until you ve attracted their attention start shooting while you re trying to do it, as they don t understand the concept of cameras and will move at the worst possible moment. Switch your camera to burst mode and start shooting while you re trying to attract their attention towards the lens for a better chance of ca
Make use of scene modes
. Your camera knows better than you do how to use its own settings to create special effects. Don t be afraid to use its in built scene modes for punchy monochrome or high key effects. If possible, set your camera to save raw and JPEG images side by side so you also have a copy of the original unadulterated scene should you later change your mind.
How to shoot fireworks
. Frequently the most impressive spectacle, fireworks are nonetheless tricky to shoot. For your best chance of capturing a display, set your sensitivity to ISO 100 and compensation to 0EV so that you don t unnecessarily lighten the sky, which you want to keep as black as possible.Mount your camera on a tripod and set your shutter speed to at least 8 seconds. Zoom out so that the fireworks just fill the frame, preferably without being cropped by the
How to shoot moving water
. Short shutter speeds do a good job of capturing a waterfall and its surroundings, but you ll achieve a far more attactive result by slowing things down. To do this without overexposing your image, start by switching out of auto and reducing your camera s sensitivity to its lowest setting (usually around ISO 100 or ISO 80), then either use a neutral density (ND) filter or, if you don t have one or can t fit one to your camera, dial down the exposu
Focus on the details
. When a scene is simply too big to fit in your picture without it getting uncomfortably close to the edge of the frame, focus instead on one of the details that makes it unique. An abstract crop can often have greater impact and give a more original view of a tired, over used view we ve all seen before.Zoomed and cropped: an unusual night time view of the Louvre Pyramid, reflected in the pools that surround it.
You can t shoot speed head on
. You can t properly capture speeding subjects as they come towards or move away from you. If you re shooting track events, position yourself side on to the action so that it passes across your field of view rather than coming towards it. Shooting into a chicane works well on TV where we delight in seeing the cars snake around it in sequence, but fares poorly in static frames.
Focus on the action
. If you really want to convey an impression of speed in your images, pan your lens in line with speeding cars, horses and runners and shoot with a fairly slow shutter speed 1/125 second or below to blur the background. Keeping the subject sharp in the frame while blurring the background gives a more effective impression of speed than static backgrounds and blurred subjects.
Reflect on things
. Do rainy days and Sundays get you down? Don t let them: embrace the photo opportunities afforded by the puddles. The rain is as much a part of the story of your holiday as the food you ate and the sights you saw. Use reflections wherever possible for a different take on otherwise well known scenes.
Dont believe the megapixel myth
. We re glad to see manufacturers are starting to see sense here, with many high end cameras now sporting comparatively modest pixel counts. At the lower end, however, some manufacturers continue to cram 16 megapixels and more on tiny sensors that can t cope with high levels of incoming light. Pay for quality, not quantity, remembering that as few as 10 megapixels is plenty for printing at A3 using online photo printing services.This squirrel was s
Flickr your shopping assistant
. Baffled by numbers and stats? If you can t get your hands on a camera to try before you buy, at least have a look at the shots it produces. Flickr uses the metadata attached to every photo shot by a digital camera to catalogue them by manufacturer and model, allowing you to click through a representative sample of output in its enormous online archive. Find it at flickr.com/cameras.
Don t be a memory cheapskate
. Buy the fastest memory cards you can afford to minimise the time it takes for your camera to write each shot to the media, and how long you ll have to wait before you can take the next shot. Wait too long and you ll miss something.Cards are ranked using a simple class system, where the class number is simply the number of megabytes the card can store per second. So, your camera will be able to write to a Class 4 card at up to 4MBps, and a Class 1
Size really is everything
. Think carefully about how you want to balance the convenience of carrying fewer large cards with the security of travelling with a larger number of lower capacity ones. On the one hand you ll spend less time swapping 16GB cards than 2GB media, but if you lose a single 16GB card, or it corrupts, you could lose all of the shots from your trip.Splitting them across several cards, and locking full cards in your hotel safe so you re only carrying arou
Replace your cards every couple of years
. Memory cards might not have any moving parts, but that doesn t mean they don t wear out. On the contrary they each have a finite life, and every time you write to, delete from or read the card you re bringing it another step closer to the end of that life. If you don t want to risk corrupting your pictures far from home, replace heavily used cards every couple of years.
Break all the rules
. Be truly original. Ignore the rule of thirds. Shoot at high noon. Shoots sports photos at slow shutter speeds for blurred results. Whatever you do, make your pictures stand out from the crowd and relish the results.Notre Dame, obeying the rule of thirds, but otherwise not as we know it.
. The most fundamental element any photographer should understand is aperture. The aperture is the physical opening within your lens that allows light through to the sensor (or film in an older camera). The wider the aperture opening, the more light can pass through, and vice versa.The size of the opening, which is regulated by a series of fins encroaching from the edge of the lens barrel, is measured in so-called f-stops, written f/2.8, f/5.9 and
. Lenses almost always have their maximum aperture setting engraved or stamped on one end of the barrel. On a zoom lens you'll see two measurements, often stated as f/3.5-f/5.9 or similar.Rather than being opposite ends of a single scale these describe the maximum aperture at the wide angle and telephoto (maximum zoom) lens positions respectively. Always buy a lens with the smallest number you can afford in each position.
Avoid using aperture to compensate for poor lighting
. Changing the aperture has a dramatic effect on the amount of light coming into the camera, as we have already said. You'll notice this is the case when shooting landscapes with a narrower aperture (higher numbered f-stop) as your camera will often want to take a longer exposure -- so much so that you may have to use a tripod to avoid motion blur.You should avoid using the aperture scale to compensate for unfavourable lighting, however, as it also
Use a wide aperture for portraits
. Anyone with a cat knows that when they're hunting or playing their irises contract to enlarge the size of their pupils. This has the same effect as widening the aperture in a camera lens: it makes the subject they are focusing on very sharp while causing everything behind and in front of it to blur. We call this a shallow depth of field. This is perfect for portrait photography, as it draws forward your model within the scene, making them the cen
Use a narrow aperture for landscapes
. For landscapes, on the other hand, you want to have everything from close-at-hand foliage to a distant mountain in focus. This is achieved by selecting a narrow aperture. If possible stray towards f/22, or whatever the tightest setting your camera allows.This image of a Moroccan campfire is taken with a narrow aperture to maximise the depth of field.
f/8 and be there
. Static models and immobile landscapes are easy to shoot as you can predict with a great deal of certainty which aperture setting you need to get the best out of either. Reportage and street photography, weddings, Christenings and so on are less predictable as your subjects will be moving in relation to the frame. In these circumstances, adopt the pro photographer's adage, "f/8 and be there".Set your aperture to f/8 for a practical, manageable bal
What does the symbol on my lens mean
. After the focal and aperture ranges, the other measurement you'll see on most dSLR lenses is preceded by ? and describes the diameter of the screw mount on the front of lens barrel. Check this number each time you head out to buy a filter or hood as you can't guarantee that it will be the same for each lens in your collection, even if they are all designed to be used on the same camera.Check the diameter of your lens when heading out to buy a new
If you only buy one filter
. make it a circular polariser. This is the perfect beginner's filter, and one that will have the biggest effect on your day to day photography, giving holiday skies a vibrant blue tone and accentuating the contrast between the sky and passing clouds to afford your images greater texture. Although you can add blue to your images in Photoshop or a similar post-production editing tool, the effect is never as believable when done that way as it is whe
Don t confine it to skies
. Polarising filters also cut through glare and reflection. Use it to shoot through windows and water.We used a polarising filter when shooting this frame to cut through reflections on the surface of the water.
What is a photography portfolio
. A portfolio is a concise collection of your photos created to show people your best work. Its purpose is usually to get a photography gig. Whether you want to do weddings, portraits, commercial jobs, or to work for an environmental group to save a piece of the earth, a portfolio is the tool that shows a customer your capabilities.
Why should you have a photography portfolio
. Youandre standing at a fall festival, watching your kids decorate their pumpkins, and you strike up a conversation with another parent. You find out that this person is an art editor at your favorite magazine and youandd love to do some work for them. You try to convince her that youandre a great photographer but you see her eyes glaze over because sheands heard this a thousand times, and she just wants to watch her kids. You tell stories about
What should be in a photography portfolio
. Some experts say that a portfolio is a printed presentation of your best work until now, showing the breadth of your skills. Some say a portfolio should be tailored to the customer youandre approaching. If your portfolio is a traditional folder of printed photographs, it will be much less dynamic than an online gallery could be. If youandre just starting out, youandll want to add your latest great stuff often, so choose a medium thatands easy to
What kind of pictures should you include in your portfolio
. Pick a theme. Thereands nothing more jarring than seeing a crisp black and white architectural shot next to a soft, dreamy, pastel bridal portrait. If you can do both styles, separate them in your portfolio. A theme could be ?Having fun?, ?Orange?, ?10k Races?, or ?My garden?. The theme can unite otherwise unrelated pictures. Choose a variety of subjects and styles. Include viewpoints that are overview, medium distance, and close.
How many pictures and what should you include in your portfolio
. Hereands the killer: your portfolio should contain only 8 to 12 pictures. Photo buyers are busy people. The worst thing you can do is to swamp them with photos that are redundant. You might be the best rose photographer in the world, but showing 35 pictures of roses will mark you as an amateur. Think first: What are you good at? I am good at landscapes, architecture, and flowers, and I can come up with a few decent people pictures. My portfolio w
How do you get images for a portfolio
. Shoot free and shoot cheap. Many of the images in a wedding portfolio are still life pictures that can be created without a wedding. Get some flowers and practice macro photography. Shoot your own wedding ring. Create evocative portraits of family members and friends. Practice using different styles photojournalism, romantic, fun. Photograph local buildings to illustrate that you can do architecture. I recently viewed the website of a photograp
Who will look at your portfolio
. Well, no one. Portfolios donandt go out and find people. The fact that you have created a stunning showcase of your work wonandt bring in one customer. You can create keywords or tags, title your images to maximize web search results, and tell all your friends to go look at your new site. But finding people to look at your portfolio is your next job. Print some business cards and go network with buyers. Develop an e mail list and send monthly new
Donandts for Photography Portfolios
. Donandt include redundant images. If you have only rose pictures, you may not be ready to work with a paying customer. Or find a gardening magazine and take some pictures of gardening tools, gloves, and an overview of its design to give your collection some variety. Donandt get bogged down trying to find your 8 best images of all time. You can re do it next year. Donandt wait until you have the ultimate portfolio. If youandre reading this, you ne
How to Create a Photography Portfolio
. Photographers develop their art and their craft to create outstanding photographs worthy of capturing a share of a lucrative market. Photographers will benefit by learning how to create a photography portfolio in order to market their work. Dedicated photographers often have a collection of photographs before they contemplate entering the commercial market, and this collection is a great starting place.
Examine the work of the great photographers at the local library
. Ansel Adams and Eugene Smith produced dissimilar images using similar skills and techniques. Their portfolios are accessible and educational. Adams focused on landscapes while Smith was a photojournalist, but their collections contain commercial quality images, which are inspirational and instructive. Check out the work of photographers currently producing commercial quality images. Adams and Smith produced their work years ago, but the most rece
Define the purpose of your portfolio and study how to create a photography portfolio for that purpose
. Photographers might choose to assemble their work in a portfolio to share with friends and family, while another photographer plans to use the photographs as the sole means of support.
Choose an appropriate carrier for the portfolio that can be assembled in a myriad of methods
. A bound book of selected works is a possibility as is a collection posted on a website. The target audience is the important consideration when choosing a carrier for the portfolio. Traditional artists may prefer printed images, while others might prefer the convenience of a website. Decide on the target audiences before you start if possible. This may save you time and money. Multiple portfolios will require multiple prints. Photographs are easi
Assemble existent photographs in the chosen format and take stock of your product
. Assemble existent photographs in the chosen format and take stock of your product.
Photograph the subjects that are necessary for addition to existent collection to possess a great portfolio
. Choose the perfect number of photographs for inclusion in your portfolio. Make sure that the work prepared for presentation is an outstanding showcase of your skill as an artist and a craftsman. A limited number of photographs may not show the depth of your talent, while too many photographs might distract from the best of your collection.
Polish the material gathered into an excellent presentation as opposed to one that is good enough
. Decide on steps needed for perfection. Images might need some tweaking for a better print while others might be superior with a better crop. Complete the computer or darkroom work necessary. Work toward perfection before moving to marketing to your target audience.
Display or share the perfected portfolio depending on your objectives
. Market, display or share the perfected portfolio depending on your objectives.
Easy Steps On How To Create A Good Photography Portfolio
. Creating a showcase of photographs is not an easy task and most of the time the photographers have basic or no knowledge of design at all. Moreover, creating such a portfolio in which the images have to be in focus is a tricky task and even the more experienced designers might fail providing a good layout, therefore I thought of sharing with you a list of tips for designing photography portfolios.
Think of your target
. Yes, youandve heard this before so many times and I know it annoys you. It is so simple to just overlook it and why not do it? In the end all of us want as many clients as possible and donandt want to make our audience narrow. Well, I tend not to agree with you, and I would suggest you to think seriously about who you want to work with. A good example is a wedding photographer this page would be totally different from the one of a roadshow
Think of the number of images
. You have to do this because most of the layouts look good with a small number of pictures uploaded, but how will it look when you will have an odd number of pictures to show? There needs to be a balance between the number of pictures on the page and the negative space you leave between or around them. If you have many pictures, consider using pagination or categories to separate them and do it for the sake of the user. Donandt forget that they
Make the images stand out
. When I say this, I usually mean keeping a high contrast between the pictures and the background; and I usually recommend having black as background, because there is most of the time more contrast than when viewing the showcase on white. This tip is good for bringing out the contrast of the photos and it is also a good idea to try to look at the pictures on different backgrounds, so that you make the best out of them.
Consider the quality
. When I visit a photography portfolio or even a showcase, I expect all the time to be able to see the pictures in full size if I click on them and it would better be huge. I want the pictures to look good and fit my screen if I would like to have it as a desktop background. And not only about this but if I want to see all the details, I canandt do it properly on a small picture. To avoid keeping the visitors wait too much, have two versions
. According to official statistics, less than 1% of the internet users have 800?600 displays. However, this does not mean 800?600 is the smallest resolution you have to design for think of mobile devices as well. It is not highly probable that a potential client will want to use his bandwidth with your pictures, but what if they are on a wireless connection? This means you have to think about all the possible resolutions.
Show only the best work
. This is also for the web designers, not only for photographers. It is always good to make a point fast and then let the visitor make a decision the World is moving fast and we donandt have time to view all the crap work people have done. Therefore only show the top notch work and let the potential client move on, if he wants to. Donandt keep him tight he will leave without seeing every piece of your work anyway. Is is also a good idea to o
Describe the photos
. When potential clients look at pictures, they want to know who it is they are looking at. They might also want to hire one of the models, which is not a bad thing either. Write short notes about each one of your pictures and let the client know what is he looking at. It is also much more important to give each picture a short description than a title. Naming the tools youandve used for shooting and post processing might be a good idea too.
Emphasize the contact information
. Sure, the most important thing is to show your work, but how does this help if you do not get clients? It is important to lead the visitor to your contact page if possible, otherwise always make it clear that he can contact you right away. Having the e mail address in the footer might work too, but it depends a lot on your layout. It is entirely your decision which information you give out, but I would also show them I am present and active on so
Ask for feedback
. I never release a website before asking for feedback it is just in the manual. Always ask the others experts or not about their opinion on how your site looks. It is really important to know what the others think, especially because after hours and hours of looking and analyzing your portfolio, you do not notice the small details anymore and this is crucial. Never release a website before asking people for opinions.
Keep it dynamic
. By this I mean that you have to keep your portfolio updated. It is not difficult to do this anymore thanks to the bunch of tools we have at our disposal. Nobody wants to see a good photographer not uploading his latest work and potential clients do not enjoy this for sure. Never replace old strong images with bad ones. Donandt forget about tip 6, showing only the best work.
What Is It For
. A portfolio is an opportunity for you to present your work, but it is important to consider what the portfolio is for. Are you taking it to a job interview, or are you looking to get your work exhibited at a gallery? Maybe you just want to bring your work together to present it? Whatever the reason, it is vital that you create your portfolio with this in mind. A job interview might require you to display a variety of skills and techniques, where
. Once youve decided your intentions for your portfolio, you need to consider the audience youre looking to reach. Try to consider what reaction you want to evoke do you want them to be pleased, surprised, shocked? Not everyone is going to want to see your favourite landscape shot or generic shots that they see day in day out, so do you best to make your shots stand out and get the reaction you want.
Paper vs Digital
. At this point you need to decide what format you portfolio is presented in. In the past, everything was on paper, but technology has introduced the option of presenting your portfolio on a PDF, JPEGs or through an online medium. Being able to email a link to your portfolio through to potential employers is obviously extremely convenient. I would argue that the process and final product of a beautifully printed out paper portfolio far outweighs t
Style and Design
. Its now time to consider the style and design of your portfolio. Youll need a folder or portfolio case to hold it all in, but before you head out to buy something, consider what size your want your printed out shots to be. I would recommend something fairly large maybe 20x30cm or about A4. You then need to select the paper to print on and the print quality, preferably as high as you can afford. This said, remember there are no restrictions on
. Next youll want to consider what theme or style you want your portfolio to have. This will depend upon your audience. For a job taking portraits, you should only include your portrait work. You could have a collection of black and white or sepia work, a set of shots taken with a specific camera format or a collection of shots from a specific time period or geographical region. If you are looking to mix up types and styles of shots, make sure you
Choosing the Shots
. The most difficult part of creating a portfolio is selecting the shots. Theres always a huge temptation to just select your favourites, but a photographer isnt always the best judge of their own work as they take into consideration the setting, effort and editing taken to create the shot. Try to get some help from someone whose judgement you trust and will be impartial. Id suggest aiming to end up with a set of 20 30 shots, but start with maybe
. The presentation of the shots is vital to the reaction from viewers. A badly presented collection of great photographs just wont do them justice and youll come away disappointed. Think carefully about how to enhance the images through presentation techniques, borders and the colour of the backing sheet. Its also important to consider the order of the shots, whether they are arranged chronologically or to create a particular mood. When choosing a
. Once youve got the shot layout sorted, you need to consider what other elements you might want to include in your portfolio. Its totally up to you, but things to consider are. An artistic statement outlining your concept or theme and personal information A list of shots included Titles for shots and a brief explanation Date location of shot A thumbnail contact sheet You may feel that you want the shots to do all the talking, or it might be nec
What Do I Do Now
. Try not to be tempted to add to your portfolio once its finished. Youll always take better shots in the future, but Id suggest that a portfolio is a collection of what youve done, and adding to it will spoil the continuity and thought that youve put into collating it. Now its time to show your portfolio to the world. Share it with family and friends and get some feedback, which may give you a chance to practice talking about your work in prepara
Consider Your Target Demographic
. Your portfolio needs to reflect your target demographic, whether it is a couple looking for a wedding shoot, or an agency looking for a commercial shoot. If your portfolio gives off the wrong image, you wont attract any of the clients you want. Think of a wedding photographers portfolio, typically white, clean, and easy to use. This is suited towards the target demographic of a wedding photographer: typically younger couples sometimes females ar
Sketch Out a Layout
. Sketching out a layout before you even touch the mouse is a common practice amongst web designers, and it should be no different for your portfolio. The reason why I found sketching to be helpful is so that I dont lose focus of what my intentions are. If we think back to Tip 1, we want our portfolio to be targeted specifically to our demographic. This includes colors, layout, navigation, icons, typography, everything. If you sketch out your idea
Add Support for Dynamic Content
. When sketching your site, remember to add support for dynamic content. Imagine you decide you want to pull your Flickr feed to your portfolio. Well sure it looks good when theres 12 photos, but what about when theres 21 or 36? How will your portfolio look with an odd number of images compared to an even number, like you sketched it out to look like? These are the type of questions you have to ask yourself as you sketch out your layout. How can I
Try to Keep the Contrast High
. Depending on the style of photography, images usually look a lot better when you view them on a black background. This is typically because there is more contrast than when viewing against white. Contrast helps bring out the colors of the photo, which in turn, makes the image appear more vivid and stunning. If you do any type of sports, commercial, HDR, nature or portrait photography, try viewing your work on black and then on white and see which
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, s
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 fi
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 wi
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 wo
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 th
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 too
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 h
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
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
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 g
Dont Forget to Update
. Its currently 2011, and the technology we possess is sophisticated enough for anyone, and I mean anyone, to own and maintain a dynamic portfolio. Regardless of if you manage your portfolio with WordPress, or a Flash system or still stuck in static HTML, you should be updating your content. Users are used to seeing new content each and every time they visit a website. Weve grown out of seeing the same old stuff on every visit. This is the same fo
Shoot for free
. This is completely obvious, so if you havenandt thought of it, please knock yourself in the head with a hockey stick compliments of yours truly. When youandre working to build your portfolio, you need subjects to shoot. Chances are pretty good that youandre working to build said portfolio in hopes that you will be able to get more clients, meaning simply that you donandt necessarily have subjects knocking down your door at this point. So offer yo
Charge a minimal fee
. Once youandve started to get a little buzz around your work with all the probono jazz, start to charge a minimal fee. Youandll get to the point where youandre drowning in shoots because you are the right price.$0, and that is how youandll know itands time to charge. Be prepared to feel slightly uncomfortable at first accepting money for your services. I had an exceptionally hard time with this for a million reasons. Just remind yourself that youa
Do a hard edit
. Always, always, always edit down. This is the mistake I used to make. Iandd shoot like a bat outa hell, determined to get at least a handful of great shots from each sitting, then Iandd deliver nearly all the images to my client on a disk. Thus the hideoderous image framed on my friendands wall. The image was poorly lit, poorly composed and just plain YUCK. Itands an image that never should have seen the world beyond my computer. Remember that o
Keep files well organized
. Iandm a mom with 3 small boys yes, I had my third child a month after my first turned 3.you do the math, but no matter how you add it up it equals crazy. When youandve got kids to bathe, meals to prepare, homework to check, laundry to tackle, errands to run and clients to shoot, you have to work very hard to keep things in order. A fail proof system Iandve found for organizing my portfolio goes as follows: from each shoot, pull the images that y
Get an experts opinion then be prepared to throw it out
. Itands good to get another respected photographerands opinion for 2 reasons. 1. They can help you improve by telling you where your images may fall short. 2. They can help you gain confidence because they may see things in certain images that you did not. They may love what you didnandt allow yourself to for whatever reason. It goes back to that whole ?we are our own worst critic? thing. Be prepared for the criticism, and be prepared to process i
What are some of the most common mistakes people make when putting together a portfolio
. The single most common mistake is including multiple images that are too similar images that were clearly shot at the same time and only slightly different. That is a very negative indicator of a photographers ability or willingness to evaluate their own work. Just as common is loading the front of the book with decent work, and padding the back of the book with mediocre work. Changing formats vertical horizontal and sizes is another faux pas.
What makes an image worthy of being in a portfolio
. Unless every person who sees it goes WOW, without needing to elaborate, it should not go into your portfolio. Unless it is consistent with the primary body of work for which you want to get hired, it should not go into your portfolio. Unless it is technically executed at a professional level of mastery, it should not go into your portfolio unless a deliberately rough style is something that you have been doing and exhibiting deliberately and co
Should you keep several different portfolios tailored to specific purposes
. One of the most common business mistakes is trying to show the world that you are a competent photographer. That will not help you; it is a given that anyone worthy of being hired to shoot professionally is competent. What you must excel at communicating with every tweet, image, Facebook post, newsletter, meeting, exhibition, and tear sheet is what makes you unique and different from every other perfectly competent photographer with a 20+ megapix
How often should your books be updated
. Not every day; as often as it takes to land the job. How often is not really the critical question; Is everything thats in my book consistent with my style, strong as individual images, and adding to the quality of the body of work as a whole? is a better question. Eliminate the weak images without mercy. Meanwhile, keep shooting, but beware nursing a limping project to death. Bringing a project to a close is as important as starting one. Explore
How important is a strong ending
. Do not put weak images in the back of the book, ever. Leave us with the memory of a great image; do not make us turn back to the cover image because the last image cast so much doubt on your whole portfolio that we suddenly feel like we were wrong to be optimistic based on the front of your book. What is the appropriate size for a portfolio? How much does it vary depending on purpose? Not so huge that handling it is a back breaker, but big enoug
What are the benefits of a print portfolio vs a digital one
. Every editor I know still says that the print is the final product of photography, and Ive heard most have them mumble something like If I see one more iPad portfolio, Im gonna throttle someone Electronic images and the internet are convenient, but to some, they are not beautiful. They are not organic, and you cant touch and hold them and put them on your shelf because you love the cool little Chinese puzzle box that unfolds like a treasure on y