I usually look back at my old photography portfolio layout and always revise what new I could bring to it.
When I started my photography journey I used to send out my portfolios wherever without further inspection on the magazine/ submission I was applying for let alone deciding on images that would actually be a good fit.
I like to use 3-5 projects in my portfolios, varying them based on the focus of my application.
Do think about the clarity you want to communicate to the viewer; most magazines only have couple of minutes time to go through the endless amount of portfolios, so make sure yours stands out with the layout you build. Less is also more in this case!
In this article I’m working with Photoshop, which I use for almost any creative purposes.
When you are applying to submissions with your art you always need to consider what is the overall themes the magazine is working with. Look honestly at your photographs and examine if your work would fit there. The same goes with brands you want to work with. Do you match with aesthetics and can you deliver quality photographs to them ? When you can answer yourself and determine where it is you’re at with your skills and knowledge, you can start to develop it further.
There are tons of photographers that might state they are better just because they have been photographing for 20+ years. Do not fall for this, people can learn photography in short period of time and sometimes the years of experience does not bring development to the expertise.
In this article I will take you step by step in putting your photography portfolio layout together. I will cover portfolios with mostly contemporary photography and you will have examples on different subjects you are working with.
Example 1: Lia Darjes – still life documentation
I wanted to have Lia as an example to show how to layout dark images with mostly still life. She does have the balance of documenting people behind these compositions too. Adding only one image on a page will emphasize the that work more.
The series I chose for this was Tempora Morte, you can find the whole series here.
As you can see, I chose 5 images for this series. There were more, but when adding multiple series when applying for publications or commercial work, you have to narrate what you show.
The first image I chose was a beautiful clash of colors, representing the series as a whole – your first image should communicate what the whole series is about. The last image was also an intriguing and an simple image, giving a different outlook on the still life present in rest of the series.
Example 2: Chelsey Honders – sublime shapes
Chelsey Honders is working with more abstract and composed images in studio setting and nature.
Her images are carefully combined together to merge into one body of work. Find her website here.
Guess I’m just a creature of habit, adding 5 images again. I feel maximum of 5 images should accurately represent your work and the series. And knowing how to edit your series is a must thing to learn as a photographer.
Color is a vital element in photography series; and not having it will also play a big role in how you arrange the images. I chose the images which felt interesting enough for me and worked in this combination; there are no definite selections ever made, but you do need to know why you choose the images you do.
Remember to add the name of your series and a small description if necessary. At times a bio or an artist statement is required.
To learn more about Adobe Photoshop, click here.
If you liked this article, you might like How To Write Your Artist Bio.
Informative tips about creating portfolio for photography. I will definitely consider most of this and apply this on my portfolio.
Sonya Mantere says
Hi aanova. Great to hear you found it helpful. I remember struggling myself not knowing what to include but also how many series or other information. Only found out this all in art school, the information should be available for everyone.
Thanks for showing us how to do right for the portfolio layout. It’s quite comprehensive that people can learn what they are looking for, so you did a good job here. I love the tips you share for two different sets of portfolio such as what to take care of, the importance of the first photo, and the art of layout. I would love to see more examples from you soon. 🙂
Sonya Mantere says
Hi MattLin, I love to hear people finding it helpful ! More examples definitely coming 🙂