Yeah I know when I do a portfolio review I always tell people to bring their portfolio down to just a few shots, often maybe 10-20% of what they are showing now, but when I looked at my own online portfolio….. well it was a bit too big I guess. There are a lot of excuses of course, like
oh but I really love that shot
oh but everybody loves that shot
hummmm I just love the tinting in that one
So after my trips from November and seeing the fact that a lot of things will change for us in 2013 (all good by the way) I thought it was time to start cleaning house in my portfolio….. and that was hard. In total I had over 900 images online ranging from fashion work to street photography and some sports. And don’t get me wrong I love sports but that category is gone, and trust me I love live concerts but also that one is gone. Those images can still be found on my blog of course and I will keep updating those with those shots but what is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a place where a client can very quickly see what you as a photographer can do.
When building a portfolio you have to realize a few things:
1. What do I want my client to see
Do I really want a fashion client to see that I can also shoot some motocross?
Well I think no, because you will very soon be labeled as an all-round photographer still looking for what he/she likes, remember the client ONLY sees your online images.
2. Do I really want everyone to see all my travel shots
I love travel photography and I love looking through those images, but is it really what I want to have in my portfolio? I think it’s better to make a downloadable app or book with your best travel shots and offer this to a client or follower that really likes your travel photography. I did not delete the whole category myself because I still think it’s a vital part of my work, and who knows…
3. How many portraits do you need online
My portrait section was nice and relative not larger than the fashion portfolio, but what I tell you know goes for both. How many shots do you need to show your client that you can make a great portrait, I believe it can be done in 3-4 and add a few more in case your client likes something else, however some people (including me) have over 30 portraits online and let’s be honest it’s your photography a client has to judge and not how many colors of backgrounds you have in your studio. Same goes for the fashion work I had online, I don’t need 100 images to show what I can do….
Now this all sounds incredibly harsh, but trust me it was the only way I could force myself to delete almost 80% of my online portfolio, and YES some images really hurt to delete, but I think the portfolio I have online now is much stronger and will get the point across much easier. Are there images gone that I REALLY REALLY love? yeah I’m afraid so and a lot of them because in my old 900+ portfolio there was actually not much that I did not really like, otherwise it would not be online. However I’ve really streamlined everything down to almost the basics.
In the end I will end up with these categories and a max of 20 images per category, so I still have some room to grow, however I will only upload something if I REALLY love it, and at first I will force myself to delete at least one image if I want to upload 2, so in other words it will be very hard. But in the end I think it will work out better.
So what has changed?
Well first of all of course the amount of images.
At the moment we have divided everything in a few categories which you can open separately.
Also the logos are gone. Online in the blog I will still use the logos but in the portfolio I think it’s nicer to have the images without logo. Also the resolution has gone up A LOT, the images should now look very nice on the high resolution retina displays or any other monitor, and of course the images scale on lower resolution images. You can start a slideshow and the portfolio now finally looks cool on mobile devices, but one of the more fun parts is the zoom function I think.
On the right side (bottom) you find a small logo which will zoom the images to full resolution and you can scroll through them to see them more clearly. You can find the new portfolio at the portfolio option in the menu or if you want to jump straight to it www.frankdoorhof.com/portfolio
Many thanks to Scott Kelby for giving me that final small push towards this portfolio and RC for helping me find the software to do it the way I wanted it. You guys rock.
Thank you for this post Frank. I have been meaning to weed out some images from my portfolio but have been putting it off. But today is the day!
Done! Thanks again for the push Frank.
that’s quick 😀
I guess I knew deep down which ones to delete all along, Frank. Seeing this post really helped, when you said ‘did I want clients to see I shoot motocross’ it really registered with me. Scott and Matt said something very similar on the Grid this week.
Now to get rid of the logos!
Thank you for sharing all the knowledge you have, it means a lot.
Great idea, I was thinking about it too…. have been working on a new site and was wandering what to show and what not. For the same obvious reasons.
go for it, and let me know 😀
My New Years Task is to sort out all my photos, a late Father Christmas present is photoshop :0)
That gallery system with the zooming and all is cool, is it some “readymade” solution everyone can get, and if yes, what is it?
It’s a HTML5 template if you mail me I can give you some more information.