Creating a portfolio pdf – C&C please

unlearndesign

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I know this is a lot to ask on my first post on TPF and I apologize if that is the case or if I have broken any rules.

Now that's out of the way. My goal with this is to pick up a few jobs throughout the year. I am a pretty active hobbyist that, in the past, refused to take any kind of paying job for fear of growing to resent the photo making process. After some prodding, I jumped feet first into a paid wedding in April. Since then I've picked up a handful of paying jobs and realized it wasn't nearly as soul crushing as I thought it would be.

Already have a full-time job in another creative field which has given me the chance to shoot some product photography and "stock" photography (I say "stock" because if I can't find the right image on stock photography site, and circumstances allow, I will shoot something myself and use it). For the purpose of this, I am only interested in photographing people.I am putting together samples of my work to send by way of pdf as a way to pick up a job here and there. Would like your thoughts, even as harsh as they might be, on the photos, the total number of photos/pages(too many/too few), layout, post processing or anything else that might jump out at you. For this purpose I am going to post jpgs of the individual pages instead of attaching a pdf.


Thanks for taking a look.

$GPportfolio_FN3.jpg$GPportfolio_FN33.jpg$GPportfolio_FN34.jpg$GPportfolio_FN35.jpg$GPportfolio_FN36.jpg$GPportfolio_FN37.jpg$GPportfolio_FN38.jpg$GPportfolio_FN39.jpg$GPportfolio_FN310.jpg
 

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tirediron

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Welcome to TPF - no rules against the number of images you post, but if you want meaningful, detailed critique, then four is generally about the most that someone will take the time to really go over. A few thoughts on this group in general (reading L->R, top->bottom).

1. Bin it; too bright background and under-exposed face. 2. Bin it; drool stain on the shirt. 3. too small to tell but the crop on the hands & arms may not be ideal; 4. Bin it. Busy background, awkward arm crop. 5. WHAT is the dog going here? 6. Shooting position too low. 7. Football shoulders, shooting position too low. 8 (group of four). WHERE is the connection? 9. Bin it; under-exposed. 10. Under-exposed. 11. Nice! 12. Bin it; skin too hot, reflections on the glasses. 12 & 13. Football shoulders. 14 (group of 3). Shooting position too high (makes the viewer dominant). The last two on yellow...what?

I think your concept is fine, but your execution needs work. who is your target market? Are you going after head-shots? Family work? Create an individual portfolio for each market and include only your best work. Most of these are okay, but only okay; lots of minor issues such as shooting position, exposure, etc.

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

~John
 
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unlearndesign

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Thanks tirediron. This is exactly why I came here. For quite some time I have been taking pictures purely for my enjoyment and didn't find it necessary to seek out the thoughts and advice of others. This is not the approach that I want to take with the possibility of shooting for someone else. I need to know what bad habits I am falling into, what mistakes I am making and if in the end I like a picture because I am fond of the subject and not because it is a good photo. I went into this a little nervous and kept second guessing myself as to which photos I wanted to show to represent my work, which might have played into the photo dump. I think there are a few I am going to try and save either by going back through the original photos taking notice of shooting position and crop possibilities and maybe doing some adjustments to others in lightroom/photoshop. Thanks again for your help.
 

curtyoungblood

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I assume that when you say "send off by way of PDF" you mean you're going to be emailing (or sending in some other digital form) to potential clients.

This is a bad idea, and sending a PDF of your images to potential clients is going to make you stand out in a bad way. PDFs are designed for pages of text and things that are going to be printed. They're static and difficult to deal with. You need to use something that is going to show off your photography in the best possible light within the digital medium that you're using. Taking your photos, and putting them into a layout made for print, and then emailing that isn't doing you any favors. If you're going to be marketing yourself in a digital space, you really need a website. At the very least, make a facebook page for your photography and make galleries there.
 

Derrel

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Most of these aren't of the level that would induce me to be confident that you'd do a good job.

I looked at the entire set you posted with that comment in mind, and I think there are seven photos that look very good, and which many people would consider "professional" type photos. The majority of them appear to have been lighted with off-camera lighting. Three of the seven are the studio/white background shots, and one more is the B&W shot of the teenage girl with the headband.

I think it's admirable how well you've taken Tirediron's C&C and comments in stride, and how you have a very positive attitude toward going back through the "takes" of the various sessions, and seeing how you can improve. Now THAT is a reasoned, mature attitude.

The fact that you CAN shoot with off-camera lighting is a strength I think, since it's something that separates the "pro" from the person with a camera, and who shoots everything with the so-called natural-light style.
 

The_Traveler

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One weakness that really stands out here is the poor white balance in #1 - which other than being a bit unsharp is not a bad image.
You as the pro need to be recognizing color casts, clipped fingers and toes, cramped frame, etc.
You have the basic skills, you just need to do the finishing touches.

GPportfolio_FN3llll.jpg~original
 
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unlearndesign

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Thanks everyone. I wasn't all that confident either, hence why I'm here. Read all the books I can, there is no better kick in the pants than a critique. I knew that I needed to step up my proverbial game if I wanted to start taking on work for others.

also, commenting on curtyoungblood's post:
I'm used to sending out so many pdfs a day it just seemed natural. I'm hesitant about creating a website or using facebook as i'm not really trying to create a "your name photography" business.

Quick back story of what piqued my interest in doing photography for other people – earlier this year my agency had a pro-bono video and brochure for Boys & Girls club. When it came time to do the brochure we wanted to include pictures of some of the kids that were interviewed in the video. As there was no budget to hire a pro, I offered up my services. Went to the facility, got all the photos we needed, came back, built the brochure around the images and sent off to the director of that particular club. When we received feedback a few days later the director told us that two of the girls that attend the club cried when they saw their pictures. Initially, I thought it was because they didn't like the pictures but as it turns out the two girls, who are sisters, had never seen a picture of themselves before. I know it's cheesy, but it was pretty awesome to hear. So shooting others is two fold for me. One being the gained experience and two the possibility of making people that happy again. If it weren't for being in the creative business myself and seeing the devaluation of our fields, I would shoot for free. I know better though and that is why I know if I'm going to do it, I should charge, and not ridiculously low amounts like they do on craigslist.

But I do have a full-time job and will most likely always look at photography as my favorite hobby. But that doesn't mean that I don't want to create the best images I can and maybe 3 or 4 times a year get some paying work to mix it up. I don't plan on advertising. Just hoping to do enough to get some word of mouth references and maybe pick up something fun on craigslist. I figured a pdf would be the quick/free way to shoot off some samples when requested. So I ask you for suggestions on delivery if pdf, website, facebook and i'll add individual jpgs are out of the picture.
 

curtyoungblood

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I've been thinking about this a little more, and my original post may have been a little strong worded. You just happened to hit on a personal pet peeve (because I've never opened a PDF portfolio that impressed me).

If you're just looking for word of mouth clients and only want to do a few shoots a year, one of the slightly classier photo hosting sites (similar to flickr) may be a decent option. In my opinion, you really just want to have a place people can quickly look at your work. You'll be able to say something like, "Hey, this is really just an on the side thing for me, and here's a place to go see my photos".
 

sashbar

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Of all the people there I like the black one - with long ears and a tail. ;)
 

Derrel

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I dunno...a .PDF file is easy to send...I have seen a few decent portfolios done in .PDF format. I think it makes sense, as a quick, easy, simple way to e-mail photos in a simple wrapper that almost anybody can open. But there ARE some other simple ways to have a portfolio that others can access. For example, a FREE account on Flickr can be a simple way to upload a portfolio of images as a "set", and then just send people to the Flickr link. Simple, effective, and free. You can easily add, or remove photos as well.
 

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