Making a portfolio


TPF Noob!
Mar 1, 2009
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Hi there. I am wondering if people still show book type portfolios these days or do people just hand someone a disk? I am starting a new venture I am wondering if the book type portfolio is still the way to go. Thanks!
It probably depends on the situation. If you are meeting with someone, with the purpose of showing them your work...then an actual printed portfolio would probably be a good idea. If you are not meeting them face to face, or if you/they don't have time to look it over, then maybe a disk or even a card with your website would be more appropriate.
Books are still very important in commercial work for sure. You can't properly spec images on a monitor most of the time, and not everyone is going to have a calibrated monitor. Nope, I show my book all the time, it's part of the business and I think it always will be, especially if your work is for output.

I have one for commercial and one for fine art work. I find it helps to keep them separate. :thumbup:
Also, a great tip for that less is more. Don't include your top 30 shots. It's much better to have the very best of the best...and if that means only 10 shots...that OK.

10 outstanding shots is better than 10 outstanding shots, plus 10 good shots and 10 OK shots. We tend to judge our own work based on the very best ones...but someone else may judge us on the worst of the bunch.
Books are still very important in commercial work for sure.


My "portfolio" is simply a collection of finished printed pieces. I'll select the most current pieces that are relevant to the client I'm calling on.

I understand this may be hard when you're first starting up, but the finished, printed work (sell sheets, brochures, ads, etc) are much more effective than images shot on spec or as an exercise.

I recently had a shot of mine used on a promotional poster for a bands concert. Should I use that poster(reduced to 8x10) in the portfolio instead of just the photo? Would that make more of an impact? To see the photos "at work"?
Should I use that poster(reduced to 8x10) in the portfolio instead of just the photo? Would that make more of an impact? To see the photos "at work"?

I've found that it has helped me. It shows that I'm a "working" photographer.

Think too about going larger... 11x17 (tabloid). Bigger can be more impressive too.

- Pete
Yes, Portfolio books are still the way to go for commercial photographer because you want to be able to show your work to a potential client or agency without having to have them go to your website.

The common Portfolio size for photographers is 11x14. While it may be ok to disregard this specification, I would not recommend to do so unless you really have a killer book. In general, your book should have your 10-20 best images and be constantly revised.

One thing to keep in mind is to stick with vertical prints since your client should not have to keep flipping the book. If you have a horizontal print, you can either cut it into two vertical pieces or size it down to fit on a vertical 11x14. If you go for the cutting option, make sure it is an awesome shot and do not do it more than once or twice in your book.

Hope that helps and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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The portfolios I have done are samples of work completed over the course of the year. Are these the type you are referring to? If so, designate an activity for a portfolio activity. Do this for different concepts (math, reading, science, etc. ) throughout the year. They really aren't as overwhelming as you think. They are a good indicator as to how a student is doing. You should be able to see the progress at the end of the year. Add photos of activities if you like. Maybe photos of large motor activities, art projects.

The Portfolios you are talking about are completely different from actual Portfolio Books for Creative Artists. You want to showcase what you can do to a potential client and not how much progressed over a year. Clients want to see that you are capable of creating consistently good images.

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