5 Tips on How to Build the Ultimate Photography Portfolio

Photography Portfolio
Watch Jessica Whitaker explain how to build a Photography Portfolio

Are you interested in starting a career as a professional photographer? While being both an exciting and creative hobby, actually making a living as a photographer can seem like a daunting task.

To truly be taken seriously, you are going to need a photography portfolio. A portfolio is simply a collection of your work.

There are nearly 50,000 professional photographers working in the United States today (and that number doesn’t include those working as self-employed). With that much competition, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. That is why having an awesome portfolio is so important.

Not sure what makes a great portfolio? Read on, and we’ll walk you through the best tips to build your ultimate photography portfolio.


When people take a look at your photography portfolio, it should be easy for them to navigate and enjoy. Try to organize your collection by theme or subject. If someone is looking to hire you to photograph their wedding, they will want to see all of your wedding photographs in one place. 

It would not be helpful to your business if your wedding photos were randomly mixed in with photos of things like action sports and food. 

Be Selective

These are photos that you are going to show to clients in hopes that they will want to work with you. You want to pick your very best photos to show off your skills.

Also, try not to post nearly identical or duplicate photos. Although there should be a thread connecting your images, clients do not need to see every picture you’ve ever taken. Inundating customers with hundreds of similar-looking photos can overwhelm them and even dull their eyes to your artistry.

As you continue to take photos, you should be editing them as soon as possible. Continue to update your online portfolio as you do this. This way, you don’t end up with thousands of unedited photos on your hard drive all at once and many hours of tedious editing ahead of you.

If you are not sure how many photos to include, take a look at your competitors. If you are a wedding photographer, look at the online portfolios of other wedding photographers and see what their sites look like.

Have a Digital and Print Portfolio

A well-printed photograph will more often than not look better than one on a screen, especially when taken on a full-frame camera. If people come to your studio or office, they will be much more impressed with a well-designed book featuring your work than a website that they can look at from their cell phones.

With that said, we live in a digital world. Because of this, you absolutely need a digital portfolio. And that means you need your own website.

Although photo-sharing platforms such as Flickr, Pinterest, and Instagram are great ways of showing off your work, you will need your own website as well. There are plenty of services out there that will host your site for free.

Publish one or multiple portfolios to your site. Like your portfolio, your website should also be organized, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing.

You should also keep a couple of flash drives on you at all times. Upload your portfolio to your drives and keep them on hand in case you ever encounter someone who may be interested in your services. 

A flash drive is harder to lose than a business card, and it is also a much more involved and personal gesture. Or if you really want to stand out, consider getting creative and crafting your own portfolio by hand.

Make a Great First Impression

The starting photo in your portfolio is going to be the first image that your client sees. It is going to set up the tone for the rest of your portfolio. You are going to want to choose a photo that is emblematic of you are as a photographer as well as interesting enough to make the viewer want to see more.

Your final photo should also be purposeful. Choose an image that you feel appropriately concludes the journey of your portfolio and will leave a lasting impression on the viewer.

Only Show Photos That You Want To Shoot

If wedding photos are what you want to spend your professional time on, then you should think twice before including something like action sports photography in your portfolio. Remember that clients will hire you based on what you present in your portfolio.

It’s not fair to clients to show them work that you’ve done and then turn them down when they want to hire you to shoot more of it. It is also not fair to yourself to continue doing work that you don’t want to do.

This is another reason to why it is a good idea to have separate portfolios, or even separate websites, for different types of genres.

Also, be honest in your portfolios. If you took photos at a photography workshop, you should not include work where someone else set up the lighting, subject, and camera placement, and all you had to do was push the shutter button.

Don’t include photos that you can’t recreate because you will simply end up with a disappointed client and an uncomfortable experience. 

Making Your Own Photography Portfolio

When it comes to making your own professional photography portfolio, you want it to look good while also representing who you are as a photographer. As you grow, so will your portfolio. Read more here on how to create your online portfolio website.

Looking to know more about full-frame cameras and photography? Keep coming back here to FullFrame35mmPhotography.com for the latest info on 35mm photography.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling and photography. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of full frame 35mm photography. Discover the advantages of using this powerful camera system.

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