portfolio questions answered

after my initial portfolios post, i started receiving some emails / questions regarding portfolios, so i decided to answer those questions here... i am always stuck on getting all my images to look the same. like i see many other photographers accomplish... Do you edit all your images the same?..or do you let the image determine how you edit (if you edit at all). Do you think it is important for the consistency or rather letting the image stand out, even if that means it does not "look" like the others..

very rarely do i edit the same; my editing changes with time and often is affected by my mood.  however, i will try to edit a single client session similar or at least make sure that it flows and is cohesive.  and yes, i absolutely let the image determine how i will edit it. i like to say that i feel the image.

i believe that each and every portfolio image is independent of one another and so i don't worry about images within my galleries looking similar or flowing.  i hope they are cohesive though -- in being honest with my portfolio selections, i hope they all look like me [my photography], which lends to natural cohesiveness.

What do you think is a good number of images for a website gallery?

i don't think there's a magic number to the amount of images for a website gallery; however, you do have to be careful of too many.  how many is too many? i'm not sure.  i guess this is really artist dependent.  i try to keep in mind that i don't want to overwhelm my prospective clients.

I notice you seem to integrate more artistic images very well - I have a hard time with this, and I'm not sure how well my own site/portfolio flows. What are your thoughts on combining artistic projects and portrait work?

i have my projects and portrait work in separate groupings [portfolios & projects] on my website; however, that doesn't mean i don't have artsy images within my portrait galleries.  for me, i have absolutely no problem mixing my images. in the end, whether artsy or not-so-artsy, i hope they are both strong and both scream me. i don't think there's a right or wrong answer as to combining or making separate. sometimes  you just have to play and do what seems to work best for your artistry and your website. i do have some images that i love that just don't flow on my website portfolio and so they are not there. for example the images below. i absolutely love them but i don't think they work on my current website | portfolios. but that doesn't mean they won't in the future, as i'd love to begin photographing more in client's homes.  if that was the case, maybe these photos could be part of my online portfolio.

I was just going through your portfolio (love!) and noticed your kiddos were on there. Someone (can't remember who??) once told me not to put my kids photos on the portfolio. I can't even remember why?? Anyway.. I took that to heart and have like 2 photos of my girls on my portfolio. I used to have a section called 'Mine' with my fave photos of my girls.. but got rid of that too. What are your thoughts on this? Some of my fave photos are of my own kids... but then perhaps it is just my own bias because I am so emotionally attached to them.

i think there is NOTHING wrong with having your own children on your website (obviously).  however, i do want to caution you on mommy goggles. every mom photographer knows what i'm talking about -- those images that might not be as strong as others but we have a hard time seeing that because we're emotionally attached to the image because they're our cute kids. just make sure that the images of your kids that you're putting on your site are strong and what you want to shoot with your clients. if you're not sure, run the image by a friend, who will be honest with you.

I hear the needing to keep portfolio images in one easy to access place. I’d love to hear more about how you organize this.

i think portfolio organization is so important. i have a 'portfolio' folder. within that folder, i have a 'high res' and 'low res' folder. and that's it. you're organized. the reason a high res folder is a must is because over time, your website will probably change. with a new website comes new sized web images. if that's the case and your organized, you simply go to your 'high res' folder and batch process the high res files to the new web size needed.

with that being said, my 'high res' folder (10x14 at 300 dpi) is very fluid -- images come and go. if i'm on the fence about an image, i might just leave it there. if i know the image no longer speaks to me, i remove it from my portfolio folder.

also, i recently switched to lightroom and imported all my high res portfolio images and tagged them with the word portfolio (keyword). now, as i shoot a new image that i want in my portfolio, i add the portfolio keyword and then export it to my high res and low res folder.

the key is having all your portfolio images in one place, for easy access.

How do you keep all your portfolio images organized, categorized and sorted so you can find and refer to them easily. I love so many and typically forget I own them or where they are. I am referring to digital and Polaroid.

having my portfolio images in one folder is enough to keep them organized, categorized and sorted.  you really shouldn't have thousands of images in your portfolio.  or even hundreds for that matter (IMO). i do have separate portfolio folders though, e.g. 'portfolio client', 'portfolio polaroid', 'portfolio dress', etc.


if you have a portfolio question, feel free to add it in the comments and i'll do my best to answer in an ETA section of this post.