Photography Portfolio

Photography Portfolio

Today we’ll discuss how to build your first photography portfolio. This guide is intended for beginners who don’t really know what they want to specialize in yet. Instagram is so amazing, we all know, but I think it’s important to get your own domain name and make a photographer portfolio website. You can make it for free or get one with Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, Tumblr and other similar sites. So, let’s look at the best platforms to build your photo portfolio with, what to include and more!

Create a Photography Portfolio in 13 Steps

If you treat photography seriously, you should look for effective ways and tools to promote your business. Photography portfolios are powerful methods of showing your potential, drawing attention to your photography brand and convincing people to contact you for further work.

Step 1. Learn What a Professional Photography Portfolio is

portfolio photography meaning

No matter what photography genre you specialize in, you will need an effective way to inform potential clients about your services, so that they will want to hire you. A photographer portfolio is a small collection of the best photographs that show the unique style and artistic vision of the shooter. Watch the Building a Winning Portfolio: Editing and Sequencing Your Images course by Stella Kramer to create a beautiful and themed photography website easily.

Step 2. Follow One Photography Style

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 40-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

Even if you like experimenting and can boast of achievements in several photo styles, don’t cram your photography portfolio with too many shots from portrait, wedding, landscape, newborn or any other photo session. Keep it simple and consistent. Define the genre of images you will add to your portfolio. Otherwise, clients may get confused and treat you as an amateurish photographer who is still trying to figure what photography genre to work with.

photography-101

Watch this Photography 101 course that is a perfect choice for all beginners who want to jump into the world of professional and well-paid photography. Learn everything about the basics of camera settings, lenses, composition, and start taking beautiful photos for your portfolio right now.

View more

 

Step 3. Define the Unifying Concept

professional photography portfolio

This step is closely related to the previous one. You will need to organize images in your photography portfolio book according to one theme. This will help you create a more professional and workable portfolio. There is no limit on the key concept. It can be anything you like – a peculiar style, a certain lighting technique, color scheme, effects, etc.

Step 4. Use a Catchy Logo

photography portfolio logo

The photography logo for your portfolio should be something that immediately catches attention. I suggest you select a few, just using your smartphone or laptop. Here are two apps that will help you do it.

logo maker plus logo

download from google play

Logo Maker Plus

This application is aimed at creating non-trivial logos for professional photo books. The main advantage of this program is a great number of templates that are available and are ready for immediate use. Besides, you can use them to get a unique image or inscription.

 

instalogo logo

Iphone App Store

InstaLogo

In a matter of seconds, you will be able to create logos for your photo portfolio, posters, brochures, invitations, etc. Share them with your friends and colleagues by email, print or save them to Dropbox, Evernote and Box, as well as on your iOS device.

 

Step 5. Keep Your Brand Visible

art portfolio book

Place the name of your brand in the central part of your portfolio and don’t cover it with decorative elements. It should be written in a clearly legible photography font, catches attention and be easy to remember. After your clients have seen the cover of your portfolio, they should understand who they are dealing with. It is advisable to not present yourself as an individual person, but as a brand. This will add to clients’ feeling that they are working with a reliable and serious shooter.

Step 6. Select the Most Appealing Images

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

While selecting pictures for your art portfolio book, be very critical about each shot. Ask yourself: “What would I think about this photographer if I saw such an image in his/her portfolio?” If you have any doubts about the quality of the image, its style and fit to the general theme – don’t include it in the portfolio.

portrait posing book

I recommend you read this book if you want to get only the best portrait photos in your portfolio. Here you will find the best posing tips that will enhance your photography skills.

READ BOOK

 

Step 7. Analyze the Quality of Every Image Individually

photo portfolio

Does this image really help you show your artistic style? Would it convince clients that you know your stuff well? How does it match the overall concept you are trying to showcase in your photography portfolio? These are only some of the questions you must ask yourself before adding any shot to the portfolio. Though such a procedure may take longer, assess each of your photos individually. This way, you will choose only the best samples of your work.

Step 8. Keep Your Portfolio Consistent

Website Builder: Liquid Web

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

If you have many awesome shots and you believe that your clients will undoubtedly admire them, don’t rush to combine them into one collection. A professional photography portfolio is not about the quantity, it is rather about the quality and consistency of images. For example, vertical pictures have nothing to do with horizontal ones, as you aren’t creating a collage, but a serious portfolio to “lure” clients. This also applies to colorful and B&W images, which look gorgeous, but belong to two different groups.

Step 9. Choose from 10 to 20 Final Pictures

Website Builder: Neue Medien Muennich GmbH

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 50-90 minutes

 

In fact, no one can tell you how many photos your portfolio should contain. Many professional shooters insist on choosing no more than 20 shots. Frankly speaking, 10 samples are the best choice.

Step 10. Make a Particular Sequence of Your Images

photography portfolio

How should you organize your photos into one concise collection? Is there is a single correct way? No. Still, there is a helpful recommendation that you should place the most powerful and intriguing photo on the first page. Thus, you’ll make your clients wonder what is waiting for them further. Arrange other pictures so that colors, atmosphere and tones complement each other.

Step 11. Add Pictures to Your Portfolio

Website Builder: Digital Ocean

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 50-90 minutes

 

Most shooters enjoy doing it themselves, either attaching pictures to the backing paper or inserting them into the plastic sleeves, which you can buy from photography portfolios providers. If you have no time or desire to do it yourself, just contact the professional living in your area and get the finished portfolio. Still, inform the specialist about the photo sequence you worked out earlier.

Step 12. Proceed to the Finishing Touches

photography portfolio online

It is up to you to decide which additional info you’d like to add to your portfolio. Looking through free portfolio book examples on the web, you may see that they contain quotes, a list of included images, photography pricing, a photographer’s credo, or a cover picture. Of course, you want your shots to be the only catchy thing in the art book, but several captions won’t hurt. In fact, they may even highlight your professional style.

Step 13. Promote Your Portfolio Online

Website Builder: BeepWeb

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 50-90 minutes

 

Follow my photography marketing tips to create your personal website or use a portfolio hosting (for example, Zenfolio or Smugmug). You surely understand that building a photography portfolio website requires specific knowledge and time, so it’s more convenient to use a hosted website. In this way, you can upload your shots into galleries and adjust their order and look.

Top-Rated Photography Portfolio Sites

Modern photographers have more possibilities to present themselves with the help of online resources. There, you can describe your services to an unlimited number of people and find really lucrative partners to work with. Your portfolio is a powerful marketing tool, so make it comprehensive and easily accessible. The following sites will assist you in distributing your photography portfolio as quickly and effectively as possible.

1. Behance

behance for creating portfolio

 
Pros+
  • Rich content library
  • Lots of genres
  • Absolutely free
  • Super easy to use
Cons-
  • May lag sometimes
  • Files are compressed
 
 

CREATE PORTFOLIO

Behance is the first one on the list of the best online portfolio sites thanks to the generous possibilities it offers to everyone in the photography sphere. Artists, animators, designers and photographers can make use of posts, reviews, comments and images available on this website. Registration takes several minutes, after which you get unlimited chances to promote your brand.

2. Dribbble

dribbble for creating portfolio

 
Pros+
  • Easy to use
  • Many unique color schemes
  • PSD autopsy
Cons-
  • Displays only screenshots of designers’ works
  • Paid – $36 per year
 
 

CREATE PORTFOLIO

Dribbble somehow resembles the previous photography portfolio site, though it functions on a paid basis. On the other hand, for $36 per year, you get many possibilities to showcase your portfolio and get acquainted with other shooters’ work. You can even find many interesting photography portfolio ideas that will come in handy in the future.

3. Adobe Portfolio

adobe for creating portfolio

 
Pros+
  • Tight integration with Adobe products
  • Recommended for those who do not have time to create their own site
  • It is possible to connect your domain name
  • The site resembles the way you create a project on Behance
  • You can quickly change templates without editing them
Cons-
  • Many restrictions on page content
  • It is impossible to integrate other services such as MailChimp, etc.
  • Weak SEO optimization
  • Excessively tight integration with Behance
 
 

CREATE PORTFOLIO

Adobe Portfolio is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud plan, which ensures close integration with other company programs. It also enables you to synchronize upgrades to Behance free of charge. With Adobe Portfolio, you can create a truly unique portfolio to differentiate from hundreds of other photographers.

4. Flothemes

flothemes for photographer portfolio

 
Pros+
  • Stylish designs
  • Good choice for wedding photographers
  • SEO services
Cons-
  • Price $279
 
 

CREATE PORTFOLIO

Flothemes is a more advanced option, as it allows you to build a full website, not just your portfolio showcase. They offer stunning photography WordPress themes which are fully packed with predefined options for your pages (blocks and layouts). Their website designs offer you the freedom to tweak and customize everything per your preference and brand needs.

Top 22 Best Photography Portfolios

Intend to create your own website, but still don’t know how to make a photography portfolio? I suggest you looking through the photo portfolios made by the other photographers. Hopefully, the following web designs will inspire you to create your own one.

1. Aralani Photography

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 40-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

It contains all important portfolio categories (prices, blog, reviews, about page and others). All information is so perfectly ordered here that you can search for everything you want very easily. Every page of Alarani is aimed at satisfying the searcher’s needs and all information is where it should be.

2. Cassandra Ladru

Website Builder: WordPress

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 24-48 hours

Website Template: View

 

A good example of professional wedding photographer portfolio. The photos are arranged well and look stylish on this white background. The chosen font and color pallet is the best choice for classical wedding photographer.

3. Kartsie Photography

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 40-70 minutes

Website Template: View

 

This is the so-called “blog-folio.” It means that the users show their portfolio photography in the blog posts in the form of stories. It may seem difficult to understand some blog-folios, but Kartsie’s website succeeds in solving this problem thanks to the lovely screenful of thumbnails.

4. Caitlin Worthington Photography

Website Builder: AWS

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 40 minutes

Website Template: View

 

Well, I am not very big on horizontal portfolio layouts, which you may notice in this post and in all of our projects. But, if you know how to design it properly, your horizontal layout will show your photo portfolio from the best sides. I intentionally chose this one to demonstrate that there is no need for large photos and full screen views to make your photographer portfolio nice to look at.

5. Anchor & Lace

Website Builder: AWS

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

It’s amazing, as every page has its own unique design, miraculously matching the general one. The most impressive feature of this website for me was the “Stories” category. These are true photo stories of weddings beautifully separated into individual parts that resemble a real story.

6. Nessa Buonomo

Website Builder: WordPress

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 24-48 hours

Website Template: View

 

Are you on the lookout for the best website templates for photographers? This is a good sample for all beginners. This portfolio website provides professional image highlights for photographic projects.

7. Chris Zielecki

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

As for me, the Contact page is really useful. You have the ability to connect with the photographer for upcoming photography or other questions. It helps avoid some issues with contact forms that many photographers may face.

8. Hardy Klahold

Website Builder: AWS

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 1 hour

Website Template: View

 

Do you want your photography portfolio to consist of one page? This website template is exactly what you need. You may easily find information about this photographer, his works, genres he shoots in, his blog posts and how to connect with him. By the way, a one-page portfolio is a really great option if you don’t have a lot of photos yet or if you prefer it to be brief, but impressive.

9. Amy Deputy

Website Builder: AWS

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 1 hour

Website Template: View

 

If there are lots of photos at your disposal that you wish to share in the photography portfolio, why not to use grid layouts as Amy Deputy did? Look at her website. She shows all her works, even if they don’t belong to a part of the gallery. In this way, all the visitors have an opportunity to get acquainted with all her photos in general or to look at each of them separately. It’s a good idea, isn’t it?

10. Evaan Kheraj

Website Builder: AWS

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-50 minutes

Website Template: View

 

Evaan’s website is another example of outstanding photography portfolio design. With this website, you can see how your own portfolio will look if to make it with a broad layout comprising of two or three columns. The view of his work is really amazing and all the details are pretty visible for visitors to the website.

11. Ryan Michael Kelly

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

Creating a photography portfolio website doesn’t always require very glaring and colorful design. Even if its design is minimalistic, it can also look incredibly stylish, which Ryan Michael Kelly demonstrates. This website shows that great typography, understandable navigation, empty space and incredible photographs together with simple, but stylish design can make a beautiful professional photography portfolio.

12. Ravi Vora

Website Builder: Squarespace

Level of Complexity: Elementary

Time to Design: 30-60 minutes

Website Template: View

 

The website is also designed in a minimalistic style. The main page is presented in the form of a grid with three columns. Look at the layout! At first sight, it seem to be created in a free style, but if you look closer, you will notice some regularity. The works are divided into horizontal rows. Each row has three pictures (two photos in landscape orientation and one in portrait, which take turns in the following row).

13. John Schell

Website Builder: Cloud Loadbalancing as a Service-LBaaS (ORD)

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 48 hours

 

I also recommend you to take notice of this website. There is a clear menu on the left side of the main page, where you can find all the necessary information concerning this photographer and his work. By clicking on any photo, you will be able to see the other projects connected with it. This website is created for business, to make John Schell (who lives in Los Angeles now) more popular around the world.

14. Eric Ryan Anderson

Website Builder: New Dream Network

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 48 hours

Website Template: View

 

In my mind, it is one of the best online portfolio examples. The site is contemporary and loads quickly. But take your time before applying this approach to your portfolio. I must confess that sites of this type are not suitable for everyone because some people may feel a bit confused while trying to find what they need here.

15. Oana Foto

Website Builder: WordPress

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 50-100 hours

Website Template: View

 

This is one more photography portfolio website with a bit of a strange, but quite a clear interface. While navigating through pages, you may notice a beautiful overlapping effect. The portfolio page is presented in the form of a few galleries that scroll horizontally, then open in a full screen emerging gallery. I also like the image of the background while opening the “About” and “Contact” pages.

16. Laura Makabresku

Website Builder: WordPress

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 50-80 hours

Website Template: View

 

This online photography portfolio is something new, which stands out against the websites mentioned above. This photographer shows us a bright example of an online art portfolio.

17. Anna Morosini

Website Builder: Aruba S.p.A.

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 80-120 hours

Website Template: View

 

I can’t help but mention this incredibly creative website made by Anna Morosini. Its design is so unusual that you can see it was created by an offbeat person who sees ordinary things in a different way. Her photography portfolio resembles a puzzle that I need to solve. But this puzzle is really fascinating and you’ll have a desire to click on every part of the page and to see what will happen.

18. Nordica Photography

Website Builder: Wordpress

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 150 hours

Website Template: View

 

This is also an unusual photography portfolios example. Its distinctive feature is sticking to its own style. Only square elements are used here, beginning from a logo and ending with gallery thumbnails.

19. Frederik Clement

Website Builder: Cloud Loadbalancing as a Service-LBaaS (DFW)

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 70-100 hours

 

Frederik’s website impresses us with a variety of menu categories. Click on the one you are interested in and enjoy browsing through incredibly beautiful photos! This talented photographer shoots in different genres (sports, portrait, landscape and street photography).

20. Tom Hull

Website Builder: Cloudflare

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 80-120 hours

 

I recommend you visit this fabulous website made by Tom Hull. It has a sufficiently stylish design with a big image on the background. The menu bar is located in the middle of the right side of the page.

21. Björn Terring

Website Builder: Binero Hosting Network

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 55-85 hours

 

The works are displayed on the main page in a very interesting way. By the way, you have an opportunity to look through the photos in the form of a collage or a list. Moreover, almost all the pictures have a name at the bottom that will help you find more photographs from that project.

22. Nicolas Tarier Photography

Website Builder: IP Pool for Iliad-Entreprises Business Hosting Customers

Level of Complexity: Advanced

Time to Design: 75-80 hours

 

Nicolas used an impressive grid layout when creating his website. After clicking on it, the full picture appears on a display. The navigation is really convenient.

An online portfolio website is the face of the photographer. Don’t forget about that! So, if you really intend to create it, first of all, think about how it will look down to the smallest detail. I have already floated some ideas that work. Your task is only to make an effort and make your own unique website with excellent design. Your popularity will definitely increase once it’s online.


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