Portfolios for photographers are a great way to showcase polished work. They can provide insight for a prospective client or showcase personal style to anyone that is interested. With so many different great websites and services dedicated to creating your portfolio, how do you choose?
First, let’s actually talk about your portfolio. A portfolio should help tell a story about your photography in as few images as possible. Not only should it showcase your photographic work, but it should also capture your personality. You can choose a variety of different images and layouts. I always tell a story when grouping my photos. This way, I have an internal dialog whenever I discuss it with anybody.
After you’ve conceptualized your work, it’s time to build! The sky is the limit with the different services that you have to work with. I’ve gone back and forth with building my own portfolio versus having it hosted somewhere. I’ve ended up distributing my work through various different online communities and bringing my work together on my personal website. I’ll briefly break down some of the services that I’ve used in the past (in no particular order).
Format has a couple of nice and creative photo layouts. The backend and photo uploader is easy to use and offers some flexibility. The Format community is nice and gives you helpful articles and support you through your portfolio-building process.
If you’ve listened to a podcast or watched a YouTube video recently, you’ve probably heard about Squarespace. It’s a comprehensive way to build your portfolio or photography website. Not only can you choose from nice-looking templates, but you can also create customized websites based on a lot of different custom criteria.
I like to think that 500px is sort of like the new “Flickr.” The images that are popular on 500px all have a specific style. However, I have seen a lot of portfolios sent in by way of 500px profiles. You also have the option to mark your images to be licensed.
Bonus site: Photoshelter
Photoshelter has a ton of really nice features and tools for photographers. You can bring your portfolio and client work into one house, with client proofing and delivery tools. You can also sell your images and prints directly through your website hosted on Photoshelter.
With my portfolio, I’ve taken a slightly different approach. I frequently contribute to Unsplash, Instagram and Exposure. My website is a landing page for some of my best work on those outlets. Within my Unsplash catalog, I’ve even curated some collections and themes of photos: https://unsplash.com/@danielcgold/collections. I consider my portfolio my resume. I change my website based on the types of people I’m trying to attract.
With your portfolio, I would figure out what works for you and your style. Every photographer has a different creative process, and not every site fits that process. Almost every hosted portfolio solution gives a free trial. I encourage you to give some a shot! If you’d like any help or advice with your portfolio, feel free to send me a message! DM me on Instagram (@danielcgold) or Twitter (@danielcgold).