Going Professional – Establishing a Portfolio

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  By Jonathan Ma
Going Professional – Establishing a Portfolio www.sleeklens.com

As a photographer, you will be known by not by your name, but by your work. Establishing a portfolio is, therefore, one of the keys to success as a professional photographer. In order to have the best chance of success, professional photographers should choose their specialty. Instead of being just a general all-around photographer, it’s better to be dedicated to a specific field of photography such as wedding photography, portraiture, or pet photography. It’s important to choose your specialty early on so that you can start developing your portfolio to reflect that. In this article, we will discuss what types of photos should be included in your portfolio.


Portraits are an integral part of most professional portfolios. When choosing portraits to include in your portfolio, look for your best work. Portraits that show emotion, feeling and character are good choices. Look for photos that were recently taken because shooting styles can change over time. You want potential clients to see the type of photos that you can create for them. Also, choose photos that have been digitally processed according to your usual style. Shooting and editing styles are unique to each photographer. The pictures that you choose to put in your portfolio will show the world what your shooting style is. Find photos with a range of different poses and lighting situations to show what you are capable of achieving.

Travel Photography

If traveling the world and taking photos is your specialty, you’ll want to collect your best photos for your portfolio. Show others how you can bring out the beauty in a location. Vary the types of locations that you include in your portfolio. Beaches, parks, hotels, and libraries could all be included. The purpose of your portfolio as a travel photographer is to show the range of your capabilities. You never know when a travel journal or travel resort might contact you regarding a possible photography assignment.

Street Photography

Street photography

can be hard to monetize, but it’s possible. If this is your specialty, then make sure that your photography stands out. Filters are a great way to add a little bit of extra pop to your street photography. The only word of caution is not to get carried away and include too many different filters in your portfolio. A few black and white photos are okay, but if every single photo in your portfolio has a different filter then it can be an issue. That would send the message that your editing is inconsistent. When it comes to the subjects, pick out photos of both living and nonliving objects. Street photography has a broad scope.

Show Off Your Technical Skills

Your portfolio should prove to others your ability as a photographer. Therefore, you should make sure to include photos that require a lot of technical finesse to pull off. Take the picture of sparklers above, for instance. A photo like the one above requires the proper equipment, skill, and technical know how. Low light photos are a great way to show off your technical skills. Another example of a great technical shot would be an action scene. Action scenes are hard to capture because of the intense speed at which the subject is moving. With a great action photo in your portfolio, it proves that you have the equipment for amazing photos. It also shows that you have the practical knowledge to make full use of your equipment.

Choose Photos With Emotion

What makes a photograph great isn’t just the technical prowess that it took to capture that photo. A great photo stirs the emotions of its viewers. When choosing photos to include in your portfolio, it’s important that you make sure to include a few photos that capture emotion. A good example is a photo like the one above from a wedding reception. When looking at this photo, you can’t help but smile for the couple getting married. You can’t help but feel for the couple as they walk down the path while getting rice thrown at them. You can’t help but wince for the couple. Be sure to include a few photos that stir the emotions and really strike a chord with viewers.

Happy shooting!

Rating: 5.00 based on 2 Ratings
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Jonathan Ma

Jonathan Ma is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. The natural beauty that surrounds this area has helped him to learn to appreciate art and photography. Jonathan's favorite styles of photography are nature and sports photography. He enjoys learning and teaching others what he knows.

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