How to make a portfolio You can use a photo book for this or not
november 8, 2023
Take a photo on a device. Give it to someone else. While most modern images may never exist outside of digital, creating a photography portfolio book is a unique opportunity for photographers to truly consolidate a body of work. As a company founded by photographers, this mission will always be part of our roots and we are very proud of the fact that the photography community has long trusted us to print their portfolios.
After looking at many of these books that our printing press (including some of our own!), we've learned a lot about the keys to creating a clean, impactful portfolio photo album. Now, we're sharing these learnings as a series of tips. Read on for guidance and inspiration that can help you bring your favorite book to life, from advice on presenting it the way you like, ideas for creating a cohesive narrative, and even illustrations. Full length flip.
Your favorite photos aren't always the best examples of your technical skills. Before adding each one at the expense of your other photos, ask yourself "What is the purpose of this portfolio?" and "Who is my audience?" Thinking through this lens doesn't mean second-guessing all of your choices, it just means keeping the end goal in the back of your mind as you curate. After all, chances are you're building it to win clients or apply to a program. In some instances, this may mean narrowing your focus, while in others, it may mean exposure to a more diverse selection.
You are trying to combine different concepts, perspectives, or focus within a single book. In a portfolio that can showcase years of work, tying it all together with a common thread can feel like a tall order. Take a look at the different shoots in your body of work and think about the stories you see. Is there an overarching theme or story in these collections? Once you identify it, use it to guide planning, sorting, and retention or cutting decisions.
It can be tempting to sacrifice space for more images, but to make sure your audience is fully immersed in each image, let them breathe. By using negative space in ways that minimize competition, your audience is able to get lost in the image, allowing them to see the finer details that make it remarkable.
What you leave out is as important as what you add. More often than not, cutting pieces that feel like they don't fit will lead to a stiff end product. The first step is to determine the scope and focus of your featured work. Whether you choose to double-click a particular year, focus exclusively on portraits, or build an entire book around a single shoot, this decision is key to determining what stays and what doesn't. goes . Your audience won't know what you cut, but they might pick an image you weren't sure about including.
Approach your portfolio the same way you approach photography: put thought into your composition and direct the reader's attention to where you want it to be. Just like in a photograph, each element in your portfolio should pull its weight with a unique contribution to the bigger picture. The spacing between images and the layout you choose for each can also go a long way in correcting the viewer's eye.
It becomes a tactile experience, the picture book has made itself more fluid. For example, choosing one paper finish can enhance images with a bright, reflective sheen while choosing another can mute their colors, making them soft. The thick, non-folding pages of a Le Flat photo album can prevent page curves from distorting the image, but the same distortion can enhance the effects of printed shapes and forms in a hardcover photo book. By choosing the details of your book, you're also changing the experience of engaging with the images.