A Perfect Showcase



Photograph/Joshua Navalkar. Model/Ashok George

Photograph/Joshua Navalkar. Model/Ashok George

Thinking of showcasing your work? Chandni Gajria offers the perfect solution to all those forgotten prints that have piled up in your closet—a photography portfolio.

This is the digital age—the age in which we use digital media and internet space to promote ourselves. However, at times, we forget about the most basic things we could do to bring ourselves in the limelight. In olden times, photographers moved from one client to another with a ready-to-see, bound portfolio in their hands. Today we have an option of either making a printed portfolio or uploading a set of pictures online for everyone to see. The choice of audience, presentation and variety to showcase our work has increased. While most of us wish to build an effective portfolio, many are confused and unsure as to how to go about it. These simple ways should help you create a portfolio the way you want it.

Have Enough Work
To start with, make sure you have enough work to showcase in a portfolio. It would be of no use if you just had a few pictures. To create a good portfolio, you would require good images. So, start shooting photographs daily and try to make the kind of images you would like to see put into a portfolio.

Best of the Best
Pull out all your photographs—old and new, print or digital and select the ones you like. Remember that quantity does not equal quality, therefore, restrict your selection to 20–30 images per portfolio. Be critical of your selection and try not to get too emotional about your photographs.
Your friends and family are your audience as well. Take their help and ask for their suggestions and opinions. There might be a picture you like, but a friend may think you have missed out on better options.

Choose a Medium
The better the manner in which you present a portfolio, the more striking will be the impact. You have plenty of options to choose from. Many websites on the internet offer to create a free online portfolio or may charge a nominal fee to showcase your work.
Simply burning a CD of images is a practice that most people tend to follow. However, printed portfolios and slideshows that have basic designs, can allow room for creativity.

Ensure a Distinct Style
When you choose the medium, keep in mind the style, design, and the overall look of your portfolio. For instance, while making a printed portfolio, you need to consider the kind of paper to be used, its size, texture, colour and so on. The photographs selected have to be arranged in a manner that ensures that there is a flow. They can be arranged chronologically or can attempt to create a certain mood.
You can even enhance the pictures with borders, sketches or use supporting text in the form of quotes and captions. The more you customise a portfolio, the more it will say about you.

Budget it Out
Chalk out a list of activities which require monetary spends. Then, depending on your resources, you can settle for an option that suits you the best. A lavish leatherbound book will cost you a fortune, but if you are willing to spend that much, the look also will be worth it. If money is a constraint, then you could opt for making an online portfolio which can prove to be more practical than the print medium. Search for relatively inexpensive resources, which can help you build an effective portfolio and also draw on any contacts that can be useful.

Judge Yourself
Are the selected photographs worthy of being in your portfolio? Was a good picture not selected? Go back and review rejected images. This time, pull out only those that suit the overall visual style of the portfolio. You will have to be tough on yourself and not select more than 10–15 images. Then, narrow down the final selection to 20–25 images. Be absolutely sure and confident of the pictures you have finalised. Remember to select them from the perspective of a viewer, rather than that of a photographer.


Photograph/Joshua Navalkar. Model/Ashok George

Photograph/Joshua Navalkar. Model/Ashok George

Not Only Photographs
There is more to a portfolio than just photographs. While photographs speak about the kind of photography you are capable of, they will not necessarily speak about your ideas. At times, people may not understand the theme behind a picture.
Therefore, present yourself and express your ideologies to those who see the portfolio by creating a package. This could include a portfolio case, an artist statement, a title list of the photographs included in the portfolio, a cover image that represents the entire portfolio. You could even put in a music CD for the viewer to listen to while viewing the photographs and enhance the visual experience of your portfolio.
Making a portfolio is a lot of hard work, but the results can be equally satisfying. After a few years, your body of work will grow and you will feel the need to add to an existing portfolio. However, when this happens, instead of adding images to an old series, make a portfolio that will be an effective showcase of your latest work.

Have Fun and Be Innovative
Portfolios need not be only on a particular theme. You could also make them on a particular subject. It could have one visual style, such as only sepia or only B&W. A compilation of all your best travel pictures, or of the holidays you spent at home can also make for an interesting showcase.

Things to Consider Before You Decide to Make a Portfolio

  1. Purpose: Know the purpose of creating a portfolio. Will it merely be a showcase of your work? Should the portfolio bring you photography assignments or a job? Will the photographs see the light of an art gallery? The purpose of your portfolio will decide the way you present it.
  2. Audience: Not everyone will identify with your work. While some may enjoy your photographs, there will be those who will like to see something more. Think about this, and accordingly decide whether you want to reach out to a general audience or to a niche section. (You also have the option of not thinking about the audience and doing what you want!)
Tags: Chandni Gajria, June 2011, portfolio, market sense, photographs, theme, budget, online portfolio, slideshow