Competition is fierce in the world of photography.
One of the driving factors in creating a successful business is having a dynamite portfolio. Yet what should you put into a portfolio to make it different from your competition? And not just different, one that stands miles above the crowd, and says “I’m the one” over and over again?
You may think the obvious choice is to have a variety of photographs. Yet your portfolio is really a lot more. Your portfolio not only shows what images you’ve taken in the past; it also shows your business savvy, your thought process, and your personal style.
Let’s take a look at how to build up a dynamic portfolio that can stand over and above your competition’s portfolio.
The first and most obvious is photographs. That’s what people are coming to you for, so that’s what you need to show them. Yet a portfolio should be more than your select favorites. A portfolio should also be built to show your talent based on what people need and want. If they are getting married, showing them wedding photographs is great. But if you can also show wedding photographs from their reception site, you’ve just taken your portfolio up a notch.
Showcasing your favorite, award winning images is a great touch. But can you provide professional coverage through a long day of shooting? That’s where series come in to play. Show a dozen images from a portrait shoot. Show an entire album, beginning to end, of a wedding client. Show an entire magazine layout, showcasing a variety of your images from a daylong shoot. People will feel more comfortable if you can provide consistency.
A Great Story
I love photographs, and spend a good portion of each day looking at them. Yet sometimes a photograph can take on a whole new meaning when you know the story behind it. Don’t just fill your online websites with photographs and galleries, put some words behind it too. Showcase images of you and your family in the About Us section. Tell us why you got into photography. On your clients’ galleries, talk about the event. What made it special? Why did you enjoy working with a client? Think of it as a reverse testimonial. And if every other photographer is only showcasing their work, your stories will be the “edge” that sets you apart from your competition.
A Great Design
In today’s world, the most obvious place to put your portfolio is online. Not only can people view it anywhere in the world, it also gives you flexibility in being able to showcase your portfolio. With a computer, tablet or even mobile device, your portfolio is instantly waiting to be shared. However, keep in mind that people will be viewing your portfolio from anywhere. Is your website tablet and mobile ready? Do you use a lot of Flash and complicated coding that makes it difficult to load and view? Functionality is the most important factor – if its not accessible, it won’t be viewed.
Show Your Personality
In the world of blogging, Facebook and Twitter, sharing your personality is mandatory. People want to get to know you. They want to feel comfortable with you. If they can read through your site, your blog posts, and follow your Facebook trail for a while before contacting you, the relationship will already be partially developed.
Once you build the relationship and start the connection process, be available to your visitors and potential customers. Provide a wide variety of contact information everywhere. Provide your phone, email, Twitter id, Facebook account, and any other information useful to your client. Then use it. If you only get on Facebook once per month, don’t use that as a connecting point. It will only frustrate your prospects if they can’t connect with you.