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About Joseph Eitan

Joseph Eitan M.D of PhotoPaperDirect. He has been working in the professional printing industry for over 25 years helping amateur and professional photographers alike. You can follow him on Google+.

Online Photography Portfolio Examples

Photography portfolio examples provide a source of inspiration for every aspiring photographer, whether he/she is  freelance (self-employed) or has a steady job and is looking for part-time commissions.

Although Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky used to say “I sit at the piano at 9 a.m. and the muses are kind enough to visit me every day”, those who possess less of a genius need earthly sources of inspiration. A portfolio is part of the critical resources of a photographer, so its creation requires careful consideration. The fact that we’re only talking about online portfolios goes without saying.

This post begins by taking a look at some of the most attractive photography portfolio examples, followed by a set of tips one should absorb before embarking on such an undertaking.

photography portfolio examples

 

Suggestive Photography Portfolio Examples

  • Christina Marie Photography showcases the author’s specialty as a wedding photographer. It is more of a textually-driven approach, yet avoiding a common temptation – bombarding the visitor with a lot of information. It has five distinct sections (though the “about me” and “contact” section could be merged). The blog section is optional (and could be replaced by a “testimonials” category) especially for a debutant photographer, however, if one wishes to create traffic this is a must. The actual images in the portfolio are arranged for the purpose of story-telling, which is particularly appealing if you are a specialized photographer.
  • James Day Photo offers a more minimalistic approach to the presentation. Its author delves into more than one subject, and the style of presenting images right from the arrival on the website denotes that versatility. The kaleidoscopic arrangement of shapes, sizes and colors is a feature on all the sections of the portfolio, and should work well for those who have an impressive number of photographs available. This example is useful principally for exhibiting achievements in portraiture and possibly even landscape photography.
Portfolio of James Day

James Day’s website

  • Amy Deputy Photography displays achievements in portrait and wedding photography. It does not follow the story-telling path of the first site presented, and it is more of a combination between the two styles discussed above. Numerous thumbnails of equal dimension on the (larger) right part of the screen are set against the textual information on the (smaller) left side. Therefore, the artwork is still the main focus of the portfolio, while the personal information is not wholly relegated to a meaningless background.
  • Timothy Hogan does work in the realm of advertising. But this is not about his work, it’s about how he mixes the images and the text. This interactive, hypertextual manner of presenting one’s work definitely requires a significant budget, however if your work is more ambivalent in character, this could be the way to go. If you are not willing to go overboard with the finances, then a web designer’s talents are your only alternative. We believe this is a clever practice if you want your name (or info) to integrate with your work in the portfolio.
  • Lisa Bettany’s portfolio might be a great inspiration if you have a unifying motif in your work. By incorporating the same theme both in your photography aspect of your business and on the marketing side of things, you might hit the jackpot. People love nothing more than a sense of omnipresence and systematization, as it suggests vision and dedication. These are assets in every profession, but especially in photography because mixing art and business in a unifying vision really is your whole purpose.
portfolio of Lisa Bettany

Lisa Bettany’s website

Tips on Creating an On-line Portfolio

As you may have remarked, there is more to creating an expressive portfolio than just great existing work. Here are some important facts that are sometimes overlooked by zealous photographers who believe that their work will speak for itself:

  • Balancing the Sections – you should be mainly concerned with two sections: the gallery itself and the contact information. The examples above show that there are a number of ways to display the contact info, either separately or by integrating it into a sort of slideshow. If you are just taking your first steps into the business, then making a name for yourself should be your priority, so create a number of prominent links towards your info and maybe add a CV in such a way that it does not take attention away from the images.
  • The Demographic Target – know thyself and others. Who would be looking for your service? Consider that different groups of people have a different approach in surfing the web, different layouts speak differently. Design your online portfolio with a target audience in mind for the specific services that you provide. The text should be complementary to the images, not separate and definitely not independent. There are pre-designed layouts, so if you’re not that into web design be sure to check them out.
  • Use Your Only Best High-Res Work – this one is a total no-brainer, yet you could find yourself in the middle of a conflict between image size and the loading speed of the website.
  • Website Navigation – the sections of your website should always be available for the user, so insist on creating multiple “buttoned” areas. And do try to limit scrolling, as it is pernicious for user experience, as well as loading times.
  • Copyright – copyright infringement will never go away, thus make sure of embedding watermarks on your images. In addition, try disabling the right-click on your website, or using your photographs as background images, as it may limit the damage.
  • Details – most clients require an explanation that goes with the photograph, and more so if it is a single themed gallery. As one portfolio displayed in the list above shows, you could also find yourself in the business of story-telling, therefore you should provide adequate contextual information.

Some portfolio

Of course, one should take into consideration that these photography portfolio examples and tips are not set in stone. The freedom you have at your disposal in revealing your work to the world is practically unlimited. This is suggested by the diversity of the examples I have selected. After all, everyone is different and inspiration can be found everywhere.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Freelance Photography Jobs from Home

For anyone who ever wondered how it would be to ply their trade in freelance photography, jobs from home certainly are quite appealing. Nevertheless, one has to put in a lot of work in the marketing part of their business in order to have this dream come true.

As a companion to a previous post, this one is concerned with the pre-requisites of sitting at home and contacting clients (or even better, having clients contact them) and the top sites where photographers look for work freelance. We will also tackle conundrums such as deciding on the appropriate rates, discuss frequent mistakes and frequently asked questions and finally trying to shed a little light on the subject of stock photography.

freelance written on a blackboard

Practical Suggestions before Plunging in

Throwing yourself head on is never a good idea in regard to any subject. Especially when talking about something as delicate as an activity that ostensibly mixes art with salesmanship. Mistakes are part of any path, yet it is better when you learn from those made by others, than the ones yourself have made. Here are some top tips collected from freelance photographers far and wide:

  • Branding and Referrals – it’s hard enough finding your way into any field, but when you’re considering a business that deals with people, invest a bit of time in creating a name for yourself. Having a few (important) people that can recommend you before actually starting your own business may prove crucial for an easier start in getting jobs from home.
  • Sell Your Strengths – always try guiding the discussion towards your strong points and what you know may be something that makes you stand out. Do not get invested in things you do not understand as it will cripple your credibility in front of clients and get you the imposter tag.

Freelancer with an annoyed demeanor

  • Backing up Data – this one is pretty obvious, but then I believe it has happened to anyone, so be on the lookout for external hard drives, and of course subscribe to one of the many backup options at your disposal such as Google Drive, Crash Plan or Dropbox.
  • Aspire to All Year Round Income – there are many cases where real income from photography is a seasonal occurrence. Therefore, one should do their research on the subject before starting their business, try exploring the options at their disposal (opening their own studio, lurking in the background of local schools and businesses, and advertising for all kinds of special occasions). It goes without saying that a steady income is welcome irrespective of the big bucks one may be pulling during the peak wedding season.

Freelance Photography Jobs Online

Undoubtedly, online jobs postings are the first avenue that is explored by beginner and even seasoned freelance photographers. Some keys to succeeding in the virtual side of freelancing are part of the same pre-requisites I have explored in the previous article on how to become a freelance photographer. In addition to those, make sure you configure your social profiles to reflect your new specialty and use tools like Twitter’s search option or Google Alert.

Having covered that, here are the most established sites to visit in order to acquire your freelance photography jobs from home:

Freelancer in front of computer

  • freelancephotojobs.com is the main portal that specializes in offering work just for photographers. While it may not have an interface as appealing as the many other freelance sites, this one does have the advantage of specialized categories for the postings, and an extra section that deals in stock photography and products specific to the industry. Other sections include presentations of e-books (most of them free to download) and an extended thesaurus of how-to articles.
  • freelancedesigners.com uses an interesting approach as it aims to integrate various freelance services – photography, web design, graphic design, and writing – in a specific geographical area. By entering your location, you become available for clients seeking your services in said area. It is a very interesting concept, especially for beginners who are willing to put in the effort to grasp the complexity of the trade.
  • freelancephotographerjobs.com contains job postings from all 50 US states, plus Canada and the UK, all you have to do is search for the adequate section. It also holds a whole lot of other related information.
  • indeed.com is an all-encompassing job portal. Upload your resume and … you know the drill. Its engine researches other platforms, its advantage being the high performance advanced search engine that lets you personalize your inquiry.
  • ifreelance.com is a platform that stresses interaction. Create your profile and become part of the community, pitch to different clients and put your time to good use. Almost every niche is well represented on ifreelance.
  • upwork.com is the biggest freelancing platform that exists, where freelancers and potential clients/employers interact, like when a freelancer  is interviewed by the client directly. Upwork provides a particularly realistic perspective on the toughness of the competition.

upwork.com catchphrase

Pursuing Other Avenues

Given the number of established freelancers, who already possess the portfolio, referrals and especially the people skills that can only be acquired in time, beginners should never discount a possibility. A newcomer’s greatest assets are enthusiasm, self-confidence, lower rates and a willingness to experiment.

Broader Cooperation means becoming part of formal and informal organizations that deal with photography and freelance work in general. Maybe you have friends or acquaintances that are freelance web designers or writers. Try marketing yourselves as a team that provides the full nine yards of services, a single meeting, a single rate, a complete project. Not to mention the different skills that one may learn and the inter-disciplinary perspective that is to be gained, from such an activity.

Stock Photography seems to be the ultimate utopia for the beginner freelance photographer. What could be better than receiving a steady stream of income for previous work? That all sounds promising, yet the reality doesn’t quite fulfill that promise, with the copyright being a shady territory (both from a legal and practical point of view), not to mention the quality of the work required just for toying with the idea of delving into stock photography. Nevertheless, if you want to give it a go, here are some sites on the subject.

The much sought after ideal of freelance photography, getting jobs from home, is only a manner of speaking. Your office may be your home, however, achieving your desired financial and professional goals means a constant agitation, with the embodiment of the said ideal being a reality only for those at the pinnacle of the business.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

The Complete Guide To Choosing Photographic Paper

Guest post by Joseph Eitan

In the digital world we live in, there is no dispute that most pictures we take retain their digital form to be saved on a hard drive, cloud image hosting or social networking profile. Despite all odds, images are still been printed, in fact more than ever due to the impressive advance in printing and ink technology.  As a photographer, choosing the correct type of media to print your work is essential, as poor printing results will hinder all the work you have invested in capturing that perfect image.

There are a number of technical aspects in choosing photographic papers that as a photographer you should know.

Suitable Printer Technology 

The Complete Guide To Choosing Photographic PaperPrinting professional photos is done using Inkjet rather than laser technology.  While laser printers are fantastic in mass printing plain documents in a speedy and cost effective manner, they simply lack the required DPI and colour accuracy that high quality photos require in order to handle sub tones to their full potential.

To scatter ink evenly on the paper, laser technology use polymer based dust powder in CMYK range that undergoes hot fusion to become solid on the paper. On the other hand, Inkjet uses the same CMYK (and sub shades) range in the form of liquid ink (either Dye or Pigment base) that is microscopically dispersed onto the paper by way of an accurate jet (therefore it is called Ink-Jet). This delivery system allows for fine colour accuracy and wide tonal capability, making it the preferred choice for photographers.

Inkjet Receiving Layer 

Most individuals only distinguish various types of photographic papers based on the brand and maybe based on that brand’s model. If you look closer, a better way to evaluate quality photo papers regardless of the brand is by the type of chemical receiving layer that is used.

There are two types of Inkjet receiving layers, one called cast coated which tends to appear on budget papers and micro porous, PE coated, which is the preferred option of professional photographers. Cast coated photographic papers are based on normal printer paper that undergoes heating by way of metal rollers. This process gives the paper a glossy look, which is why cast coated are only available with a glossy finish. Because there is no barrier between the coating and the paper, the ink is susceptible to sinking deeper into the paper making the image appear a little duller than when printed on PE coated paper.

On the other hand, micro-porous or nano-porous receiving layer is based on PE paper (an amalgamation of normal paper pressed between two layers of polyethylene on both sides), a higher quality base that does not absorb humidity and is more stable overall. This coating holds the ink closer to the surface, making the image appear brighter and colours more accurate.  This coating also has a water resistance element and is very fast drying allowing immediate handling and multi-copy printing.  It also provides a better colour definition with a deeper, more solid black than the cast coated paper. Micro-porous and nano-porous papers are available in Glossy, Satin and Matt finish.

Photographic Paper Finish

There are three common alternatives to give the print a desired look. These three are measured on a scale of sheen from the most to the least. The choice of one over the other is often a personal one, though there are also some practical considerations to take into account.

Glossy – The most widely used is the glossy finish, which includes the highest levels of sheen. It gives the print a highly colorful look with a wide colour spectrum. However, when viewed from an angle in strong lighting conditions, the print may be harder to see due to reflection of the surface. In the right conditions, glossy finish can make the print look vibrant and a real feast for the eyes.  Glossy paper is also least suitable for framing behind glass.

Satin – You may come across satin as semi-gloss, pearl and luster depending on the manufacture. These are all essentially light sheen options that make viewing from angles in strong lighting conditions easier to view. In one word, satin is a more ‘flexible’ option.

Matt – Also referred to as matte, this option does not contain any glare and will rarely prove to be the preferred choice when a wide colour gamut is required. However, high quality matt photo paper with 15gsm of coating can help produce artistic looking prints, often when black and white photos are concerned.

Photographic Paper Weight – The last consideration is the weight of the paper, measured in GSM or Grammes Per Square Meter. In the not so long past, the higher the weight was, the better quality the paper was thought to be. We now know (and so do you) that other factors such as receiving layer are as important to determine quality. When incorporated with a suitable receiving layer, higher GSM will equal a print that feels heavy when held and pleasing to look at.

Enjoy your printing. If you have any questions, leave your comment below.