Building My Portfolio


There is something about having my daughter that has inspired me to do more. I have always loved photography and have been doing a gig here or there the past two years. Lately, I have been thinking, and feeling more motivated than ever to actually make this business work.  On the other hand, I also see myself climbing up the consulting food chain into some sort of executive role (ah, dilemma). Nevertheless, both paths are worth pursuing for now until I get a clear sign of which path is working for me. I believe it will happen organically and only time will tell…

Which ever path I follow, I will need a portfolio, a vision, and a purpose. Whether it be an impressive resume or a beautiful online portfolio, both need some sort of physical example showing how successful I am in the field. The idea of a portfolio is to show off your experience and best work, which can at least gets you an email from a recruiter or potential client expressing interest.

So, I looked at my portfolio and evaluated it with honesty and put my ego to the side – it needs improvement. My portfolio is half-done, the pictures do not focus on one style or theme, and the about me section could use a lot of work. This is one way of the most effective ways of showing potential clients why they should choose me as their event photographer – and it’s not quite convincing. Below, I am going to share with you my thoughts and plan on how I am going to tackle updating my portfolio. Although this for a photography portfolio, perhaps, some of the more general ideas could be applied to a variety of portfolios. I researched some other photographers portfolios and completed an awesome course on Lynda taught by a professional photographer – Chris Orwig. Now, I am ready to start planning and make some changes.

  1. Vision

Before I begin updating my portfolio, I wanted to re-think my vision and purpose. This will help me decide which pictures I would like to showcase, and also with my ‘about me’ section.

Why do I want to be a photographer? Easy, I like to take pictures of people.

What type of photography do I want to do? I want to focus on event photography for corporate events, conferences and non-profit functions. However, later, I will like to expand a second line of editorial work, focusing on headshots.

What is my purpose? Well, I believe that there are many reasons to hire an event photographer. The final pictures can be used for marketing purposes or for families to cherish the moment and maybe even frame them.

What is my motivation? Pursuing a career, using my natural talents, in support of my own vision and mission is quite motivating. I am not working towards someone else’s vision. It is my vision and I can make it happen.

2. Curate

When choosing pictures for your portfolio, they need to ‘go together’ by reflecting your style and vision. The curated pictures need to convince the audience that you can do the job. They should also be an example of the type of style that they will receive.

For my portfolio, I want to display pictures that are bright, clear, and document the details of the event.  I want my selection of pictures to give a glimpse of what my potential clients may receive. For this section, I am going to ruminate on this a little longer. I also need more pictures, so I will try to book a few more gigs. An online portfolio also needs a nice layout. To help me with my layout, I chose a Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Squarespace. I have used this tool for a while and I like it because the templates are easy to use, they have a lot of how-to guides and

3. About you

The ‘about me’ section is a quick way for your potential clients to get to know you and your credentials and will serve as the final determination of whether they will contact you or not. This area can be personal, showing that you will be great to work with, or it can be simple explaining what you offer.

I have decided to keep my simple. I researched other photographers and not many of them had detailed sections. However, their work speaks for itself. Generally, I noticed most ‘about me’ sections covered the basics:

  • What they offer
  • Where they offer their services
  • How long they have been doing it
  • Why they do it/what their mission is

Some people included their education background as well. Really, the ‘about me’ section or ‘bio’ is yours to put whatever you want.

Now that I have taken a step back to reevaluate my portfolio, I will focus on my vision, select more photographs, and improve my ‘about me’ section. I hope to update this post soon with my finished result. In the meantime, what service do you prefer to use to create your website?

Thanks for reading. I hope that some of these ideas and my thought process help you with your portfolio.