When Leigh Beisch and David Martinez first decided to redo their portfolios we had long conversations about how creatives that were interested in their work would be using those tools. Times had changed and we wanted to make sure if they were investing all of that time and money into new tools that they were relevant.
We reminded them that the last time they had redone their portfolios the trend was to show a wide range of imagery that told the entire photographer’s story. Even though websites were the go to place to see work, creatives were still calling in books. The idea was that you had to make sure your book told as wide of a story as the website did just to make sure you were covered.
The result was big books (or multiple books) and lots of images. It was not uncommon for some of the portfolios in our group to be 50 or so pages each.
Now, creatives rarely call in portfolios and rely solely on the web. So, when a portfolio is actually requested, the photographer is of course seriously being considered. That means the portfolio not only needs to be outstanding all on its own but it needs to outshine whoever else is on the table.
What we finally landed on for their portfolios were ones that could communicate to creatives that they understood how they reviewed photography for their clients.
• Instead of a large library of images, we showed a small, select group of relevant work.
• Instead of a linear flow of imagery we divided the spreads into the same categories as the clients used to describe their own business. For example, for Leigh Beisch we used categories such as breakfast food, coffee, wine, desserts, ice cream, etc. For David Martinez, we modeled the categories after what people saw on his site; Wellness, Golden Years, Graceful, Wonder Years and Vision. We recognized that if clients were calling in their portfolios, they already knew they were capable. We did not need to prove that to them in the portfolio. Instead we wanted their viewing experience to be relevant to their project and their client.
• Instead of just including single images on each page, we utilized design elements and text as a way for Leigh and David to share their personalities. Leigh’s work is soft and beautiful and so is her portfolio. David’s work is full of movement and beauty. His imagery is full of life and style and so is his portfolio.
• So many of Leigh’s clients like to know what projects she has recently photographed. The tear sheet section help illustrate that best. As well, since the food industry is so loyal and word of mouth dependant, it is helpful to have a client testimonial section.
• Since David Martinez has been shooting video for many of his clients now it was important to be able to show that off in the portfolio. On the last page of his book we now have a video page where clients can watch the actual videos without having to go online. It has been a huge hit. If you want to see it for yourself, email us and we will send it right out to you.
As the other photographers in our group begin to change their portfolios, it has been fun to watch what new elements they incorporate. Stay tuned soon for new portfolios from Andy Anderson and Ron Berg.