Freelance Art Producer, Cindy Hicks Shares Her Thoughts on Portfolios and Websites

A few years ago, our blog featured Cindy Hicks and celebrated all that was special about her beyond being an art buyer/producer.  Well, since then her path has taken her to many varied places and given her many opportunities to work with great creatives and photographers.  Because of her vast experience and respected reputation, I thought she too would have some wonderful insights into what makes for a powerful portfolio or website.

In what situations do you review portfolios?
Lately I mostly view portfolios online or photographers send me a dropbox of images to look through.

Do you ever have a need anymore to call a portfolio into your agency for consideration?
Since I freelance now, so much is online, in the past couple of years, I have only viewed websites. I do miss the craft of a well done book on wonderful paper.

What advice can you give a photographer trying to determine the right number of images to put into the portfolio?
That has always been some magic number, when really it is if the images keep the viewer engaged. In the past 15-20 was the number thrown around, now flipping through images online you can go through so many with thumbnails and different sections of the work. As long as the site loads quickly & the images are of a good size the site can go deep into the body of work without feeling overwhelming. There are not too many if the right image in the mix.

Do you think showing tear sheets in the portfolio is important?
Tear sheets have a tendency to have the creative look at the design of the ad vs. the photography I think. So I like the images in the purist form, maybe with tears as thumbnails in the back of the book or a separate page of the website.

Even though websites are the primary source for reviewing photography, why should a photographer still have a portfolio?
Because there is still a demand to present work, to see the prints, the color, the craft, the fine art of it all, that could just be me. But as a art producer, I like to focus on the art of it all.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to websites?
SLOW & small images & too much flash.

Is it important to have multiple portfolios on a website or just one portfolio of hero images?
I like multiple, people, places, things, personal work.

Do you look at an entire portfolio online or just the first few images?
I look at everything, I like to see the scope of the artists skill & what they choose to show. If I am only looking for something very particular; like food I may just scan that work.

Do you see any unique trends happening with websites lately?
They seem to be more functional & practical not overly designed, focusing on the photography; as it should. I do see photographers incorporating their Instagram images into their sites, to show that photography is an everyday thing, not just work.

How important is navigation when reviewing a website?
Huge, nothing makes me leave a site faster than a buggy site, slow or not logical in it’s design.

Do you ever use the Print Your Own PDF feature offered on some websites?
Yes I do, that help gather images selected for the job. I have also created a Pinterest page to use as a mood board.



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