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Different Situations, Different Ways to Present a Portfolio

Question: How do creatives prefer to view a portfolio? What will be the future trends in showing portfolios?

When I was a photo editor, time was sometimes limited, decisions often needed to be made and meetings with photographers were not always possible.

A Matter of Time

In those cases, when I was assigning editor work such as an environmental portrait, I preferred to view the photographer’s website followed by a PDF of certain images.

But I always preferred to look at printed books for food features or fashion shoots.

Sometimes, when deadlines are not an immediate concern, photographers need to compete with other photographers head-to-head – particularly when it comes to features or advertising jobs. If the job is for a print medium, it makes all the sense in the world to present something that creatives can hold in their hands, allowing them to imagine how your photos will work with their brand, rather than limiting them to an iPad screen … even more important if the two parties can’t meet in person. In that case, your printed portfolio will be your voice – better than an iPad!

Print or PDF? Try Both!

Printed portfolios helped me determine what type of color palette the photographer was presenting. A good example of this would be food feature photographers. Often the photographer’s portfolio would arrive with some “hyper real” colors and I often wondered if that was intentional or a printing mistake. If that was the effect they were going after, great – but this also weeded out the photographers I felt wouldn’t work, because of that surreal palette.

The Marketing Lab print pdf portfolio andrea maurio photographer michael lavine resized 600

© Andrea Maurio – Andrea’s portfolio

(tear sheet image from Rodale Inc.’s Runner’s World; Michael Lavine photography)

If a photographer has been requested for an in-person meeting, I would suggest a printed book or loose prints in a clamshell box. If the job is for a print medium, a printed book would probably work best.

Of course, it never hurts to put together a PDF on your iPad to supplement the printed book.

A quick side note: A PDF is a great way to send images quickly to the client for review, especially if they want to see additional images of a particular subject matter that might not be on your website. It’s always wise to have this ready and waiting. My motto: “Be ready, so you don’t have to get ready.”

About Andrea

Andrea Maurio, prior to joining forces with Agency Access as a creative consultant/photo editor, has spent the past 15+ years honing her skills as a both a photo editor/photo shoot producer. Andrea has worked for some of the top ranking national magazines, including Runner’s World, Shape, M & F Hers, Maxim, Stuff, Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine. She earned her BA from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and currently lives on the NJ Shore with her chocolate Labrador named Nalu! Agency Access

Related Articles:

1. Print or iPad? The Portfolio Debate Continues

2. The Do’s and Don’ts of the Portfolio Review

3. 11 Components of a Successful Portfolio

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