Portfolio Edits: To Mix or Not to Mix

Question: Should work be mixed together in one main portfolio or be broken down into very specific portfolios according to subject matter? Does anyone take the time to look at individual portfolios? Vision?

If you have one style and one consistent subject matter or common thread, one portfolio is good … no it’s GREAT! As the viewer, this means that I get to know very quickly what you do and how well you do it. However, in today’s commercial market, most artists have multiple types of images that usually show best when separated.

You want the viewer to know what you do quickly and effectively. If you shoot still life and lifestyle, do your images work better in multiple portfolios or as one?

The Marketing Lab  Portfolio Edits  Jill Broussard Photography resized 600

© Jill Broussard

If you do portraits and lifestyle, do your images work best apart or together?

The Marketing Lab  Portfolio Edits  Natalie Young Photography resized 600

© Natalie Young

What is the best approach if you illustrate and do photo compositing?

The Marketing Lab  Portfolio Edits  Illustrator Mike Carter Studios resized 600

© Mike Carter

The examples above portray artists who showcase each specialty in individual portfolios for a quicker read and better experience on their website.

How to Break Your Portfolio Apart

  1. Edit your work into categories: portraits, lifestyle, travel, etc.
  2. Look at how many images you have per category – usually I recommend no less than 15 and no more than 30.
  3. Add them to your site in categories worded appropriately for a quick read.
  4. Ask two to three creatives -not your peers- to review your site and make sure it looks good, reads quickly and visually communicates both what you want and can do.
  5. Re-launch your site with your new edit.

How to Merge Your Styles Together

However, there are many photographers and illustrators who successfully blend their styles into one portfolio. Here are a few steps for merging work together:

  1. Edit your images that complement one another. For example, let’s say you shoot still life and people – show someone drinking OJ and then an orange on seamless.
  2. Flow the images to tell a story – pairing images on your site best accomplishes this.
  3. Add them to your site as a main portfolio worded appropriately for a quick read.
  4. Ask two to three creatives to review your site and make sure it looks good, reads quickly and visually communicates what you want to do and are capable of. Again, keep in mind to shy away from asking your peers.
  5. Re-launch your site with your new edit.

Should I be Concerned with Print?

Let me take it one step further. When you decide to go into print, mixing up the content can often work in your favor. For example, if you are a food photographer who also shoots people, show the client you can shoot both their product and the person enjoying the product.

The Marketing Lab  Portfolio Edits  Rob Grimm Photography resized 600

© Rob Grimm

GOOD LUCK. And remember this: your site is your place to shine and show off your work. Use your website as real estate and capitalize on it.

About Amanda

Amanda Sosa Stone is sought after from clients all around the world: Germany, Moscow, England, Mexico, Spain and her homeland, the United States. She has been praised for working on talents like Jim Krantz, the 2010 International Photographer of Year, Nick Onken and National Geographic Assignment Division (with co- consultant Suzanne Sease). She works with clients from all genres, Commercial to Consumer. With her editing being her true passion and love, she has also worked hard to develop many marketing approaches that are proven effective. Nothing feeds Amanda’s creative soul more seeing results and seeing her clients reach their goals. Joining forces with Agency Access in May of 2010, Amanda is their in-house marketing and industry consultant as well as continuing to work with her own clients. Amanda Sosa Stone

Related Articles:

1. The Portfolio Edit: Curating Your Chaos

2. 11 Components of a Successful Portfolio

3. My Marketing Adventure: Editing my Portfolio Website

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