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Why The Printed Portfolio Matters

*Main photo credit to Janice Moses Represents

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the printed portfolio. Both out in the industry and here at Agency Access.

Do you really need a printed portfolio anymore?

About a year ago, when I joined the Agency Access team, we had only just begun to print portfolios. I really didn’t take much notice until last month when I received a call from someone referred to me by Brewer-Cantelmo for portfolio printing. We chatted and I brought up Agency Access printed portfolios. We ended up setting up a meeting so that I could show a few samples.

In the office the next day, I ventured into the print room and saw a portfolio we were printing and was blown away. The quality was outstanding, and the speed they could be printed was incredible. When I was at Gotham, printing a portfolio took weeks. The Pulitzer Prize submission portfolios for the New York Times took months. The only thing better than the speed was the cost; at Agency Access, we do it for a fraction of the price.

I spoke with a few friends and members on how they felt about the printed portfolio and here is what they said:

PORTFOLIOAaron Cameron Muntz

“In a world where we are inundated with images on screen, I think it’s more important than ever for photographers to see and show their work in print. The portfolio is, at the very least, the simplest, most effective place for that need to manifest. As a selling tool it’s an opportunity to show off so many important aspects of our personalities, a sense of style, wit, and attention to detail, all in a matter of 30 or so pieces of paper. And as an art form, the printed portfolio is an opportunity to create a physical catalog of my work that tells the story of what I’m doing right now, what’s important to me, what is my momentum and direction. In the printed piece, we are forced to make more calculated and exact decisions, where a website is more malleable and flippant.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.55.44 AMJonathan Bielaski

His need to have a curated book has become more and more important in the digital age. Jonathan has personally watched as art producers skip over the iPads to look at the printed books. Creatives tend to feel that they can view images on their site; having something tactile in this digital age is paramount! He used to have an apprehension when it came to naked pages without sleeves, however, his book has seen roughly 60 meetings with naked pages with no noticeable damage reported.

05_2016_Her_Journey_FINALChristopher Winton-Stahle recently wrote about the experience with encountered with his printed portfolio for the ASMP Strictly Business blog. He feels like his printed book took his business to the next level. While in a meeting with a very prestigious ad agency with the initials W+K, some of the art producers stated that “they still love print”. Chris also uses printed booklets (a smaller tighter edited portfolio) as leave behinds for meetings and such.

Brad Smith – Former Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated

“Whichever format you choose to present your work is up to each individual. However, there is still nothing quite like an actual hard bound book. Turning the pages, your hands actually touching each photo; it’s a connection you’ll never have with a digital form. It’s a connection you can’t put a price on.”

Michael Ash – Photo Agent

“Pictures should live on paper, a printed book inspires the viewer, there is nothing like it.”

If you know Michael, you know he loves to give a live presentation flipping through the book telling stories. You can’t do that with a tablet.

In today’s digital age, Instagram has people looking at old school processes while a printed book harkens back to a more gentile time. For me, a beautifully produced book lets the potential client know the thoughtfulness you will bring to their project. If you are only showing a tablet device, you should reconsider and think about investing in a printed portfolio.

Peter Berberian

Born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, Peter Berberian is an New York photo industry veteran. His career has run the gamut from photographer to master printer, art consultant and most recently, Director of Brand Development for Agency Access. Berberian was introduced to photography by his 60’s fashion photographer Uncle at a very young age. This is what sparked his interested and motivated him to attend the School of Visual arts. Here, he was educated on black and white printing while apprenticing under Sid Kaplan After seeing the shift from film to digital he opened up Gotham Imaging, a high end boutique print studio, specializing in ink-jet printing. In 2013, Berberian moved to Columbus Ohio to work as an art consultant to the Pizzuti Collection. He made his return to NYC in March 2015 and began his work with Agency Access in May.

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  • Scott Hamilton - 3 years ago

    I recently printed 3 portfolios and feel totally reborn. The feedback from agencies in my local market is off the charts especially with the younger 20’something art directors who really are into the tactile no different than vinyl records.

    I feel that I have really refined the process down using my Epson 3880, using INdesign to arrange the flow in spreads then outputting those spreads as high res pdf’s for printing out of Photoshop. The iNdesign step is really important to me.

    A heavyweight matte double sided stock printed at high speed 1400dpi gives me a 13×19 print in under 3 minutes. Scored several times with cheapo scorer from Staples, punched with hole punch and bamm an entire portfolio in 4 hours soup to nuts with about 60bucks all in

    I will never show on iPad again. Those were the dark ages.

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