Creating a Cohesive Portfolio
As a photo agent I am constantly looking at photographers’ work, and after 20 years in business, I have seen what it takes to become, and stay a successful photographer.
A couple months ago, I created a list of the “Top 10 Secrets to Success” on AskSternRep for photographers, and this was #1:
“Create a cohesive body of work with a consistent look. KNOW WHO YOU ARE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.”
This is such an important topic that I wanted do an in depth article on it.
What does it mean to create a cohesive body of work?
Have a statement. Know who you are as an artist and thread your style and voice into everything you create. And when you test, each “ingredient” in a shoot can be part of how you create this “stamp”; the lighting, the environments you choose, the kind of talent you use, the subject matter, even the emotion or storyline. Each element lends itself to creating your particular flavor + style.
Every image in your portfolio should look like it is STAMPED with your name on it. It should look like your work and be recognizable as yours. If it isn’t, take it out. And if it looks like it could be 17 other photographers’ images – dump it!
Your portfolio is not your resume, it is your COVER LETTER. It shows who you are and what you would bring to the party. There is no need to showcase every image you have ever taken. Show only the best, and show the images that project boldly, “this is who I am, this is what I do!”
A photographer’s portfolio gets the job, not 1 image.
The main marketing goal for any rep or photographer is to be easily findable by a client, when a client is looking to hire someone. We put ourselves in places that will help them see us. And one thing that we can do to help increase our visibility is hone in on that specialty and build a robust portfolio of work around it. We need to cover an entire topic like “fitness” or “hospitality” with a series of images as one stand alone image is not going to be enough.
The most important element to this branded “stamped” look of your portfolio is to showcase the work you want to be doing, not just the work you have done in the past. The goal here is to show not only a cohesive body of work but with that, focusing on showing the kind of work you really want more of, and in that way, making an impact which your future clients remember.
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