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How to Present Your Photographic Portfolio and Get Photography Work

An example Tearsheet - see more here

An example Tearsheet

Many of our readers are looking to take their photography from a hobby to something that earns them an income. Today Jonathan Pollack shares some tips on using your portfolio to get photographic work.

You’ve built your photographic portfolio and you feel that you’re ready to present it to a potential customer, vendor, art director, or gallery. You’ve collected hundreds of photos that you think are great and representative of your style. What strategies can help you wow them with your work?

  1. Research the person you will be meeting with and their photographic style and background. Think of their perspective when reviewing somebody’s portfolio and the type of photography they would like to see. A photo editor of a fashion magazine will want to see a different type of work than their counterpart at a food magazine. If you cannot reliably – and naturally – envision your style working out for them, you probably aren’t going to be a good fit. They’ll know it, and by the end of the meeting, you’ll know it, too.
  2. Have a number of different portfolios that you shop around. An engaged couple is going to want to see primarily engagement and wedding photos, not newborns or corporate headshots. A band is going to want to see music- and band-related images. While I feel that it’s always fine to show some breadth to anybody you meet with, I make sure to show depth in specific areas in each portfolio.
  3. You went through your portfolio, right? Good, now review it again. If you think an image isn’t perfect, either make it perfect or remove it from your portfolio. Spend some time grouping images into categories that make sense and present them that way.
  4. Don’t forget to refresh your portfolio periodically with new photos. As you work more, you’re going to end up with new favorites, so include them and let less outstanding images drop out of the collection.

I’ve put my editorial portfolio online to share with anybody interested. Just go to my photography site and type the code “Editorial Portfolio” under the slideshow on any page.

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Jonathan Pollack

Jonathan Pollack is a photographer who shows his work at J. Pollack Photography. He shoots regularly for the St. Louis publications Sauce Magazine and St. Louis Magazine and has a number of photos appearing in national publications in the coming months. He also loves shooting weddings, other family and lifecycle events, and for corporate and non-for-profit clients.

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