When I was writing that "one wedding picture" portfolio post published yesterday, just so I'd have my facts straight in the third-to-last paragraph I called my old friend Kevin, the one who used to have the 150 5x7 transparencies from which he'd build custom 12-to-15-piece portfolios. He told me something interesting—he mentioned that the evolution of his portfolio took a step backwards when he stopped being able to do in-person presentations to potential clients, for one simple but crucial reason—the feedback stopped.
He said he used to try to do personal presentations whenever possible, but eventually it became conventional for art directors to insist on drop-offs. With in-person meetings to present his portfolio, he saw what people liked and disliked, heard comments pro and con—and what he learned was reflected in the ongoing development of his portfolio. With drop-offs, you lose that.
In that sense, the current common form of the "portfolio"—the photographer's website—might be the worst. It's great for ease of access and ease of maintenance (and low wear and tear!—no more having to replace pieces when the lamination gets scratched or the mats get scuffed), but not only do you not get to tailor the portfolio for specific clients or specific jobs (you pretty much have to put up on your site everything anybody might want to see)—but you never get any feedback (other than when you're hired). Gone are the hints and clues as to which pictures are working for you and which might be turning clients off or away.
I'm not sure I know a sensible way around that, or any way of compensating for it, but I thought it was an interesting observation, worth passing on.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.