Build a Better Portfolio

build-a-better-portfolioIf you are an artist, of any type, looking to get hired, you must have a portfolio available to display the best of your previous work. Not just a thrown together group of images, you need a great, functional, easy to use portfolio of images. I work with many photographers so portfolios are something I deal with quite a bit, in addition to needing to put one together myself. Here are some tips I’ve put together to get you started in creating a better portfolio.

Ditch the Flash

Why are you still using flash? We are a mobile world now and flash just is not mobile friendly. I know, it looks great to you and there are templates that make it easy for you, but a portfolio is more about function and displaying your great work. You don’t need a flashy interface to detract from your quality. Flash is also slow to load, which brings me to my next point….

Speed Matters

This is one of those all around tips. A slow website will negatively affect your search engine rankings, but it will also cause people to back right out of your site. In today’s rush rush lifestyle, we just don’t have time, or desire, to wait. We want it and we want it now. Pay more for a great hosting service that isn’t overloading servers with websites.

Navigation is Necessary

I mention navigation a lot. I’m not referring to just portfolio navigation, but also whole site navigation. Your site visitors want to see your work, make it easy for them to find! Once you’ve done that, focus on the navigation within your portfolio. Make sure you have previous/next arrows or text. Navigating from one portfolio image to the next should be a nice flow.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

It’s better to show one great image as opposed to three mediocre images. Only release the best of your best. If you have the slightest doubt, don’t post it. An okay image will degrade the quality of your best image. I can’t count how many times I ask myself why an artist included a certain image, one that clearly isn’t their best. Your portfolio is a representation of you, only put your best self out there.

Badly Cropped Thumbnails

If your portfolio uses thumbnails, make sure they are cropped nicely. Sometimes the thumbnail is auto-cropped and beyond your control. But don’t settle until you’ve tried everything you can to get a good thumbnail crop. A non-cropped thumbnail would be far better than a badly cropped thumbnail.

Well Designed Site

You must have a well designed site. Simple is best for an artist, you want your work noticed, not your website. Don’t allow your website to detract from the work you produce. Your website should be clean, display properly and not look like it was put together in 1998. Let’s review your site and see what we can do to it!

Relax the Security

Just relax. Allow your images to be shared. What gets shared, gets noticed. Watermark those images (super important!!) and turn off the disabling of right-click. If you’ve properly watermarked, you shouldn’t worry about stealing. Let your site visitors share those images, either on facebook or by saving them to their own computer to share later. Every share, in any form, is beneficial to you, let it happen!

Easy Contact

Two things fall in here- get your name out there and be easy to contact. If you are operating under a business name or a username somewhere, that is perfectly fine, but put your real name out there. Be personable. Allow your soon-to-be clients to know and use your name when contacting you. Make it easy for them to reach you, get a contact form on your site and/or an email address. And, as stated, make it easy to find in your navigation!

Your portfolio is one of the first steps in getting hired, make it work for you instead of against you. Now, I’m going to go check on my own portfolio and see what I can improve. I know it’s not the portfolio I originally had in mind so I settled because clients come first!

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