Print Portfolio v Digital Portfolio

Last year I created a website which acts as an online portfolio and showcases my best photographs. This year I want to make a printed portfolio that compliments what I have done online.

I hope the online portfolio will help me to get in front of potential clients but when I am face to face with a client a printed portfolio will be easier to look at together and will hopefully enable me to stand out from other people. It means that I won’t have to rely on a wi-fi connection or be caught out by low batteries or electronic malfunctions. And it means that I have complete control over how my photos are displayed to clients so that images are not affected by low resolution screens or screens that are set to the wrong display size or colour settings.

A printed portfolio shows that I have taken the time to prepare and come along to meet with a client with images that I am ready to show off. So much better than just telling them a url to to look up. There is something about the tactile nature of a book or prints that makes the experience of looking at photographs more memorable.

There are any number of distractions that can interrupt viewing on a computer, especially email notifications or adverts but a printed portfolio allows clients to focus directly on my photos with no opportunity to navigate away.

On the downside, it is more costly and time-consuming to update a printed portfolio than it is a digital portfolio. Also, if it is too big, a printed portfolio can be a real pain to carry around and then there is the problem of keeping it smart, neat and not battered or dented at the corners.

Despite the failings of a printed portfolio I think it is still a useful tool for today’s photographers.

Portfolio Inspiration

I love the Lonely Planet magazine and would love to see my photographs printed in its pages so I’ve mocked-up a few feature pages, using Adobe Indesign, just to see what it looks like. Although the photographs are displayed very clearly I feel that there is too much copy for use in my portfolio.

I visited an exhibition at the National Geographic Society during the summer and purchased the accompanying book, The Tuareg or Kel Tamasheq: The People Who Speak Tamasheq and a History of the Sahara, edited by Henrietta Butler. Apart from being a really interesting read, I like the way that some of the pages of photographs are laid out, with the photographs large and clear and a small amount of descriptive text. It is quite a thick book that doesn’t lay flat when it is opened and I don’t like that some of the photographs go across two pages and get lost down the deep centre crease.

I’ve also been leafing through The Family of Man, by Edward Steichen. It is a lovely book with photographs displayed on the pages clearly. The only text is a small identification for each photograph, probably not enough for my portfolio. But what I do like are the quotes that are randomly found among the images on some of the pages.

I’ve also been to the Blurb website to get some inspiration from some of the photography portfolio books on there.

  • The Harbour, Savannah, GA is nicely laid out but where there is text, it is too large and distracts from the photos.
  • Free Bird Photography has too many photographs on each page for my liking.
  • Portafolio 2014 is very nice.
  • fotographie 4 is also very nice but I prefer the photographs printed on a white page rather than on a black page.

I’ve seen another couple of website with travel portfolios that I quite like too.

I have also re-looked at the inspiration that I used to create my web portfolio – Tools for Creating a Professional Web Portfolio.

Portfolio Statement of Intent

For my Professional Practice Module I plan to create a portfolio book based on my travel photography. This is the type of work I would love to be able to do in the future so it makes sense for me to spend time creating something that could help me with that. I will focus mainly on the humanitarian aspect of my travel photography and most of the photographs used will be from my trip to Tanzania in 2015 and to India in 2014 although I will include a few other images from previous trips.

I will chose my very favourite pieces of work to show fewer excellent quality images as opposed to lots of good or ok images.

I will include some text throughout the book but will keep this limited so that the portfolio book is simple and the photographs can take centre stage.