When it comes to being a wedding photographer, it’s important to make sure that you have the right photographs in your online portfolio. It can seem quite demanding - in fact, some photographers find that having an accurate portfolio is more challenging than shooting weddings in the first place.
Before you panic and use your portfolio as a depository for every photograph that you’ve ever taken, take a deep breath. Taking a little bit of time now to make sure that you’re showcasing your best work is important, but it’s really not so tricky.
Here are some ideas to help you work out which photographs you should include in your online wedding photography portfolio.
Why Your Wedding Portfolio Matters In The First Place
Okay, you know you need a portfolio, but do you understand why?
In the day and age of easy to create online portfolios and simple to edit templates, there really is no excuse for not using this powerful marketing tool. Combined with your Instagram, it’s the best way that you can show people what you’re about. After all, not all wedding photography is created equal, and you aren’t necessarily going to be the right person for every job.
In many cases, your online portfolio will be the first example of your photography. It will also be a great way for people to see what you’re like as a photographer - remember that you’re shooting people on the most special, but tense and highly fraught day of their lives. So take the opportunity to show prospective clients what you can do, who you’ve worked with, and essentially, why they’d be crazy not to go with you.
Keep Your Target Audience In Mind
The essence of a good portfolio is that it understands who is going to be looking at it.
Before you start trying to upload every single one of your photographs, it’s time to sit and work out who you want to market your photography to, and what you want to offer them.
If your answer is “duh, the brides!” then you have your audience. The difference is that a bride may have a very different opinion to the mother of the bride. An art director or somebody looking to use you to shoot their wedding dresses will have a fundamentally different set of needs than a wedding planner.
This also applies to the type of photograph that you want to shoot more of. If you have a specific genre or style of photography - such as black and white photography, or location weddings - then make sure that you hero your major components. It helps to be able to present yourself as the best in your specific niche, so it helps to have your ideal client worked out.
It’s also important to ensure that your photographs all look like they were taken by you. While you may have different styles, it’s important to show that your work is consistent and your skill is reliable, rather than leaving the impression that your good shots are somehow accidental.
Only Show Your Best
While it might seem advantageous to you to put a huge amount of different photographs, it’s important to exercise your editorial eye. Why? Because in spite of what you’ve heard, your portfolio as a whole is more likely to be judged on your weakest photograph than your strongest.
More is not better. You want to highlight that you are consistent and impressive. Instead of trying to showcase everything you’ve ever done, your portfolio should only really showcase 15-20 images.
But, you might think, what if I want to change it up?! Absolutely do that, but be judicious. If you want to add in new work, then it’s time to remove the weakest of the old photographs.
Show What You Do
It’s vital to make sure that you are not overpromising on something that you cannot deliver on. For instance, if you take stunning black and white photography on film, but have never really delved into much by way of digital photography, make sure you don’t promise a bright color digital experience.
It might seem like you’re casting a wider net, but it sets you up for
Also, be mindful and critical of the photographs that you choose to show. If you know in your heart of hearts that a wonderful photograph involved a particularly special combination of things which you are unlikely to be able to repeat, don’t use this to advertise your services. No matter how good the photograph might be.
This may feel a little like tough love, but your clients are looking to use your services for their needs. They don’t care the photograph was good if you’re unable to replicate the magic for them.
Bonus: Your Portfolio Isn't Just Your Portfolio
When it comes to the social-media-driven world that we live in, it’s important to realize that your portfolio might not be the only way that a prospective client comes across your portfolio. While it’s great to make sure that on various sites that you link to your portfolio, it’s also important to use social media to your benefit.
Instagram is a great way to entice people to visit your portfolio and, ultimately, hire you to be their wedding photographer. It’s a great way to give people a little taste of what they can expect, as well as to show off your personality in a casual, relaxed way.
So pick your photographs carefully, and be sure to curate your Instagram with the same kind of thought and attention that you use to create your portfolio. It’s also a great way to show your other shots, which may not have been your ultimate favorites, but which show your taste and skill.
They say that you never get a second chance at a first impression, so it’s important to recognize that your portfolio goes a long way to introducing you to prospective clients. Rather than showing a weak, unconsidered portfolio, make sure you elevate your work and give it the respect that it deserves. Give people the chance to love what you do as much as you do!
And don't forget to protect your photos before you post them online using Water Marquee.