Designing a Portfolio
“So what type of work do you shoot?”
This question stumps photographers
all the time. Clarity about your work
can lead to successful jobs. In the
recent issue of PDN, Chip shares the
secret behind designing a portfolio
and how it landed him a huge job.
“I made this for you…”
Parents love the work their children make for them. The artistic merits of the junio Picasso might be in question, but what our little Picasso understands is that designing work with someone in mind can garner special attention. In photography, specificity is appreciated. Editors, gallery owners, and buyers lead busy lives. While they might have time to pour through eight hundred images in your photographic journal, they prefer to see a handful of carefully selected pictures. Designing a powerful portfolio can be the difference between getting your foot in the door or waiting in the cold watching others pass by.
Chip Forelli, who I interviewed a few months ago, shared a success story of his in the recent issue of PDN magazine. One thing I love about Chip is he knows his strengths and plays them up perfectly. His images are sublime, black and white scenes shot in larger formats (4×5 and medium format) all on film. The graphic power of these types of images lends itself to the industrial jobs he was seeking. Often working in the wee hours of the morning or late at night, Chip is a solitary photographer. Whether he is on a oil derrick in the Gulf or racing next to a BMW motorcycle, his images communicate a clear sense of design. As expected, clients love this and have been coming back to Chip ever since.
A Helping Hand
With years of successful work behind him Chip now offers consulting services for the full range of any photographers needs. From film processing to digital scanning or portfolio services he is available to share his knowledge with you. People ask me all the time, “How do I make the transition to being a professional photographer?” There is no single answer to this question, but one golden piece of advice I got was, “Find someone you like and talk to them.” Even if this is outside of your comfort zone (which it was for me) it is worth it. Most photographers are generous people who are willing to help out dedicated start ups to making it in photography. Check out my interview with Chip here and visit Chip’s site to see more of his work.