To help us figure how to create a portfolio that will grab the attention of agencies and editors, we’ve called upon Auckland-based photography consultant, Christina Force and Sydney-based food and advertising photographer Janyon Boshoff.
Janyon’s portfolios literally jumped out at me as they were passing through production, with their coordinated linen covers and bold embossed titles, and the imagery inside totally lived up to the expectation set by the cover. “I’ve never stopped printing portfolios,” said Boshoff, “because creative people who look at screens all day, prefer a book of curated images to yet another electronic device or a quick glance at a website.”
Christina Force agrees, “Agencies now assume you’ll show them a digital file so when photographers pull out a beautiful folio with gorgeous printed images the creatives absolutely love it. By showing a printed folio you’re not only standing out from the crowd but creating a more memorable experience. The printed book is a way to help them take a break from technology and have a tactile experience. Nothing beats it in a one-to-one meeting.”
But how do you get your portfolio in front of decision-makers?
Janyon uses different formats for this mission. “Momento Pro’s small softcover books look and feel fantastic, the print quality is excellent and they’re affordable enough to distribute widely. So in cases where it’s difficult to get a meeting with an agency or company, I send them out as a calling card. They’re like a visual time-bomb that can float around until it finds the person who’s meant to see it.”
Promo cards are also a cost-effective way to present a short photo essay, with the added bonus that they can be pinned on a board or stuck to a wall, keeping your work in their line of sight, making you harder to forget and easier to recall.
In situations where he’s lucky enough to score a meeting with an agency, Janyon presents a different version of his portfolio – an 8-colour inkjet printed, Cotton Rag edition. At 420 x 297mm in size, it’s hard to ignore and it does his images justice. This is also the version he leaves at reception for directors who don’t have time to meet. “If your portfolio is a standout piece, it represents your authentic self and is on point with what the agency is looking for, it gives you a great chance to land the job.“
Janyon worked with Christina Force to craft his Advertising + Food portfolio set, starting out with what Christina calls a Power Blitz. She delved into Janyon’s photo collection to uncover the images that were the most evocative and show stopping, to identify his best core style. Next they chatted about the selection to ensure it was aligned with his best work and target clients. Christina feels that the most important thing, “is to choose images that represent the work you want to be shooting more of, and remember, clients want to be inspired, rather than be shown their competitors’ work.” #video
As you can see in the video above, they gave the advertising imagery more space to shine with only one image per double page, while the food folio presented two images per spread. The result is sophisticated, simple and clean. When choosing the paper stock, binding style and cover materials, Christina “lets the work we’ve selected dictate the finishes, and I encourage photographers to choose a cover that will make them stand out.” Janyon opted for Storm Linen with his logo embossed in black teamed with a contrasting Salt & Pepper Linen and a white custom emboss, to make his statement.
Many photographers have a broad repertoire, and even if they update their portfolios annually there are limitations to how many images can be included in a printed book. This is where Instagram comes into its own. If you’re asked to show your latest work, you can simply dial up your feed. So if you want to ensure your digital and analogue portfolios grab attention, keep them fresh, but most importantly be strategic with your creation – do your homework make sure you understand the companies or brands you’re pitching to and ensure your posts or pages are the right fit.
Get 25% off a Power Blitz session with Christina Force*
Start 2018 with a cracking new portfolio following a Power Blitz session with Christina Force. She’s offering Momento Pro customers 25% off a Power Blitz at NZ$712.50 until 30 June 2018. You’ll send up to 300 photos via Dropbox, Christina will select the heroes, then she’ll Skype to chat about your direction and the type of clients you want to target. *Use the code MOMENTO to redeem the offer and head to christinaforce.net for more information.
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About the author
Libby Jeffery, co-founder and Marketing Manager of Momento Pro, has spent 13 years conversing with photographers and the community they sell to, work for and interact with. In a past life she was an online journalist, so blogging fulfills her interest in writing and allows Momento Pro to share information that can help photographers produce the best books or albums possible, to successfully self publish or land a publishing deal, and identify practices that help improve their photography business