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  • Writer's pictureEllen Fisch

The Art of Architectural Photography: Tips for Building A Photography Portfolio

A Photography or Art Portfolio is essentially a statement of your work. The Portfolio represents who you are: the nature of your photography/art; how you express yourself and the medium(s) in which you choose to convey that self-expression. The are other subtle aspects to the Portfolio; however, the main purpose of a Portfolio, your body of work, is to let viewers know your personal point of view through your work.

In creating a Portfolio, a body of your work, there are a myriad of details that should be included. Here are but several of the most important components of building your Portfolio to consider:

1. Who are you?

This may seem self evident; however, although you may understand your point of view, others may not. And, the work included in your Portfolio must speak for itself as your representative. As you build your Portfolio carefully consider how others will perceive you through the images they see.

In the first place, decide who you are in terms of your work. Are you a painter, photographer, architect, sculptor. graphic designer? Or is your Portfolio a reflection of your multiple talents? I personally would limit my own Portfolio to JUST ONE medium of expression. It is possible to have various Portfolios or websites, each targeting one of your many forms of expression. Or you may certainly build one site or Portfolio and divide it according to your specialties.

2. What are you expressing through your photography?

A critical function of your Portfolio is to express yourself with a clear identity. When someone looks at your Portfolio, that person should understand who you are as a photographer.

Are you a floral or bridal photographer? Are you a photographer who photographs many different subjects in black and white? Do you do head shots for actors/models? Portraits? Sports? Abstracts?

The moment someone opens your Portfolio, that viewer should understand your Photography Persona. It is imperative that your audience, whether one person or many, have a clear understanding of your focus. Build the Portfolio with that in mind. If you have no specific focus or subject that is the singular theme of your work, and you just love to take pictures, you may become one of a legion of photo takers. This is FINE. In that case, lay out your best work and let the photographs speak for themselves. However, if you are a serious photographer who wants to make a "name/reputation" for yourself in one discipline of photography/art , then it is my recommendation to select the area of photography in which you truly excel and build a Portfolio around that specialty.

3. Which photographs do I include?

In the case of a photography Portfolio, of course you would want to highlight your best work. Choose a Portfolio format, whether it be a physical folio or a website, to showcase your photographs. Much of my photography is conceptualized in a portrait-style format, vertical or even square rather than the horizontal landscape format. Therefore, my physical book Portfolio is vertical. Most computer monitors accommodate horizontal or square imagery best and therefore my website is laid out horizontally (a few pages are more squarish); however, the verticals, squares and horizontals are grouped together on separate pages. This allows the viewer to recognize the image shape as a critical aspect of the composition of each photograph. Most of the time, I prefer to show same-theme images that are arranged in similar-size collections to emphasize the importance of subject through its dimensions. The themes may be place, particular architecture, black and white photography or sepia or color, natural architecture and so forth.

You should consider choosing a style, size and groupings or solo image pages for your "book" and/or website that complement the themes and sizing of your photography.

It is also important to select complementary photographs to be in proximity with each other. If you are including many subjects and styles of photographs, place still life together, portraits within their own section, specific themes and so on. This exhibits the care and thought you give your work. If you are limiting your book to a speciality area of photography, lay out the images to support and create a dynamic feel as the pages of the Portfolio are turned by your audience.

4. Finally, the Portfolio is a way to visually communicate with your viewer. Infuse your passion for photography into your Portfolio. Express to your viewer your love of the medium and your subject!

Black and White Photography Portfolio pages:

Black and White Photography: Architectural Shapes

Black and White Photography: Vintage Architectural and Details

Black and White Photography: Natural Architecture

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