Today’s Professional Photography buyers are using websites to, not only look, but also to purchase and assign work. Your total website is your online visual calling card. It is the first introduction that many buyers will have to your vision, talent, service and your professionalism. The portfolio section of your site is now a huge selling opportunity and photographers who think of a web site, as a repository for “extra images” must change their approach. It’s time to begin to build your online portfolio.
Online Portfolios While photographers are eager to develop web sites, few spend the time, effort and money to design and build an online portfolio. The online portfolio found within your site must succinctly deliver your visual message. The images must tell your viewers the type of work you shoot and communicate your visual style.
Your vision must be apparent from beginning to end online, and the image selection must have legs but still remain within your visual range. The order and placement of your images needs to represent the care that you have taken when developing this important area within your site. This section must truly be a complete portfolio.
Portfolio is the key word, as I am asking you to define your vision, understand your markets needs and develop visuals that speak to both. Once images are created they need to be sized and paginated. You should develop your online portfolio with the same focus, effort and dedication that you apply to your print portfolio.
If you have a print book that has been worked on recently and clearly expresses what you do and your style of shooting, it’s a pretty safe bet that the images within speak to your vision and are appropriate for your online portfolio.
If you have no Book then DEVELOP Your Vision First
If you currently do not have a print portfolio that is vision based or have not yet to taken the step to define your vision, do so now and then begin to develop your web site. To develop a site without an understanding of your visual message is the key mistake that all too many professionals make. The format, color scheme, and design of your online portfolio won’t matter if the content and message is scattered.
How to Brand Your Online and Print Portfolios
After defining your vision, shooting new images, sizing and pagination your online portfolio you will want to work with your web designer on the physical and design components for your site and for your portfolio, section. The goal is to look to your current print portfolio and integrate the look of the site with your current tools.
If, you are due for a remake of your corporate identity, let your vision lead the way. Color, type, navigation and speed are all options that your designer should consider when creating a online portfolio and housing.
The goal is to develop a series of advertising tools that all have the same look and feel. This creates consistency of design, which adds to your memorability factor.
For those of you who are ready to throw your print books away, forget it. Don’t be fooled. Buyers on most mid sized and high-end assignments still make decisions based on print portfolios.
It is way to early to dump your print book for an online version, and it’s never to soon to begin the process of building portfolios print and online that clearly communicate your message!