How to Build a Photography Portfolio

How to Build a Photography Portfolio

A photography portfolio is every photographer’s secret to getting new clients. If you’re an aspiring photographer, a photography portfolio is your statement to prospective clients about who you are and what your unique style is. In turn, it also gives clients an idea of what to expect from your work, giving them the confidence to book you for upcoming jobs.

A photography portfolio also provides a way to catalogue your skills and document how your style changes over time. It gives you a reason to practice and refine your skills, honing your craft and developing your style with a clear direction of the kind of work you’d like to continue to build.

5 Steps to Build a Photography Portfolio

When it comes to learning how to build a photography portfolio, consider why you need the portfolio in the first place. Are you trying to book paid work in a certain area? Are you applying to an art school? Or do you simply want to showcase your work to friends and family?

If you’re seeking work as a wedding photographer, for instance, there’s no point creating a photography portfolio full of street art and architectural photography. Sure, you might include a variety to showcase your range, but ideally, you’d want your portfolio to include wedding photography, portraits or couples photoshoots.

1. Define your personal photography style

Before you create your photography portfolio, consider how you’d like to be perceived. Ensure you are showcasing different types of photography to illustrate your range. At the same time, you also want to show consistency in your work so clients know what they’re getting when they book with you. If your subject matter or style is too broad, it looks unorganised to prospective clients.

Think about your artistic style, or, if you’re not sure what that might be, consider how you’ll build it out. Experiment with various shooting and editing styles until you find a style that suits you best.

For instance, some photographers prefer a soft, romantic look, whereas others prefer a sharper, more structured look. Gather inspiration on Pinterest, or borrow stylistic elements from your favourite photographers, like dreamy sunset tones.

photography portfolio

2. Decide on content

Now comes the fun part; how to build your photography portfolio! Selecting the right photos for your portfolio can take some time, but it is crucial, especially if you’re looking to secure specific kinds of work.

Take your time and select images in the photography field you’re interested in showcasing. If you’re trying to branch into a specific kind of photography but you don’t have many samples, start your portfolio with the specific shots you do have. Follow those with similar photography or editing styles.

Either way, the first and last image in your portfolio and those on your website’s homepage should be the best; either very intriguing images or very striking images.

3. Create a photography portfolio website

Your photography portfolio website should be a true representation of your talent. Therefore, you should put adequate time into making it look presentable. The last thing you want is for the quality of your website to make your photos or service look unprofessional.

Platforms like WordPress, Wix or Koken are very easy to use and have easy-to-navigate themes you can use as templates. You may have to pay a hosting fee and pay for your theme, but it will be well worth it when people start to visit your site seeking your business.

For your photography website, a very simple, visually led website is usually the best way to display your work. Your website should be easy to navigate and clearly list your contact details.

It may be attempting to display your photos at the highest possible resolution. But keep in mind that this may slow down your website, making it difficult for visitors to load your site.

Like your portfolio, ensure that your website has a clear, consistent theme. It should also clearly showcases your speciality, whether that’s weddings, portraits, landscapes or corporate photos.

Consider also using visual-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to showcase your best work and gain visibility.

photography portfolio

4. Refine your images

Once you have built your website and your photography portfolio, start to really refine your images and condense your portfolio. If you’re not 100% happy with your portfolio, you can always include just a few select images and build on it as you grow your skills.

Similarly, if you’re trying to work your way into a different photography field but you don’t have enough portfolio images, include the ones you do have. These might be photos that are most relevant to the category you’re trying to break into. From there, you can build your portfolio. You can even do an ad hoc shoot with friends at highly discounted rates or even unpaid. If it will help you eventually land more clients, it will be well worth it. Not only that; it will also help you refine your skills.

For instance, if you’re trying to make your way into wedding photography, fill your portfolio with relevant wedding images, portraits, family photos and couples’ photography.

If you’re low on content, offer to do a couple’s photoshoot for friends who are newly married or recently engaged. That way you can grow your skills and build your photography portfolio.

photography portfolio image

5. Produce high-quality prints

Lastly, aside from the photography portfolio online, you’ll also want a high-quality photography portfolio book to show prospective clients or even just to show family and friends. You could also use the prints to decorate your home office or darkroom as you grow your business further.

Finally, once you have your photography portfolio website and you’re more established as a photographer, ask your clients for testimonials. You can use these for your website and printed portfolio.

photography portfolio

If you can, start by asking friends or acquaintances and then ask every client you acquire. You can create a feedback template that you can send every single client. Not only will this help you gather feedback to improve and refine your service, but it will also provide you with valuable recommendations that may convince others to purchase your services.

Once you have your favourite portfolio images, you can create canvas prints,  or high-gloss acrylic prints or metal prints to adorn your office space. You can even offer these printed photographs as a part of your service. Shop our print services today.


Megan is Canvas Factory's resident Social & Content Manager, and has worked with countless other homewares and interior design businesses over the years. It goes without saying that she also has a passion for decorating her own home!

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