The Checklist On Determining What Images Go Into Your Portfolio

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Don’t put every image that you shoot into your portfolio.

That’s the very first thing that I find myself telling photographers who pitch their work to the site and unfortunately don’t get featured. Figuring out which photos should go into your portfolio can be tough to do unless you know how to think and emotionally remove yourself from the photo itself.

To build a better portfolio, you have to keep shooting and then become a slave to the camera and your own creative ideas. It’s how you’ll get better and continue to evolve and change your work. But there are loads of things to think about when actually putting the photo portfolio together to show off to the world.

Here’s what you should consider, though it surely isn’t the end all be all list.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Bec's photo merge (1 of 1)ISO 2001-1600 sec at f - 1.4

– What genre am I trying to market to? I shouldn’t often pick more than two unless I’m a professional, full time photographer.

– What is this photo of and what point what I trying to get across with it? (If at any point you say “I don’t know, it…” then take it out.)

– Can I make this image stronger through a crop?

– Are there extraneous elements to this image that aren’t needed?

– Is anything distracting here from the main subject of the image?

– The Rule of Thirds aside, is the image getting its point across?

– Would this image elicit an emotion or feeling in someone? Will it be the same feeling or emotion that I had when shooting the image?

– What about this image would make a person look at it and say “wow!”?

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– What about this image would make a person that doesn’t know me or met me look at it and say “wow!”?

– What’s attractive about this image?

– Would someone who is faced with looking at lots of images in a row stop and stare at this one for a while or would they simply just keep going?

– Does the image help to get across the portfolio that I’m trying to put together?

– Is this truly some of my best work?

– If I had to sell my services to someone based on one single photo, would this photo be worth it to sell myself?

– Is this image strong by itself or does it need to be part of a series? Is the series worth putting into my portfolio?

– Why would someone want to care about this image or the series?

– Are these the people that I’m going after with my portfolio?

– Do I know who I’m going after with my portfolio?

– What type of appreciation for images does the person that I’m marketing towards have?

– Could I use this photo to get them more interested in the work that I do?

– Upon seeing this image, would someone want to come to my website to see more photos?

– Does this image show a lot of repetition in my work? Will it brand me as a person with a single look and with no versatility?

– Have I totally pushed my creative limits with this image?

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.