Building the perfect online portfolio

4 Easy Tips for Building Your Perfect Online Portfolio

For creative professionals, a successful online portfolio will become your most powerful marketing tool. Follow these ten steps and you’ll build a portfolio that takes your career to the next level.

1. Curate Your Work

Including work that you like can result in a weak online portfolio. You might end up overloading your site with images that mean a lot to you but distract from your best work. Alternatively, you may struggle to find images worthy of inclusion, and be tempted to abandon your portfolio altogether.

Let’s face it: you can’t always judge your own work objectively. We all have a blind spot when it comes to our favorite projects. Either our emotions get in the way of objectivity, or our perfectionist tendencies paralyze us.

If you’re having trouble deciding what to include in your online portfolio, try viewing it from the perspective of your potential client. Which images catch your eye? Which ones do you skim? If you’re unsure about including an image in your portfolio, leave it out. Remember: Quality over quantity.

2. Think About Your Clients

Many photographers, illustrators, and artists believe that focusing on one specific niche will limit the number of clients they can reach. For most creative professionals, it’s the opposite. By identifying your niche and dream clients, you can better tailor your online portfolio to their needs.

For example, if you shoot a lot of weddings but want to branch out into fashion, create a portfolio of your fashion photography. A fashion client wants a photographer with a fashion portfolio, not a wedding photographer who occasionally shoots style editorials.

So only apply for jobs that you actively seek. If you don’t have much professional experience in a particular field or area, consider creating a gallery of personal projects to showcase your diverse skills and interests. Identify five dream clients you’d like to work with. Consider the photos they take and structure your portfolio accordingly.

Clients will only consider you for the jobs that you actively seek out. If you don’t have much professional experience in a certain field or area that you’re interested in, consider creating a gallery of your personal projects to highlight your varied skills and interests.

Brainstorm five dream clients you’d like to work for one day. Consider the kinds of photos they shoot — then structure your portfolio to reflect the same.

3. Organize Your Work

Your online portfolio should support multiple projects. This will help you sort your work by type, client, or creative series. Always make sure your online portfolio is easy to navigate and find what you want. You may lose their attention if they have to hunt too much (and potential sales).

4. Follow The Rule of Three

Three is a magical number. Threes just seem to work better and feel more balanced. Why? Because our brains process information by identifying patterns, and three is the smallest pattern number.

Keep in mind the rule of three when organizing your online portfolio. The first image sets the tone, the second sets the pattern, and the third should break it. When the viewer thinks they’ve figured out the pattern, you surprise them with something new that leaves a lasting impression.

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