Portfolio Advice

by Laughing Stock on March 6, 2013

My esteemed colleague and now friend, Selina Maitreya, is a well known and highly regarded creative consultant and educator.  She works primarily with photographers, but really her work translates across all creative categories, so illustrators, listen up to her portfolio advice, and substitute the word illustrator for photographer.

PORTFOLIO ADVICE  by Selina Maitreya ©2013

Clients today want to look at a website, portal or a print book and very quickly see and “get” your visual approach   to your topic. For that reason, you don’t sell illustration,. you sell vision. Vision is the value clients seek and it’s expressed throughout a “body of work” that is focused on a topic with a specific visual approach attached; one that you have worked hard to define and one that you will continually refine. I’ve been building portfolios with my clients for overs 30 years.

I’m a teacher and for that reason I’m excited to share my process with you. When I work with my clients before building or adding to a portfolio we first go through a series of assignments I’ve designed in order to identify their topic of choice and then we use descriptive words to define the photographers visual approach.

Once we have defined the “visual integrity,” I edit all existing images in using our definition of my clients visual approach as my editing tool. If there are enough images, I paginate so that we can clearly see the images that currently represent the vision.

Once we can see what we have that constitutes the current body of work, we see how many images we still need to complete the portfolio. We set a goal of images to create and a timeline for completion and only then do we go about the task of brainstorming

Most photographers start shooting, without taking the steps listed above. Big mistake. Many other photographers edit based on what other people like or they simply choose their favorite shots. Not suggested.

Many consultants today edit based on their own idea of what a good image is. Who died and made them the client? Your vision is the editing tool. Period.

The world of commercial photo is way competitive and the bar was raised quite some time ago in regards to  the level of quality that clients ask assignment photogs to deliver. You can’t afford to casually put a portfolio together.

You need to develop a vision first and then apply it to your topic. If you don’t have a vision yet, work hard to develop one. If you do, identify it, and develop it more and own it.

Celebrate and be grateful that clients ask you to show up as the artist that you truly are!


Selina will be offering a day long free creative workshop,  March 28th, 12pm – 7pm EST. Find out more about  Clarion Call 2013  here:   http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/?Clk=4979305  Her guest roster is IMPRESSIVE!

Clarion Call, “Open To Creativity,” is open to all creatives of every perspective, persuasion and purpose. This online, audio, telesummit is about creativity in all its manifestations and mysteries. If you’re a creative pro, a creative hobbyist, or simply want to build a more creative life—take this Call. To create your dynamic future REGISTER now.  http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/?Clk=4979305


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