Q&A: Portfolio Updates

How often should a photographer update their print portfolio? How about the website? Does putting new work on a blog count?

With all the internet avenues to show off new work, it is hard to know how often to update your portfolios. How regularly should a photographer update their printed portfolio? When should they add images to their website? If they manage a blog, how does publishing new work regularly interact with more formal updates?

For this month’s Q&A I’ve asked a select group of people for their thoughts. See their answers below, as well as my opinions on the subject.

While you’re in the mood, we thought we’d highlight the exciting new work from a few of our photographers here at Glasshouse Assignment. See their images and links below. We also have lots of new updates coming in the very future, which you’ll all be hearing about soon!

As always, thank you to all the contributors! Let’s keep the discussion rolling!

– Jacqueline Bovaird, Glasshouse Assignment

ILENE CHERNA BELLOVIN, FREELANCE PHOTO EDITOR, ASPP

Photographers should add new and recently published work whenever possible to a website and portfolio. A blog is a great way to share new and ongoing projects, but it’s not a substitute for well-edited, fresh websites and portfolios.

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NEW WORK FROM MIHA MATEI (portfolio)

Miha Matei, well known for her unique style of food and lifestyle photography, is evolving to include interiors and still life! Miha has kept consistent and true to her distinct style, but has just given us more to love! See her brand new website and new images here!

Miha Matei

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JACQUELINE BOVAIRD, PHOTO AGENT, GLASSHOUSE ASSIGNMENT

Nothing makes me more excited than when my photographers send me their newest work. If the images are good, my brain immediately begins churning out promotion ideas and new ways to get fresh images out to our audience. Dear photographers, want your agent to work more for you? Send them new photos! Each image is an opportunity to promote you to a fitting audience and to raise awareness. A photographer who constantly produces new work, whether it be for themselves or for clients, is incredibly valuable. When seeking to expand our roster, I look for people who are evolving and pushing themselves forward.

I am often asked by photographers, “How often should I update my portfolio?” With all the new online ways to show photography, this isn’t such a simple answer anymore. You certainly do not want to be contacting your clients every day or week about new work. Remember that their time is valuable and if you are constantly calling them about the latest and greatest shoot you’ve done, it won’t be long before they zone you out completely. A blog works to this end really well, in that it gives you an avenue for new work that people can subscribe to, rather than you reaching out to them. If they’re interested, they’ll read it.

Not sure what’s good enough to put in your portfolio? My suggestion is to let your work pass through its very own vetting process. After your shoot, post your favorites on a blog (or wherever it is you show your new work). If you receive great feedback and are still excited about the images in a week or so, consider updating your website with them. (Note: You should not have a website you can’t update easily yourself, specifically for this reason.)

After significant website updates, alert your clients to the new photography on your site and see what people say. If they love the work and you feel it fits into what you’ve done in the past, then it may be time to sit down and make prints for your portfolio. Let your website and your blog evolve more freely and illustrate the “work in progress.” In your printed portfolio, show a confident and settled edit of your work. Consider your print portfolio the “greatest hits” version of yourself.

The moral of this story is that new work can’t help you if no one sees it, and it is extremely hard to help yourself without creating anything new!

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NEW WORK FROM RYAN SCHUDE (portfolio)

As his rep, I’m always waiting with baited breath for a new image from Ryan. When they arrive, it feels like my birthday and the top of a roller coaster all at once. See his latest big production image below (we highly recommend viewing the larger version here). Psst… keep a look out. We have more updated from Ryan in the works!

Ryan Schude________________________

JOE PRITCHARD, SENIOR PHOTO AGENT, VAUGHAN HANNIGAN
A photographer should update their portfolio at a minimum of twice a year, if they are shooting personal and commercial work, that work should be shown in the best possible way. Also if they have a rep or are showing the book regularly then people want to see that new work.

As for website, update monthly if possible. Website and hosting is so inexpensive and it’s a great way to quickly share that work with a mass audience. The website has become the first form of communication with everyone these days and you need to keep that information current and relative.

Yes a blog helps, so do all the other social media networks that are out there. They are great ways to show samples or behind the scenes shots (if you have the permission), and other teasers about what you are working on.

STELLA KRAMER, PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTANT (see her blogs here! Stellazine, ASMP’s Sharpen)

Well, it depends….if you’re working a lot and shooting a lot you should probably be updating your website every 3 months.  The same thing goes for your portfolio.  If you’re not shooting and don’t have a lot of new work, then maybe update every six months (although you should always be shooting).

That said, sometimes just changing the edit of your work can give it new life.  So often photographers feel their work is stale, and they don’t have much new work they want to be showing so they get stuck. Playing around with the order of your images can give your website and your portfolio a fresh, new look.  Many photographers get so busy that their work piles up and then they’re overwhelmed at the prospect of editing it to add to the website or portfolio. Part of running your business should be making time to choose the best of your work and add it to your website and portfolio. Remember to remove some of what’s been there for a while to make room.

The best photographer blogs have a clear intent, and I don’t think enough people have a strong idea behind their blog. I think blogs are a great place to show your most current work, pull images from the past to talk about, and give viewers a sense of who you are.  I believe they can even be a valuable adjunct for the traditional website in that they can be uploaded more frequently. But from my experience, most photo editors (at least) will want a website to show those higher up on the food chain why a particular photographer should be hired. But that’s an older way of thinking, and I know for myself that my blog is where you can get a current take on me and what I’m interested in. I think it’s the same for photographers.

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NEW WORK FROM EVAN KAFKA (portfolio)

There aren’t many photographers out there who can capture an emotion like Evan Kafka. We recently released the work he’s been doing with babies and kids, evolving his website to include two more portfolios for these categories. Check out the hilarious expressions and the wonderfully distinct style you’ve come to expect from Evan.

Evan Kafka________________________

AUDRIE LAWRENCE, PHOTO AGENT, REDUX PICTURES

I at this point don’t think there is a particular formula for updating, though I’m always a fan of seeing fresh work.

Most photographers get to see editors and go on meetings once or twice a year. If you’re seeing the same people, it’s always helpful to have the book look different enough so it doesn’t feel as though you’re just shopping the same book again. I think the website should have fresher stuff. If photographers are sending out promos on a semi regular basis it’s nice to have good reflections of that on site and have a site point to that automatically.

As for the blog, it feels as though every photographer has one but, only a few do it really well. Obviously Andrew Hetherington is a shining example of blog done right.  Yet if you look at it he only uses it to self promote everyone once in a while. He gives us a   whole lot of information, promotes works he likes by others and generally has people tuning in to what’s going on and slides in tear sheets and other stuff in a way that feels seamless.

 

Keep a look out for next month’s Q&A! I am always looking for new voices and new ideas so if you have comments, questions, or if you’d like to participate, please email me!

Jacqueline Bovaird, Assignment Representative

212 – 462 – 4538  •  jacqueline@glasshouseassignment.com


About Glasshouse Assignment

Glasshouse Assignment is an advertising artist’s assignment agency. Within our family of photographers and digital artists we offer a mix of commercially-established and emerging talent from around the world. Our vision is to present a diverse roster of talent to serve traditional advertising assignments, editorial assignments, social media needs, along with digital illustration, retouching, and cinemagraph creation. We are excited to represent these talented artists who, like us, value building lasting relationships. Thank you for considering Glasshouse Assignment, we look forward to serving you on your next project.

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