Why You Need to Show Only Your Best Work

Do you ever wonder what photographs you should show in your online portfolio?

Do you ever wonder how many images you should show in that portfolio?

Depending who you ask, the answers will vary widely. Like many, I spend a lot of time scouring the web looking for great photography and newsworthy items.

Occasionally I find a photographers website with a gallery that shows every single image from a shoot. Is this smart?

I was looking at a portrait photographer’s website this morning and the galleries section featured 12 client galleries with each containing what looked like every single frame from the actual photo session. That included the good poses and the poor poses.

While it is common to upload everything to a private gallery for client review, these galleries in particular were public and presented as the photographers portfolio.

Is this working for that photographer? I have no idea but this leads me to wonder just how many of each photo shoot should you present in the portfolio section? Should you keep client galleries separate and private from your portfolio galleries?

It’s the image of your business

Redwood NP

Since business success in outdoor photography requires impressing clients to earn their business, how best can you impress them?

While presenting a gallery that contains all the images from an entire shoot might impress a client wanting to get an idea on how you work, it could have the opposite effect. Every photographer shoots a few good photos mixed with a few bad photos so why show them?

Clients researching photographers are more likely to get a feel about your photography, your vision, and your techniques from a web gallery that contains only the best images from many shoots.

It has been said by many to only show your best work. You want to impress a prospect in a matter of seconds and a clear view of a variety of great work can do that.

To look like the best, show only the best

Unlike print portfolios where you should plan to show a limited number of images, our websites can go many layers deep. One of the best ways to get a client to dig deeper is to impress them immediately once they land on your site and you can do that with a short selection of top images on the home page.

A gallery with the good images and the poor images can indicate you can’t edit so you put everything online instead. It’s common on a stock photo site to show some variations of a subject but here we are talking the portfolio: the one gallery that quickly gives a client an impression of you and your work.

If you are proud of your recent photo shoot and have some amazing images, edit and edit and edit again until you have narrowed it down to one image. That one image is the best image to put in your portfolio and show prospective clients how great you are.

Remember: you only get one chance to make a first impression!

If you have some thoughts to share, please leave a comment.

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