Written by: Anna-Mart Kruger
Have you always wanted to create your own wildlife or bird photography portfolio but aren’t sure where to start? Read below for some top tips on building your portfolio from scratch, in just one trip.
What is a photography portfolio?
A portfolio is a concise collection of your photos created to show people your best work and is the tool that shows a customer your capabilities, technical skills as well as creativity. It can also be a series of work with a unifying theme, style or taken through a specific medium.
What is the purpose of a portfolio?
A portfolio is an opportunity for you to present your work, but it is important to consider what the portfolio is specifically for – perhaps you want to get the attention of a publisher, exhibit at a gallery, present yourself to potential clientele or just want to build a name and brand for yourself. Whatever the reason, it is vital that you create your portfolio with the purpose in mind. It is also important to display a variety of skills and techniques used.
It’s crucial to decide on, and also consider, the audience you want to reach. You will want to evoke a certain reaction with your imagery. Do you want to evoke an emotion of surprise, shock or amazement? You need to stand out from the rest with a fresh perspective.
Presentation of your portfolio
In previous years portfolios were presented on paper, but with the digital era of technology your portfolio can easily be presented on a PDF, JPEGs or through an online medium, such as your website or blog.
Decide on your style or genre
Next you want to consider what theme or style you want your portfolio to have. This will depend upon your audience as well as the brand which you have created for yourself. You could have a collection of bird, landscape or wildlife photography. You might decide to go with a set of black and white or sepia work with a specific camera format, or a collection of shots from a specific time period or geographical region. Be careful about mixing up your genre and styles. If you decide to do so, just remember that the quality of your work should be consistent throughout your portfolio.
Get the shots
Usually building up your portfolio can take anything from months to years, depending on your preferred genre and style. Be on the lookout for local and international courses or workshops, such as the ones presented by iCapture Photo Safaris or HAWK Photography that can help you achieve your goal in a much shorter time.
Say for instance you are looking at bird and wildlife photography as your main genre. You can then look at doing a photo safari at game reserves which are specifically built for bird and wildlife photography such as Zimanga Private Game Reserve, which provides both photo hides and game drives. The hide sessions will give you close up imagery of your subject from a lower, eye-level perspective, while the safari game drives will offer images of wildlife in their natural surroundings. In my experience I find that going to one location for 5 -14 days can be enough if you make the right choice with regards to your destination.
Another option is to go to an area in Africa that offers a large variety of birds and wildlife for example the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Here you would be able to get great images of not just the big five wildlife subjects, but also a variety of other game and antelope.
Choosing your shots
Do not be tempted to include just your personal favorites. It’s a good idea to get a third party with experience to help make your final selection of 20-30 images. Now you can start sharing your portfolio with the world. Share it with colleagues, friends and family and ask for their honest feedback.
Good luck, and have fun creating an eye capturing portfolio that best represents your work, style, experience and talent.