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Episode #110

How to Choose The Best Portfolios for Your Photography Website


UPDATED: May 25, 2023
ORIGINALLY AIRED ON October 28, 2022


Do the portfolios on your website open doors for you… or slam them shut? Here are 3 simple steps to ensure you're not only publishing your best work, but the work that makes the most *sense* for your photography goals.


Create a stand-out website with strategically curated portfolios

You put a LOT of work into your photography website. From the design itself to the hours of choosing which photos to show off on it, you pour your heart and soul into this virtual space.

That's because you know just how important a polished website is to make a strong impression on visitors.

It's the FIRST place people go when they want to know more about you, evaluate your skills, and decide if they're going to take the next step (which, in many cases, involves handing over 💰. Yes, please!)

Your website is where you gain an audience, make sales, sign clients, score assignments…

So, is your website working FOR you?

One of the most important areas of your website that helps open doors (or slams them shut) is your portfolios – the galleries of curated images that show off your expertise, style, and skills.

Whether you're starting a website from scratch or revamping one you've had up and running for years, there's one thing that's certain:

You need to think strategically about which portfolios you include. 

This quick tip episode walks you through three questions to ask that, when you answer them in sequence, will make the decision-making process so much more streamlined and clear.

And most importantly, you'll KNOW that your website is looking its best and helping you achieve your photography goals.


Episode 110: How to Choose The Best Portfolios for Your Photography Website

Shownotes: ConservationVisuals.com/110

(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)

Jaymi Heimbuch:
Hey there, and welcome to a quick tip episode. I'm experimenting and trying something a little new and I thought it would be fun to add a really short bite-sized episode on Fridays that are some sort of. Tip, strategy, idea, mindset, something that is really useful that you could implement right away.

[00:00:20] jaymi: And it's just a short, punchy episode on Fridays that are really fun now I plan to do these from now until the end of the year 2022. And if you are enjoying these, then I may continue them on into 2023. We're just gonna kind of see how it goes if you are definitely enjoying the quick tip episodes.

[00:00:41] jaymi: One of the ways that you can let me know is by actually making sure that you download the episode to your device, your phone, your iPad, whatever it may be. See, I can see the statistics for how many people are downloading and if it looks like enough folks are actually really enjoying these. Then I will go ahead and continue them on [00:01:00] into 2023 and beyond.

[00:01:02] jaymi: So if you're like, Ooh, this is really interesting, It's fun, it's helpful, then just make sure to actually download the episode to your device, and I'll be able to look at numbers and say, yep, these are definitely helpful. I'm gonna keep 'em going. All right, Now for this episode, I really wanted to dig into a simple straightforward three step strategy that helps you decide on what portfolios to have on your website. Now, I know that this is a struggle, especially if you are either creating your photography website.

[00:01:32] jaymi: Or you are revamping it, it might be one that you've had up for a while and it's not as maybe organized, or it doesn't represent your newest or best work anymore. And so really designing your portfolios can be a struggle and figuring out what makes sense, what to include, what not to include. So here are three simple questions to ask that help you figure out which are the best portfolios to have on your website moving forward.

[00:01:58] jaymi: The first [00:02:00] question is really, what is the. Of your website. Your website might be simply to highlight your skills and interests as a photographer. It's to represent your photography as art and to show off what you have photographed, your style, where your expertise is. or your website might be there to show who you are as a photographer specifically so that you can get hired for assignments or projects.

[00:02:26] jaymi: It's a place that you really expect potential future clients or current clients to go to really understand your work or your website might be there to sell whatever it is that you sell. Photo tours, workshops, prints, whatever it may be, your website. A purpose, there is a goal to putting a website out there on the web.

[00:02:48] jaymi: So the first question to ask yourself is, Well, what is the goal of my website? What is the primary reason why I am putting my work out there into the world on a website? You really wanna get very [00:03:00] clear on what that is because that is gonna dictate the next question, which is, What kind of experience do I want my visitors to have?

[00:03:09] jaymi: So for example, if your website's goal is to show off your photography as art and to just say, Hey, I am out here, a conservation photographer with a camera doing my thing, and here's what I'm creating. Then you probably want your visitors to have a really fun experience clicking around to the different things or places that you've photographed.

[00:03:29] jaymi: If your goal of your website, however, is to get hired for assignments or projects or collaborations, then you may really want your visitors to go directly to published work that you have, or projects that you are currently working on or that you have worked. Of course, if your website's goal is to sell what it is that you sell, tours, workshops, prints, whatever it may be,

[00:03:52] jaymi: then you may want your visitors to be able to see and understand what it is that they are going to experience when they're out there on a tour with [00:04:00] you or maybe have a really easy time perusing all of the images that you have available for prints. It's very important though to think about, okay, when people actually land on this website, is the experience that they have helping me to really achieve the goal of the website? What would it mean for someone who's never seen my work before to land on my website?

[00:04:23] jaymi: Where do I want them to go? What do I want them to see? And are they really able to kind of experience my work the way that I want them to experience to move them onto the next step? The next step might be following you on social media.

[00:04:36] jaymi: It might be hiring you, it might be buying something from you. And then that leads us into the third question, which. What then makes the most sense for the categories of portfolios I wanna have on my website, considering the website's goals and the experience that I want my visitors to have. What makes the most sense for categories of portfolios?

[00:04:59] jaymi: [00:05:00] And by that I mean when you create different portfolios of work, are you creating a series of portfolios that are about your individual projects? Is there a portfolio that shows all of the tear sheets from your published work?

[00:05:15] jaymi: Or are you looking at categories of portfolios that highlight maybe the places in the world that you specialize in photographing? For instance, if you are someone who is booking tours for people, you might have portfolios based on the locations and what you see in photograph in each of the locations where you offer tours or workshops.

[00:05:37] jaymi: Or if you are a nature photographer who's really your website's up there to show off your photography as your art form, your creative vision, what it is that you have fun doing on the weekends. Then the categories of portfolios might be in types of animals that you really specialize in photographing or landscapes that you specialize in photographing.

[00:05:59] jaymi: Your [00:06:00] categories of portfolios might delve into certain artistic styles that you take on as you are photographing, but the reason why it's important to think about what categories of portfolios make the most sense for the goal of my website and the experience I want visitors to have is when you narrow that down, then you'll avoid a common pitfall of websites that look chaotic or are strange to navigate, which is the categories of portfolios are all over the place. Some are a latest vacation trip and others are maybe types of mammals or others are. Animals versus certain flowers versus certain seasons. And as a visitor, it can be really difficult to figure out, Okay, well what's the theme?

[00:06:49] jaymi: What do I expect in this portfolio? How does this portfolio stand apart from these other portfolios over here? The whole experience can be really chaotic if you don't have a [00:07:00] theme for what your portfolios encompass. Really think about that because once you get a handle on the categories that make the most sense, you're really gonna streamline the portfolios that you have on your site, which streamlines the work that you show off.

[00:07:18] jaymi: You'll end up creating more. Cohesive bodies of work that visitors can easily fall in love with rather than kind of wonder what to expect next. So those are the three questions to ask yourself. The next time you're thinking about revamping your website, or if you are ready to go ahead and build your photography website.

[00:07:38] jaymi: Think about. What's the goal of my website? What am I really trying to achieve when I put my site up here onto the worldwide web? Two, what kind of experience then do I want my visitors to have? Because once you know the goal of your website, you know the type of people that you're hoping to visit, and you can figure out, well, what kind of experience do I want them to have?

[00:07:59] jaymi: And [00:08:00] then three, what makes the most sense for categories of website portfolios to have on the site? Consider. Website goals and the experience I want my visitors to have. \] You can get really clear on the answers to those three questions, then actually creating the portfolios themselves is gonna be so much more fun, and the whole vibe of your website is gonna be so much more polished.

[00:08:25] jaymi: All right. I hope that you enjoyed this quick tip episode. Again, if you want to hear these, Quick tip episodes every Friday. The easiest way to let me know if you are enjoying them or not is to simply make sure that you download the episode to your device. I'll be able to see if these are popular or not, and if they're popular, I will keep them going on into 2023.

[00:08:46] jaymi: All right, talk to you again soon.


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