Putting together a dream team to design and create my photography portfolio
As a full time professional photographer my photography portfolio is one of my most valuable marketing tools. I had a lot of direction, consultation and support when building my printed book. I get a lot of compliments on the handcrafted book and the detail in the printing. I also get a lot of questions about where to begin, how to edit and what resources I used. I figured I’d share some of the things I’ve learned when it comes to having your own photography portfolio designed and made.
About a year and a half after making the leap and becoming a full time photographer I felt it was time to get a true portfolio book made. For the first year or so I had “books” made from HP Magcloud to show potential clients. Don’t get me wrong, the price and quality were very attractive but this isn’t an industry you can fake it very long in and I decided to get a real, bonafide professional book made. I enlisted the help of my Agency Access consultant Amanda Sosa Stone and my Campaign Manager Pro team to help me curate the images and design the layout. Amanda gave me several places to research to have the actual book made and I started searching. Once I saw the amazing work Scott Mullenberg was doing at Mullenberg Design in Maine I knew I had found my guy. Photographer Miller Mobley posted his book the same day I found Scott and I loved everything about the craftsmanship he put into Miller’s portfolio.
The first time I spoke with Scott it was like we already knew each other. I felt so at ease given this would be the single largest, non camera gear investment I had made to date. He said “We’re going to make a kick ass book” and I couldn’t agree more. Scott shipped me samples of materials and we kicked a few ideas around, ultimately settling upon a very simple design that was still strong and masculine. I didn’t want my book to be gimmicky or take away from the images inside. In addition to the portfolio I ordered the hard slip case to keep the main book protected.
The next part was determining where to print my images. Some folks print their own work and know how to drill and score the paper but I’m not one of them…yet. Amanda gave me a list of her trusted printers around the country and I decided on Push Dot Studios in Portland, Oregon. As I know nothing about design or layout, Jaime at Agency Access designed the final files for printing. I ordered the paper Lincoln at Push Dot recommended as he has worked with Scott multiple times, again easing my mind that I had a portfolio dream team with my best interests in mind. The turnaround time was tight given I was headed to NYC Fotoworks in just a few weeks. I wanted to have the best first impression I could and wanted the reviewers to know I was a pro, not someone cutting corners.
We decided to make my photography portfolio geared toward vertical images and double page spreads as I have a lot of portraits. The horizontal images fit nicely across two pages and are big. The prints are 11×14 and fit perfectly into my Mullenberg book and I couldn’t be happier. Lincoln has printed several more pages for me and each time the colors and fit are perfect. The finish on the prints has held up to the hundreds of fingers turning the pages and I’m really surprised how well the Moab paper has done.
While there are definitely more cost effective ways to showcase your work, I can’t stress enough that this is an investment and not an expense. I plan to use this book for years and I can update the images as I see fit. I’m currently planning a second book so I can split my work up into more relevant groups for buyers and photo editors to review.
There’s nothing wrong with having a Magcloud or Blurb or iPad or whatever you can afford, but there is something about this book that gets both photographers and clients to say wow every time I show it. It is about as simple as it can be, but the handmade book, the attention to detail in the printing and hopefully my images make it a tangible item people can put their hands on, feel and enjoy. Photographers love to see their images printed and I’m no exception.
Give Scott and Lincoln a call and tell them I sent you.Scroll To Top