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Photography Portfolio Tips

Once you get that call-back asking you to come in with your portfolio, you know you've passed the first checkpoint.  A photography portfolio should be one of the strongest selling points that you have, because really, what are you being hired for but your skills behind the camera?  It's a bit more complicated than just having good pictures, however-you have to know how best to present them.  Just as the difference between a mediocre and a spectacular shot can lie in the smallest variations between angle, lighting, and composition, so the difference between a portfolio that gets you hired and one that gets you dumped rests in the details.  Here are a few tips for making sure that your photography portfolio doesn't fall behind.

SIZE DOES MATTER

This isn't the time to pinch pennies.  We know that you've dug deep into your pockets to put yourself through photography school, but your portfolio is a worthwhile investment.  Don't be scared off by the price of a glossy, 8" by 12" print on quality paper-if you choose carefully, it will last through the years and end up paying for itself when you nab a job.  Of course, you need to be practical, and a full-size print isn't necessary for absolutely every photograph in your portfolio.  Just make sure that your best work looks its best for this important occasion

QUALITY VS QUANTITY

If you're a perfectionist, then this is a decision you'll agonize over.  What if, at this particular instant of artistic pique, you only truly love three of your shots?  Should you include a 50-photograph entourage of mediocre ones to pad out your portfolio?  When trying to walk that fine line between quality and quantity, erring on the side of quality is probably a safer bet.  After all, the more photographs your employer has to rifle through, the lesser the impact of each one.  And there's nothing like a poor photograph to counteract the strong impression left by one of your best ones.  Being overly picky can also lead to your downfall, however.  If you show up with a scant offering of past photographs, your employer will question the reasons behind the slim selection. Are you so sloppy and bad at meeting deadlines that you failed to order your prints on time?  Or do you simply not have that many good shots?  Attain a good balance in your portfolio by not going to either extreme.

DIVERSIFICATION

Don't show up with 100 shots of the sky taken on a single, perfect afternoon.  Building your photography portfolio isn't a simple matter of finding all your best photos and leaving out your worst; you also need to consider what types of photos are included.  You want to prove that you can diversify, that you'll be able to handle all manner of assignments given to you at your future job.  If you have a particular strength, then represent it by all means, but don't let the other facets of your work fade into the background.

ALL IN THE DETAILS

Be an expert about your own work.  While going through your portfolio, your employer will likely have questions about the camera, lens, exposure, and editing behind your photographs.  Brush up on your own portfolio's history so you aren't left looking ignorant and forgetful when the inquisition comes.  Better yet, note these relevant details in your portfolio, either on a separate sheet or in the margins or the back of each photograph.

A SECOND OPINION

In the end, when you've assembled your winning portfolio and you can't imagine adding or removing a single shot...get a second opinion.  Seek advice from someone you trust: a teacher, a mentor, a fellow student who admires the same photographers that you do.  You don't have to abide by their personal preferences, but it's a good thing to be aware that differing opinions on a photograph do exist.  And if reactions are extremely strong or you see a pattern emerging among various people polled, they might be indicative of a truth that you overlooked.  It's often hard for a photographer to gain some perspective because of all the hard work you've put into getting that special shot, so give other people a chance to open your eyes a bit.

Of course, in the end, the photos will speak for themselves.  Don't wait until the last minute to compile your portfolio; it should be a constant work-in-progress as you assess the changing caliber of your photography and update older shots with better examples using more refined techniques.  Strengthen it here and there, weed out the weaker sections, and your portfolio will always showcase you at your best.





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University of Dayton Advertising | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Dayton, OH 10908 City Private
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Advertising | Architecture | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Landscape Architecture | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Champaign, IL 43881 City Public
Del Mar College Advertising | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography Two-year school Corpus Christi, TX 12069 City Public
Memphis College of Art Animation | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Photography | Visual Effects Four-year school Memphis, TN 451 City Private
De Anza College Animation | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects Two-year school Cupertino, CA 25191 City Public
Spokane Falls Community College Advertising | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Interior Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Spokane, WA 9555 Town/Rural Public
Coker College Advertising | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Hartsville, SC 1141 Town/Rural Private
Fairfield University Film, Video, TV | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Fairfield, CT 5074 Suburb Private
Butte College Animation | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects Two-year school Oroville, CA 13147 Town/Rural Public
Ridgewater College Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Willmar, MN 4318 Town/Rural Public
Central Michigan University Advertising | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Mount Pleasant, MI 27247 Town/Rural Public
Kent State University at Kent Advertising | Architecture | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Kent, OH 25127 Suburb Public
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center Advertising | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media Less than two years Willow Street, PA 483 Town/Rural Public
Washington University in St Louis Advertising | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Saint Louis, MO 13575 Suburb Private
The Art Institute of Seattle Animation | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Seattle, WA 2282 City Private
Santa Fe Community College Architecture | Arts Management | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography Two-year school Santa Fe, NM 4630 Town/Rural Public
Pinellas Technical Education Center - St Petersburg Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Photography Two-year school Saint Petersburg, FL 1231 City Public
Hollins University Film, Video, TV | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Roanoke, VA 1057 Suburb Private
Hallmark Institute of Photography Photography Less than two years Turners Falls, MA 164 Town/Rural Private
International Academy of Design and Technology - Tampa Animation | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Tampa, FL 1460 Suburb Private
Paier College of Art Inc Advertising | Architecture | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Interior Design | Photography Four-year school Hamden, CT 227 Suburb Private
The Art Institute of Austin Animation | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Austin, TX 873 City Private
The Art Institute of Philadelphia Animation | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Philadelphia, PA 3616 City Private
Grand View University Advertising | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Des Moines, IA 2039 City Private
City College of San Francisco Animation | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects Two-year school San Francisco, CA 32950 City Public
Metropolitan Community College Area Advertising | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography Two-year school Omaha, NE 17003 City Public
Cuyahoga Community College District Advertising | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography Two-year school Cleveland, OH 29807 City Public
Bard College at Simon's Rock Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Great Barrington, MA 431 Town/Rural Private
La Roche College Advertising | Architecture | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Pittsburgh, PA 1356 Suburb Private
Madison Media Institute Animation | Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Madison, WI 420 Town/Rural Private
Monterey Peninsula College Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography Two-year school Monterey, CA 9578 Suburb Public
Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Bayamon Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Bayamon, PR 5245 Suburb Private
Solano Community College Advertising | Audio Production | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Interior Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Fairfield, CA 12222 Town/Rural Public
Cabrillo College CAD, Drafting | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Aptos, CA 15974 Suburb Public
Glendale Community College Advertising | Animation | Architecture | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Glendale, CA 16781 City Public
The Art Institute of Indianapolis Animation | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Indianapolis, IN 1057 City Private
Nashville State Community College Advertising | Architecture | Audio Production | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Nashville, TN 8869 City Public
Northwest College Advertising | Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Powell, WY 2099 Town/Rural Public
St Petersburg College Advertising | Architecture | Film, Video, TV | Interior Design | Photography Four-year school Largo, FL 29282 Suburb Public
Napa Valley College Audio Production | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography Two-year school Napa, CA 7282 City Public
Corcoran College of Art and Design Animation | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Washington, DC 921 City Private
Fitchburg State University Architecture | Arts Management | Film, Video, TV | Graphic Design | Performing Arts | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Fitchburg, MA 7043 Suburb Public
The Art Institute of Colorado Animation | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Denver, CO 2320 City Private
University of North Carolina School of the Arts Film, Video, TV | Performing Arts | Photography Four-year school Winston-Salem, NC 872 City Public
County College of Morris Audio Production | CAD, Drafting | Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Photography | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Randolph, NJ 8798 Suburb Public
Woodbury University Advertising | Architecture | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Interior Design | Photography Four-year school Burbank, CA 1615 City Private
Chandler/Gilbert Community College Advertising | Arts Management | Performing Arts | Photography Two-year school Chandler, AZ 11058 Suburb Public
Salt Lake Community College Animation | Architecture | CAD, Drafting | Fashion Design, Marketing, Merchandising | Film, Video, TV | Game Design | Graphic Design | Interior Design | Photography | Visual Effects | Web Design & New Media Two-year school Salt Lake City, UT 34966 Suburb Public
Northwest Iowa Community College CAD, Drafting | Photography Two-year school Sheldon, IA 1615 Town/Rural Public
Pacific Northwest College of Art Fine Art, Drawing, Painting | Graphic Design | Illustration | Photography | Web Design & New Media Four-year school Portland, OR 600 City Private



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