Springtime for Portfolio

Every year about this time I reorganize and revamp the portfolio.  YES, I still have a printed portfolio.  All technology has done for me is allowed me to adapt my portfolio to more platforms, i.e. web, iPad, etc.  I used to have 12 printed portfolios, now I use less than half that.  A magazine hasn't called in a "book" in over three years now, but agencies sometimes still want them.  And my agent, Big Leo, takes them to portfolio meetings where having a tangible thing to touch still has value.  And to be honest, printed portfolios are really nice when done well.

I have learned over the years to take advantage of down time in the studio to start organize and prepare to work on my portfolio, it takes about 15x longer than you plan for it to take.  Always.

So when your photographer friend says sorry, I have to stay home and work on my portfolio... here is a peek at the process.

I usually start with a rough edit in Light Room from which I print out thumbnails on actual paper, arranging them on my work table or wall.  I have excluded this step as I did that last week and didn't take a shot of that.  This particular portfolio focuses on my conceptual work, I will go through this process again for my food and cosmetics portfolios next week if time allows.

Light Room has been a great tool for organizing and cataloging my work.  LR isn't perfect but I have tried most of the workflow recommendations out there and LR works best for me.

After I have a selection that flows I start to lay it out in InDesign.  From here it is easy to see how it will look in a book format, and it allows me to email my agent PDFs for their comments quite easily.

This is my Epson 3880, a great printer that doesn't get quite enough use.  However, it is very versatile and I print everything from 4x6 snapshots to 16 x 20 fine art prints for both myself and my wife, Elizabeth Fleming.

Then we start printing, color correcting, adjusting, printing again, cursing at Epson, and then continue printing. Each print is coated with a protective spray, allowed to dry, and then we print the other side.  When we are done with all of that we can begin the satisfying process of putting it all together.  And I would show you that but this blog post is a break I am taking, I am still not quite done!  At the moment I am using Moab's Lasal Photo Matte paper which is pre scored and drilled for my particular portfolio by Lost Luggage.  It is terribly expensive but gorgeous.

After the main portfolio is done, I then start adapting it to my web site, iPad and promos like MagCloud Booklets.

Consistency is important both with imagery and brand identity.  Above is my iPad that I take on meetings. I love the iPad, it is a cross between the laptop, a printed book and film.  Since it is a beautiful computer screen, it is like showing 8x10 transparencies or "chromes" as we used to call it.  I am old enough to have seen this type of portfolio but young enough to have not used 8x10... i used 4x5 chromes and then a laminated portfolio, which was god awful heavy.  Then printing C-Prints from negatives became all the rage and finally Epson came about.    

I love the iPad but in reality we have to maintain our work across multiple platforms these days.  Your web site is still KEY in this process, if you have a bad or poorly edited site you will not get the opportunity to show your iPad or printed portfolio. And that is the next step in my process...