7 Tips for Building and Sharing a Professional Photography Portfolio

photographer portfolio print presentation

As a commercial photographer, workshop instructor, and owner of The Image Flow, Stuart Schwartz is no stranger to the portfolio review—and he’s sat on both sides of the table. Here he offers his tips for building your portfolio for success. First and foremost, there is nothing more impressive than a printed portfolio.

Periodic portfolio reviews are an essential part of any serious photographer’s game plan. They’re a great opportunity to get your work literally under the noses of the right people. But before you submit your work to a professional portfolio review, you’ll want to be sure your portfolio is in the best shape possible.

How does one begin creating a successful artist’s portfolio? The information I will share with you here will be useful to anyone working in fine art or commercial photography, illustration, or art, and who would like to present their work in a professional manner to potential clients, friends, and colleagues.

To be successful, an artist must have a vision, must master the technical skills required in their chosen medium, and have a basic understanding of the art business.

Tips for night photography from expert shooter Hendrik Paul
Hendrik Paul made this photo on a night train in Poland using lighting as his flash. Photo © Hendrik Paul.

5 Tips for Taking Amazing Photographs at Night

Tips for night photography from expert shooter Hendrik Paul

Fine art photographer Hendrik Paul is best known for his surreal black and white landscapes of the Marin Headlands, but he also likes to venture out at night to take ethereal images in both urban and rural settings.

Here our most accomplished night shooter shares his tips for night photography, from the best equipment to use to the best time to shoot, so you can start taking beautiful photos at night!

How to be a better photographer
Photo © Constance Chu

How to Be a Better Photographer in 4 Easy Steps

How to be a better photographer

Our favorite kids instructor Constance Chu gives us four tips for young photographers (and you too) on how to be better at photography. She says, getting good at photography is just like anything else: To be good, you’ve got to work at it.

While she won’t guarantee you fame and fortune in photography, she says becoming a better photographer is not as daunting a task as it may sometimes seem—and it will also be a lot of fun!

Lundy Canyon, 1993, 4x5 platinum/palladium print. Photo © Kerik Kouklis. Best paper for platinum/palladium printing
Lundy Canyon, 1993, 4x5 platinum/palladium print. Photo © Kerik Kouklis

The Best Paper for Platinum/Palladium Printing

Lundy Canyon, 1993, 4x5 platinum/palladium print. Photo © Kerik Kouklis. Best paper for platinum/palladium printing

Photographers who work with the historic, hand-made or otherwise alternative printing processes know that a good print requires a good paper. Each process has different requirements for what makes a “good” paper, and those of platinum/palladium printing are among the strictest.

It’s been almost 30 years since Kerik Kouklis made his first platinum/palladium print, and in that time, he says there’s never been such a selection of new and improved papers coming onto the market at the same time.

Here, in his own words, Kerik reveals the best of the best from long-time industry stalwarts Hahnemühle, Legion Paper, and Arches.

Burnt palms near Salton Sea, 2015. Photo © Ted Orland.
Burnt palms near Mecca, CA, 2015. Photo © Ted Orland.

7 Inspiring Photography Subjects Near California’s Salton Sea

Burnt palms near Salton Sea, 2015. Photo © Ted Orland.

Ted Orland is one of The Image Flow’s favorite wandering photographers, with a love of photography and life that is truly infectious.

He began his career as a young graphic artist working for famed designer Charles Eames and later served as photographer Ansel Adams’s assistant. Now a celebrated landscape photographer himself, Ted’s portfolio spans classical black and white photography, hand-colored photographs, and one-of-a-kind multi-image panoramas. He also co-authored the best-selling artists’ survival guide book Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.

This spring, Ted will lead a new landscape and travel photography workshop to California’s Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park along with Brian Taylor, artistic director of the Center for Photographic Art.

In his own words, Ted shares seven of his favorite photography subjects throughout in this unique region of California.

Maui Haleakala Flow Photography Tips
Photo © Jeff Zaruba

5 Tips on How to Photograph a Usual Place in an Unusual Way

Maui Haleakala Flow Photography Tips

Ever get up at the crack of dawn and haul out of the hotel/condo/AirBnb with a cup of coffee and camera and haul down to a beautiful beach or center of a quaint Eastern European city ready to take the perfect sunrise photography, only to be overcome with the feeling that it’s already been done? Here, travel photographer Jeff Zaruba offers five tips for turning the ordinary into extraordinary.

Nicole Paulson taking pictures of kids
Photographer Nicole Paulson suggests getting down on

5 Things Not to Do When Taking Pictures of Your Kids

Nicole Paulson taking pictures of kids

Our children’s childhoods are fleeting, but the images we take of them don’t have to be. In the age of digital photography, just about everyone has a camera around at any given moment, ready to capture the next adorable moment in their children’s lives. But the pictures don’t always turn out as well as they could.

Taralynn Lawton image protecting tips
The Image Flow's Taralynn Lawton suggests right-sizing your images to protect them online.

How to Protect Your Images Online

Taralynn Lawton image protection tips

Whether you’re uploading your pictures to the Internet for business or pleasure, here are a few tips for how to protect your images in this digital world.

Catherine Karnow San Francisco photography

5 Bay Area Spots Just Waiting for You To Come Photograph

Catherine Karnow San Francisco photography

Catherine Karnow has shot in far-flung places around the globe, but she loves shooting at home in San Francisco and Marin. She says one of the reasons she lives in Mill Valley is because of how photogenic the Bay Area is. She gave The Image Flow the inside scoop on her five favorite places to for stay-cation shooting.

Lightroom workshop

Lightroom Tips to Make Organizing and Editing Your Images Even Easier

Lightroom workshop

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is designed to make everything about digital photography easier. Many photographers, from amateur to professional, have put Lightroom at the center of their digital imaging workflow. Whether your photos are from that “trip of a lifetime,” or for a paying client, Lightroom offers a suite of tools and editing system for your most important work. And—the Develop module in Lightroom has even replaced the need to use Photoshop to process most images made with modern digital cameras. This is an essential program for photographers on the go.

In her Lightroom workshop, Taralynn Lawton shows you how to automatically embed your name and copyright information in each of your photos during import, and how to delete images in batches—a great way to get rid of out-of-focus or otherwise unusable images, without having to delete them one by one.

Taralynn also shows you how to take advantage of Smart Previews, so that you can store your images on an external drive, and still access them with the Develop module, even if the external drive isn’t attached. Once the external drive is plugged back in, Lightroom will automatically sync any changes you made while the file was offline. This feature wasn’t available until Lightroom 5, and is a valuable new feature for photographers who travel!

How Young Photographers Can Make Their Work Youthful, Not Childish

Hillary Sloss Digital Photography for Youth

How can we let our kids be kids, to see the way kids see, while still teaching them something about photography? Hillary Sloss is a veteran photojournalist based in Marin County and a digital and film photography instructor at the San Francisco Waldorf High School. Her new class, Digital Photography for Youth, is designed especially to encourage young people to explore their world through photography.

The idea is, she says, to help young photographers create beautiful images that are youthful, but not childish. “It’s important to give young photographers enough so that they can advance their photographic skills, without inundating them too many rules,” says Hillary.