How to build your first portfolio?

When I started my photography business and created my first website I was sitting over a bunch of images from a very few weddings. I tried to chose some for my very first portfolio and I guess it took me several days until I had a selection that was satisfying. What I didn’t know that moment was, that though I liked the selection of images, the selection was a very weak portfolio. I had much stronger images that I just didn’t because of one of these three mistakes that I made. First: I chose images due to the people on the images.  Second: I chose a lot of images from the portrait sessions just because I thought people would judge my portfolio from the „posed“ images instead of choosing great emotions.  Third: I chose a lot of similar images.  So why am I writing this today? If you are just starting out and you are busy creating your very first portfolio I want you to avoid those three mistakes that I made. When we select the images for our portfolio we tend to use images of people that we like. This is very natural as we like images of people that we like but would a couple that comes to our blog see this image as a great image or is it just a nice image but not something perfectly suited for our portfolio? Choose wisely and try to get a bird view without being emotionally attached to the persons on the images. The other problem a lot of photographers tend to have, and I don’t only know this from my own experience but we see it in may mentor sessions too: We chose images of the portrait session instead of great emotions from the day. Don’t get me wrong: In every portfolio you need great portrait images of the bride and groom, that is a fact. But don’t overload your selection with images that are posed. Find the raw and great emotions that you captured. Those are often the images that set you apart from other photographers and show your talent for being a great photographer who can capture a moment. To show you what I mean here is an image from 2010 that after adding it to my portfolio totally changed the quality of inquiries that I got as brides wrote me „I saw that image and I want to have a photographer who can capture those emotions of my wedding day“. 2   The third point is again something that I know from myself and that we see A LOT in mentor sessions. And I think this point and the first two points go hand in hand together. Don’t choose images that look similar. We might be attached to the couples and want to add them all to our portfolio but a great pose doesn’t need to be in your portfolio 100 times. I know it is hard but try to show that you have a great variety in your portfolio instead of 400 images that look all the same. Keep those three points in mind when you create your portfolio. I hope this post helped some of you out there who are struggling with their selection.