Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's In Your Portfolio

On Tuesday night I had the honor of being a Guest Host on Twitter ( a Chat at #IntDesignerChat), leading a one-hour discussion about Portfolio Design for Interior Designers--and Business Planning, The Importance of Working with a Professional Photographer, and the Slow Down Movement.

We had an International Chat with people tweeting from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Brazil, Israel, and Italy.

Here are some of the points I made (In 140 characters or less!) about "What's in Your Portfolio?"

  • A picture IS worth 1,000 words
  • A portfolio is your calling card
  • A portfolio sells your vision & capabilities
  • Be organized in your portfolio & presentation
  • A portfolio is 1 of the most important things you can accomplish
  • What market are you trying to reach
  • A clear understanding of target market helps determine images & info
  • Your graphic identity/branding must be clear & simple
  • Dont forget contact info
  • Different portfolios for different projects
  • Ask yourself what images do I want to show
  • Are there images I want to leave out
  • What kind of response do I want
  • please/surprise/challenge
  • Portfolios can be used to show results of designs;present work up to a time point
  • Portfolios can be project oriented
  • Portfolios can be time oriented
  • Portfolios can be room oriented
  • Also different portfolios for different target markets
  • Top designers use KOLO presentation portfolios
  • Consider: Designer Statement, title list, representative cover image
  • Viewers get tired/bored seeing too many images
  • Consider 12--25 images
  • Before & After 
  • Close-ups, wide-angels, details
  • Choose images that best show what you were trying to accmplish
  • Get feedback from the photographer & other professionals

After 15 minutes discussing "What's In Your Portfolio," we moved on to "The Importance of Working with a Professional Photographer." I will save my thoughts on this for another post.

Here's an online portfolio of an Interior Designer's Garden.

Here's an online portfolio of a beautiful pond.

Here's an online portfolio called The Eyes Have It.

What's in your portfolio?

If you would like to fill your home with beautiful photographs, or need a portrait, a wedding photographed or if you are an interior designer and need photographs of your projects, contact me for a consultation.

Drawing on that degree in Art History, a passion for telling stories, and years working as a portrait and documentary photographer (And owning an Art Gallery) helps me bring a heightened sensitivity to my photography. Let's make the world a more beautiful place!


  1. Thanks Bruce for summarizing these points which would truly help recent graduates, like me, to concentrate on making a beautiful portfolio which could give us a lead for job!
    However,this also makes me think about the student life where after spending so much on education, presentation boards & other stuff that whether we would like to go for one of that kind photography or not? I hope, the commercial firms/designers do understand, the costs related to students and doesn't compare the images of students projects to the established designers portfolio!!
    I would really love to read about how students/recent graduates looking for design work/internship can use their portfolio with not so professional photography to make a deal!

  2. What a wonderful post! It's a great read for those designers in the process of updating portfolios and websites. Even for those of us who are too far away to have you photograph our projects, sharing some consultation time, prior to addressing these needs, might be a good thing for us to do with you, via phone. Would you ever consider offering that service? (And from someone who has read your Twitter & Facebook posts, I know your advice would be impeccable!) All my best! Wanda

  3. This is such a great resource! I can never read tips like these enough...and these feel positive to read. Does that make sense? I feel like some people put guides out there that feel intrusive and almost negative, but your guide gives me energy and provides support! Thank you!

  4. Shakha,
    I'll look into your question. Meanwhile, you might want to consider partnering with a fellow student photographer.

    Let's talk about this! Great idea!!!

    Thank You.

    That IS the sweetest thing to say. I guess it has to do with my positive outlook. It DOES make sense :)


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