5 Essential Photography Techniques To Show In Your Portfolio

There is no shortage of people looking to make it in the photography industry. If you want to stand out from the rest, you need a good portfolio to back you up. Here are five photography techniques that every professional photographer needs to be able to demonstrate their skill and versatility.

Angles And Aspects

The way that you frame an image can drastically alter the mood that it invokes. The same object or scene can be shot from multiple different angles and with different framing to produce photos that are polar opposites in terms of their mood. Your portfolio should demonstrate that you are capable of utilizing different angles and aspect ratios in order to create the effect you want.

If you are primarily looking to show off your creative side and you want to enhance the shareability of your portfolio in order to show off your artistic talents to as many people as possible, varying the angles and aspect ratios that you use will help you a lot. Whether you prefer Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform for showcasing your work, there is no standard approach to displaying images or thumbnails. By sharing slightly different versions of the same shot on different platforms, you can play to the strengths of each.

On the other hand, if you want your portfolio to show off your ability to produce functional photography according to client specifications, such as a product photographer or a food photographer, varying the angles and aspect ratios that you use in your shots will demonstrate versatility. With this type of photography, artistic considerations come second to the practical demands of the work. 

Showcasing a variety of different angles in your work will also show that you are able to work out the best viewing angle for the job at hand. By using different angles, you can completely change the apparent features of an object. Try taking a single object and photographing it from every angle you can think of to see how many different effects you can create.

Mood And Lighting

Identifying the right mood and lighting to use for any given situation isn’t as easy as you might think. Most of us have our own default settings that we turn to for mood and lighting; stepping outside of these boundaries doesn’t always come naturally. However, your clients will want you to be able to work with different lighting in order to create different moods as the situation calls for.

There are many photography publications today that theme their work according to the current seasons. Similarly, if you end up doing professional photography work for a retail business then you will find that their demands change throughout the year. The kind of mood that they want to create for their Christmas marketing will generally be very different from their Black Friday marketing.

Your portfolio is the perfect place to demonstrate that you are able to work under different lighting conditions and that you can use whatever lighting is available to you to maximum effect. While most photographers know to demonstrate their work with a variety of angles and framing techniques in their portfolio, many people overlook the importance of experimenting with different lighting techniques and moods.

The Use Of Negative Space

Sometimes, the empty space that you leave in your photographs conveys just as much as what the image actually captures. Once you learn to work with empty space, you might be amazed by what you can achieve. Photographs that are heavy on negative space favor a minimalist approach. Not only does the minimalist look very pleasing aesthetically, but it is a fantastic technique to deploy in commercial work.

Minimalist photos that leave lots of negative space give businesses a large blank area to play about with. For example, consider a furniture retailer who wants you to photograph a chair for their catalog. Instead of just photographing the chair, you could place it by a desk, against a wall, with nothing but empty space behind it. This would then produce a photo that showcases the product while leaving a huge void of empty space behind it. The retailer can use this space to overlay information about the chair. 

Sometimes, a minimalist photo of a product accompanied by text that sells it to a reader is more effective than any image can be on its own.

Digital Retouching

Contrary to what some people think, professional photographers do not just take images from their cameras and instantly submit them. Just as a photographer working with film will use different darkroom techniques to produce different results for their photo prints, so to do digital photographers utilize photo editing software to produce their photos.

In the same way that a film photographer has to develop their film in order to produce prints, digital photographers need to process their raw digital image files to achieve the look they want. In many cases, the photographer will only undertake very basic editing, usually replicating the kind of techniques that photographers can use in the darkroom to produce different end results.

It is worth including some side-by-side comparisons in your portfolio, demonstrating what your photos look like before and after you apply some retouching to them. Simple adjustments like raising the contrast and nudging the saturation up or down can make a big difference. In fact, there are many more advanced digital photography techniques that are much more involved, which lead to subtle changes in how an image looks.

Potential clients will want to know that you can do more than compose a good photo. If you can’t turn your initial photos into a professional end product, your use will be limited.

Presentation Is Key

OK, so this isn’t so much about your actual photography as it is about the way that you present it. However, we cannot overstate just how much of a difference the software that you use to produce your digital portfolio will make to how it is received. There are plenty of options out there for digital photographers today. It has never been easier to put together a professional-looking digital portfolio.

For example, Format is a popular option. Not only does it enable you to put together a sleek online photo portfolio that you can use to showcase your work and impress prospective clients, but it also enables you to attach a custom URL to facilitate sharing. Format offer a range of plans, with something to suit every photographer. There’s also a two-week free trial that you can use to get to grips with it and make sure it’s right for you.

Regardless of the software that you used to put together your portfolio, it is important that you are presenting your work in the best way possible. Even the best photography work can be let down if it is presented poorly. Not only do you want something that makes it easy for you to showcase all your best photos, but you also want something that makes it easy for you to switch photos out so that you can constantly add new ones.

Your photography portfolio is your chance to show potential clients and employers what you are capable of. It is important that you demonstrate your awareness of different techniques and styles and your ability to pick the right one for any situation. Make sure that you include all of the above fundamentals in your portfolio.