Make perfect Photography Portfolio for Free
No matter if you have your own site, or work as professional photograph or neither, this article can help you open your eyes for new possibilities. We will answer question: Do you even need your own internet site for a good portfolio page?
Each day, there are more and more people that buy great equipment and are capable of taking amazing pictures, let’s face it, each day, we are more and more like a tiny drop of water in a huge ocean, but yet there is place for everybody. Don’t get an illusion that your page will be visited alone, without marketing, just based on mouth to mouth marketing based on your happy customers and perhaps photos you made and published. It can happen but reach of such page is measured in hundreds of visitors per month, and that is my friend not enough to earn (get enough customers).
Making good Photography Portfolio for Free, huh?
Whoever tells you that you need your own personal website to promote your pictures (video) is wrong, especially if you want a page as soon as possible. Today when people are in such hurry to get to wanted goal, they don’t want to spend money nor time to make websites and then to maintain and upgrade them every single day and there is way to get exactly that, in fact plenty of solutions for that “problem” of modern life are just in front of us.
You probably know all of these sites: flickr.com, 500px.com, facebook.com, youtube.com, vimeo.com, stumbleupon.com, etc. … and yes, those are sites where you should start building your portfolio. There is no way that you will make new website with complete SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and reach in such a short time. Some people don’t even have Facebook, they don’t like to be exposed, don’t want to see what others are doing, don’t want to be like others, well I do agree on that one, but you should think out of the box, Facebook = free promotion.
Some doesn’t use it but most people are using these sites in everyday manner, facebook.com for example. But I’m not sure how many people are aware how powerful marketing on facebook can be. Posting your flickr photos on facebook = marketing ;) it can be fun and yet, you can have your model – nature – other galleries available for comments, likes, sharing, show off, promoting your work.
List of sites where you should make your account:
- Twitter (simple site for sharing news from facebook, or other networks)
- Vimeo or youtube (or both)
- Squidoo (or similar article based site)
Why should you join these social networks?
Your friends are first clients that can share their thoughts about you and your work. Later you can make Facebook Page for your Photography portfolio, make it look and feel professional. Facebook is good “replacement” for your page. It’s good page to share your work which you posted on other sites, you should find out more about it, but you can automatically connect most of it, flickr with facebook, so you don’t even bother with it, when you post new picture or video on flickr, it will be automatically posted on your Facebook wall.
Flickr is great space to share your photographs and videos with other people.
Normal account is great for start, later if you want to see stats, you should go for pro, where you can see what people search for, how they got to your pictures (over which tags, keywords, search engine, etc).
With tags you put, you get exposure to masses, and if flicker decide to explore your photo, your photo will be viewed by thousands of people. There is even flickr blog that announces pictures by specific category, if your picture gets there, you will again gain big exposure and lots of views for that picture and your flickr portfolio.
There is even an option to connect external blog with Flickr blogging
I don’t recommend you to join each group and vote and get spammed your beautiful portfolio with little group “ad” images. Best way to get views and clean nice comments is to add people and comment their work and in return you will get their comment back, if they like your work.
This is how good flickr profile looks like:
I’m new to this network, but when I saw couple of accounts and browsed some images I liked it, and saw an opportunity to promote there as well.
I do agree with their promotion words:
“We promote all the best work through a variety of social media, giving you the exposure you need to move forward. Even if you’re not a photographer yourself, you can follow the photos of your favorite photographers, create lists of images that amaze you, express your opinion in comments and by votes, and perhaps find a photographer for hire.”
I don’t understand how popularity (point) system works, as I saw amazing pictures with score of 49 and regular ones with score of 80 or more, if you know about it, please let me know in comment.
I must admit I heard of it before but never check it till today, and first impression is: “I like this site”. It can be your free blog, without hassle to make one from scratch. You can connect your Facebook and Twitter with tumblr. Post posts, pictures, anything like real blog. Simple and easy to use, easy to customize. Highly recommended, even if you already own blog or site.
Check it out here.
Vimeo / Youtube
Both of these sites are networks or, better to say, social community networks that build their reputation based on video. No better place to share your videos or time lapses, connect with people that do same, make groups, favorite others work, like others work etc.
You can learn a lot from how to videos on youtube and vimeo, you can see lots of reviews about gear and equipment, lots of comparison reviews and lot more.
Video is one of the most powerful media, use it.
You made something spectacular, you want to share, stumbleupon is great place to achieve popularity and exposure your work. Check this out: Very interesting Panorama of Paris
Squdio is one of the many HubPages where you can write articles, in general, share your knowledge. It’s not exactly for promoting your work directly, but you can fill about you fields which are displayed on bottom of each article. Notice that articles from squidoo are highly rated at google, so if you research keywords, you could be at top of google search with your article about that specific theme.
What people like
Some suggestions what to share with people for free:
- People like to learn new stuff for free, share your how to (how you took/shoot (video), equipment, post processing, etc.)
- Find specific topic where you are good, make it even better, nail it
- If you are good with videos, make setup video as well
- People like to see something unusual, something not yet seen
No, you don’t have to reveal all your work and knowledge, but you can give hints, and some ideas how people can achieve similar results. Magicians are good as long as people wonder how they did tricks, once people know how to, magicians are in second plan, but if the trick is good, lots of people will refer to original trick founder, and read (learn) from him how it’s being made. Don’t fool yourself, people will find way to do it one way or another.
There is no secret behind almost any picture.
Don’t make common mistake that most people do. For professional waters, you should have only pro work displayed, quantity is not what you need or want, quality is. You can make your test account/s, test how it goes, I recommend that you visit couple of forums instead, and ask for opinion about your work (google: “photography forum”), once you checked your ranking of quality in such places, you are ready to put your name on the internet on all the networks you wish to.
If you start with not your best quality work, don’t force your name on it. Tags could play big role in this one, don’t brag with your name if you are not good enough.
Going up on ladder, solution: Be Social
I’m not sure what you expect and how fast you think you can go. As in any other job, you will gain respect, build up network of people that’ll like your work over some time. It takes time. You should add people, comment on others work, make friends, be constructive, help others and give good advices and constructive critics. Most of the fair people will return a favor and if your work is good you will get lots of views and comments in no-time. Add others work as your favorite, add it to your galleries, groups, and other networks, however they are called.
Some of these networks have upgrades to their account. With upgrade you have more control over your work, more info about stats, which could be very useful if you decide to go in professional waters.
Important note: Link your accounts, you can post links on most of this networks, and you should do it, cross link your work among this networks.
Let me clarify more commenting on others work. Don’t go around and write to anyone, whatever comes on your mind, into comments ! You should see if person (photographer) seeks for comment (critic, suggestion, advice…), or if there is any discussion where you can add value to. You can kindly ask if you feel urge to comment, something like “Would you mind if I suggest you a thing or two?” or “Would you like honest critic about this image?” These questions can be asked over private messaging system or mail (no need to spam it out publicly). If answer is “No …”, then move along. Not everybody is open for criticism or advices, accept it.
If conditions are met for comment, go and do so, but be honest, tell what’s on your mind and have understanding that not everybody is the same, what you find as a potential improvement to specific photo, author could find as worsening of his work. If you find something misplaced, displaced or anything that bothers you on photo, ask “how come that you took shoot from that angle”, or “how come that you picked that filter for sky”, “interesting that you picked this background, did you try with other one as well?”, etc.
If you see something that bothers you, try to find out, or suggest nicely how to improve it. Example: “I personally like when clouds look more natural, if you want to get more natural look you could achieve that by lowering your contrast.” Don’t put yourself on top of others, your ego is not welcome, have respect, and really you should give what you are ready to receive, be kind to others, no matter if your knowledge is above ;)
For best exposure Use Tags and Keywords
Your pictures and videos represent you, your mind and your soul. Give them names that they deserve, don’t leave it as: IMG_3043.jpg or DSC_34343.jpg etc.
Tag and Keywords, should be words that best describe picture/video you made:
- What colors are on photo
- What is on photo (objects, subjects, go more into details)
- Mention your name-surname if you want to be on the first page on google when somebody writes your name in search
- Google loves how to, use it in keyword phrases for your bts (behind the scene) pictures and how-to materials
- Don’t spam your tag/keyword area, use it smart
Write descriptions if you can. Explain how come that you took that picture, what it means to you, how you feel about “stuff” that is on picture, describe how you made that shoot. You don’t have to do it, but each description has few meanings:
- Gets viewer more into picture, into story
- Words used in description (keywords), better exposure to search engines
I can’t stress this one enough, it is very important that your work is properly tagged.
Don’t be so paranoid protective about your work
Yes you made a good job, you think it’s worth money in high resolution and then you decide to put a big water mark over whole picture and/or signature (comment) under each picture like this one: “Don’t use pictures without author (my) permission” or anything similar.
It is very annoying to see all the same descriptions under pictures, which say, “don’t copy, use, steal, etc.” Be creative, you can ask on your profile description a word about not copying your work, but not under each picture, rather don’t share it then.
If you really want to earn from photography online with this method you should share some of your great work for free and you can always put smaller resolution or with “silent” (read small, not so highlighted) watermark if it has to be on picture.
Chris Goddard: “As for watermarks, I use it on every photo because I’ve personally had work stolen from flickr/FB and I just like to be as cautious as possible. Placement for the watermark is set on composition. I try to find a negative space so I don’t overlap it onto the subject.”
Where is my page?
You got it Sherlock ;) … no central page that refers to you, instead you have bunch of highly SEO targeted and connected portfolios.
And guess what, nobody offline that ask you for your business card would not mind your professional portfolio/s being on such networks, it looks nice and neat, with all dynamics going on. There are plenty applications for smartphones where you can show off your work and look and feel professional about it. Even some of the pages can look unique – 500px has that option, domain like: yourname.500px.com (and will look like your own web site).
Great thing is that people can contact you on private messages or mails, and you can use same mail for all networks, so you get all notification on one mail.
What I get from portfolio? How to make profit?
You are already professional photographer, you earn money taking photos, or your hobby is photographing and you want to see, can you earn from it ?
Well eventually after some fun, you start to wonder about profit thing. There are few ways to earn, but in end it really depends on your product (art):
- You can earn with how to tutorials, linking to the gear that you used for picture or video shooting (so called affiliate), great site to do it would be squidoo and there are plenty of similar ones out there.
- You can earn by selling pictures on stock photo sites (istockphoto, shuterstock, imagekind, fotolia, getty images and etc.) – it takes time (and lots of quality pictures to start really earning)
- You can earn selling your services to people around you (showing off your portfolio page/s)
- You can compete on contests around the www, if you win contests you can earn money and “brag” about it on your portfolios and attract more people
- You can teach, give lessons to people how to shoot like you (over skype, phone, etc)
- Or just do what you did so far and show off your portfolio to new customers to catch them
It depends from which Country you are, there are TAXes on income, and you should find out more about it before you start receiving payments for your work online.
Find your work online
You should test your work. After you made all accounts in social networks, and fill them up with some of your work, you can after couple of days, try to search in google for your keywords (tags) that you used, and see what happens. More tags you combine, more specific search will be, and most probably higher in search you will display. Most of the searches will be for images, so turn that option on google; For articles you can use normal search.
Social networking is very important part of online world, whether if you would make your own page from scratch or you already have one, you would have to spread a word (work) on social networks and link your page to them to get more audience. So this is in fact a no risk method to get to audience and share your work and on end make your great looking portfolio page that we were talking about all the time in this article.
Next: We will cover how to make page from zero till end.