Why you need a photography portfolio – and how to make one, fast

photography portfolio
Instagram viewed on a web browser (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

If you’re serious about pursuing a photography career, you'll need a photography portfolio. Luckily, they’re super-easy to make, don’t have to cost you anything, and will enable potential clients to view your work all in one place. As nice as a printed photography portfolio is, there is really no need for them these days – unless you’ve been specifically asked to create one for a client or you want a tangible memento. 

There are lots of different ways you can go about creating a photography portfolio depending on how much you want to spend, how important its design is, and who you want to see it. With money pretty tight these days, not everyone can afford to build expensive websites to display their photography portfolios, so photographers have been looking at alternative ways of getting their work out there.

Check out the best web hosting sites for complete control over your website (opens in new tab)

While an official website is the most professional way of displaying your photography portfolio, even when using the best website builders (opens in new tab) they can take a long time to make – especially if you’ve got a very specific design in mind. Gathering all your images and making sure they're optimized for web is another time-consuming process, but it’s an absolute must as you want your webpage to load fast – and large images take up precious storage space. 

Creating a portfolio page with Squarespace (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

For photographers just starting out it may not be economically viable to invest in a website just yet, but lucky there are free options. Some website builders, such as Wix, offer a free service, but this will have limited design options and storage and you will have Wix.com in the domain name.

Your other option is to use a photo-sharing app such as Instagram, Plates or Vero. These are currently all free to use, and very quickly your photography portfolio can start taking shape. 

Although each app is a little different, they do much the same thing – they display your images in a grid on your profile and allow you to be discovered by other creatives or clients. There has been a lot of controversy around whether Instagram is even a platform for photographers any more, with so much emphasis put on video, but as a way of displaying your work it’s a very easy option. 

Adobe Portfolio is great for a very basic site (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Adobe Creative Cloud also offers an online portfolio builder, which is free if you’re subscribed to the complete Creative Cloud package. It really does just do what it says on the tin; you can display lots of images but it isn’t very customizable, and you’re confined to the templates it has on offer, but at least you can create something that looks like a website. 

An online presence is really important if you want to get your work out there. A photography portfolio is a great way of keeping all your work together so that it’s easily accessible to potential employers and clients. It doesn’t need to have lots of bells and whistles – as always, the most important thing is your images.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.