One of the first lessons you are taught in business school is effective presentation skills. Those lessons apply equally well to a portfolio presentation as they do to the boardroom. These suggestions on how to show your portfolio, whether with slides or prints in person or by way of digital images on-line, where drawn from a very expensive education so listen up!
1) First Impressions. Put your best image first. People make snap judgments. They are likely to form their view of you based on the first thing they see. (This goes for your dress and demeanor too if you are making an in person presentation.) Once that first impression is formed, there is often no changing it. It is imperative, therefore, that you put your best image first!
I have often seen an editor act favorably on a mediocre portfolio because they were enchanted by the first image. The opposite is also true, I have seen editors reject strong portfolios because the first image was weak.
2) The Body. No mistakes! People are prone to fault judge. They look for the bad, for reasons to reject. Rejection is less work. Editors like to think that they are very busy people, that they are overworked with lots of deadlines. They look at huge numbers of portfolios from all manner of people. If they can find a mistake they have an excuse to reduce their workload. Do not give them that excuse! At the very least every one of your images has to be technically flawless. Do not include the image with beautiful color and composition that is a little soft. Leave out that very moving moment that is just a tad underexposed. No mistakes. None. Zero.
I realize this sounds a tad cynical, so think of it from another perspective. Would you want the work that represents you to be anything less than the best it can possibly be? I suggest twenty images for a portfolio. If you cannot come up with twenty technically flawless images, perhaps you should take some time before presenting a portfolio.
3) The Finale. Close with your second best image. People remember the last thing they see. That is why it is always best close with strength. If your first impression was not enough to get the job, if the editor has to see more people, consult with someone else or is just plain wishy washy, you want to leave him or her with a highly favorable and very memorable impression.
4) A random thought. I always try to tailor, as much as it is possible, my presentation to the audience seeing it. No pictures of flowers please, when showing your work to a newspaper editor.
To conclude, you can maximize the effectiveness of your portfolio if you:
Put your best image first,
Have zero mistakes in your images, and;
Conclude with your second best image.
Good luck. If you have any questions or comments I can be reached at [email protected].