To Portfolio or not Portfolio
The conventional wisdom states that it is better to have a very few photographs on your photography website than a lot. I have always had really mixed feelings about this but never really formulated an argument either way. A few days ago I was watching a Scott Kelby video which made me think a bit. Somewhere on this video (I honestly cannot recall for sure which one it was but am pretty sure that it had something to do with his Google Plus endeavors) Kelby made an argument for photographers having a very limited portfolio in terms of numbers of photographs and his argument went along these lines:
Photographers with lots of photographs put their best ones on page one, their second best batch on page two and so on and so forth. The prospective client views page one and thinks ‘Wow – great photographs great photographer’ then looks at the second page and thinks ‘Not bad but not as good as the first selection’ then clicks on the next page and thinks ‘These are now getting pretty average’. Kelby’s argument is that if the client had nothing to look at after the first selection of say, a dozen images, they would be left with the impression that they had seen the work of a great photographer and would be more likely to hire them.
I have some problems with this logic. If I look at a photographer’s website and they only have a dozen images posted I find myself wondering if they can produce the goods day in and day out. This is especially true if I read elsewhere on the website that said photographer has been in business for a decade or more. A hit rate of one or two photographs per year would not fill me with confidence. After all, if I were a director looking for a commercial photographer or half of a couple looking for a wedding photographer I would want to be confident that the person hired was going to producing first rate work on the day they were working for me. In other words I would want to see what there average output was – their low bar so to speak.
I am not advocating that a photographer shows their worst images but rather that they show enough images that the potential client can be at least reasonably confident of getting good work even if the photographer isn’t having their best day of the year.