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Creating a captivating photography portfolio: Tips and examples

Photography will always be a high-demand industry – wherever there are people, there will be a call for a camera to capture the moment.

But how do you reach acclaim in the photography industry? How do you build a captivating portfolio that will make you stand out and get you the work you want?

In this blog we offer up some of our best tips and examples to make your portfolio the best it can be, catching the eye of possible clients and showing off your unique style.

Tips for creating a captivating photography portfolio infographic

Tips for creating a captivating photography portfolio

1. Mix up your shots and angles

One of the best ways to create and interesting and dynamic portfolio is by putting in photos taken from a range of shots and angles:

  • Close-up – a close-up shot does what it says on the tin, framing and focusing closely on the person or object in the shot to give us a more intimate perspective
  • Extreme close-up – extreme close ups are essentially a super close-up, often focusing on a specific part of the face, texture, section of an object or space etc. Extreme close-ups act almost as a microscope to get us closer to what has been captured, and can give an insightful and dramatic effect
  • Medium shot – also known as waist shots, these are exactly what they say – a medium distance camera shot
  • Long shot – long shots are often used to capture large areas of space and to show us people or objects within their surrounding setting or environment. These shots lend themselves particularly well to landscape photography
  • Extreme long shot – this is basically the opposite of an extreme close-up; the shot is taken from a further distance to create a uniquely framed shot
  • Different levels (shoulder, hip, knee, ground etc) – this is where you can get creative with shots – you can explore different levels of shot, seeing which gives the best or more unique perspective depending on your subject
  • High angle – involves capturing images from an above perspective – often seen in fantasy or superhero film and imagery
  • Birdseye – exactly that! An above angle shot which looks directly down on the subject matter, as though the camera were a bird looking down at the world from a high perspective. Can be great for group shots
  • Over the shoulder – often used when photography two or more people, this angle literally involves taking a photograph over the shoulder of someone or something and focusing in on the reaction of the person they are talking to or the scene that is set before them
  • Face to face – often used to capture two individuals from a profile angle as they interact – you will have seen this angle many a time in rom coms!
  • Dutch angle/tilt – Dutch angle or tilt shots are a fairly unique way of shooting, often used in action films. This angle offers a tilted effect which lends itself particularly well to moments of confusion or fear
  • Low angle – shooting from a low angle, often to create dramatic effect of enhance the size or scope of a person, object or place

Our US neighbours over at Polar Pro go into further detail about the different types of shots and angles, what they are commonly used for and the effects that they can achieve.

2. Think about colour schemes 

There is a reason why colour schemes and aesthetics have become such an integral part of film and photography – they create a whole vibe! 

When showing your work in your portfolio it might be worth arranging your work in colour schemes to show the different energies of your work. This can be particularly eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing for potential clients.

3. Highlight what makes your work unique

Got a unique style or vibe? Your portfolio is the PERFECT place to show it off! At the end of the day, the thing that will get you hired is showing what sets your work apart from other photographers, showcasing what you can to bring to the table that others can’t. 

Putting forward your niche and specific style of photography will give you the edge to get you noticed.

4. Show off your range

The wider your range, the wider the pool of prospective jobs for you. If you enjoy different types and subjects of photography then absolutely reflect this in your portfolio. 

Dividing your portfolio into different sections showing the different styles you focus on will give you a greater breadth of client options, and as a result, opening up more work opportunities.

5. Be sure of your audience

Last but certainly not least, one of the most important things when putting your portfolio together is to know your audience. Whether you do one thing and do it well, or you branch out into different styles of photography, expertly tailoring the sections of your portfolio to meet the needs and requirements of certain business demographics will give you an added air of efficiency and professionalism. 

Our British neighbours over at Canon UK give some further expert advice on how to really make your photography portfolio shine.

Top short courses to study photography infographic

Study photography with My Learning Online

Does a career in photography sound like something you would love? Get your dreams off to the best possible start and get snapping with a photography certification online with My Learning Online!

Our courses include:

  • Photography – let’s start with the basics: you will learn everything you need to know about camera parts, shots and angles, creating a portfolio and so much more – this is the perfect course for any budding photographer
  • Portrait Photography – an extremely popular style of photography, often called upon for fashion and cosmetics, editorial and creative work, as well as headshots and portraiture for industry professionals and creatives artistic endeavours and special occasions – this course will equip you will the knowledge and keen eye for capturing each unique face
  • Photography Business – the perfect course to help you get to grips with the practicalities of running a photography business, as well as supporting you in building your portfolio and reaching out to potential clients
  • Professional Photography – the student will become the master! By the end of this course you will fully equipped with all the professional industry-level know how to thrive in a career as a professional photographer
  • Wildlife Photography – considered one of the most magical and rewarding forms of photography, you will learn how to capture the essence of some of the world’s weirdest and most wonderful creatures, getting up close and personal to animal worlds you otherwise would never have entered.

These courses will teach you just how the photography professionals do it. Through a combination of unit workbooks, video tutorials and exercises, you will learn how to build and hone your skills in logical steps, ensuring that you are equipped with all the tools you need to succeed in a photography career.

We will take you through all the need-to-know basics such as lighting, aperture, shutter speed, appropriate lenses for different projects, as well as making sure you are up to speed with the processes that take place post photography session, editing with Photoshop and Lightroom to make your photos the best they can be. 

Best of all, you will learn how to capture magic – the people you meet, the places you go, the natural wonders that make themselves known; with your camera at your side the possibilities are endless.

These industry-leading courses have been professionally developed, and will put you in the best possible place to start a career in the photography sector – whether you have an organisation in mind that you have always dreamed of working for, or you want to set up your own business which puts you in the driver’s seat of your photography themes and photography salary, it is our job to help you reach your fullest potential.

All of our photography courses include a DSLR camera for you to use for the duration of your training, making sure you have the right gear to capture those magic moments. All our courses come with a downloadable course brochure and further information about our online learning system, module breakdowns and tutor support.

Let’s get snapping!


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