Creating a Print Portfolio - The Design, Part 1

In the last article, I talked about establishing the high-level goals for my print portfolio. Today, I am going to examine those goals and determine how they affect the portfolio design. I am concentrating on the first two high-level goals I created previously.

  • Exhibit my work to prospects
  • Demonstrate my skills as a printer

My first goal is establishing how I want to exhibit my work to prospects. I shoot color images as well as black and white or monochrome images, but I tend to exhibit and sell my monochrome prints, which is my core genre. I want this portfolio to be about that monochrome work. Therefore, I am excluding any color prints from the portfolio. I may create a portfolio in the future that includes color work, but for now, I am concentrating on monochrome prints.

Second, I want to demonstrate my skills as a printer. I find it disheartening that most photographers do not print their images and they wind up existing as a collection of bits on a memory card or a hard drive. While some photographers are creating prints from their images, the majority of working photographers do not have the time to devote to hand printing their images and send the work out to a lab, which is an essential part of their business model.

I am fortunate to work not only on the capture end of the workflow, but on the output or printing end as well. I want the portfolio to demonstrate the printing skill set I developed over the past years through hundreds of bad prints. This does not mean just giclée prints, but alternative printing methods such as cyanotype, kallitype, van dyke brown, and salt prints as well.

Finally, since the print is the central part of the portfolio, I want the prints to be viewable in their natural state. This means no plastic sleeves or other holders that cover the surface of the print in any way.

Now I have turned my first two high-level goals into tangible design goals.

  • Only monochrome prints
  • Display giclée or alternative prints
  • No plastic sleeves or covers

Next time we will examine the remaining high-level goals and turn them into design goals.