I get asked a lot of questions about when and how you should start putting together your Click Pro portfolio, so I thought I would share with you some of the most frequently asked questions and all of my tips for getting your set started off on the right foot.
This one’s easy.. NOW. You should start today. I believe there is value in seeing a collection of your “best work” all in one place – no matter what stage you are at in your artistic journey. Even if this is as simple as creating a folder on your desktop, you just drag images to it as you edit through them and find ones you are proud of. In the beginning, you don’t have to constantly consider, is the “Click-Pro worthy?” If you love it, and then it has potential, put it in the folder. Once you have a small group together, maybe look through them and start to look for ways to improve or ask for a friend or mentor to review them with you.
When you decided to build your portfolio, is it OK use older photos you took as well or is it better to start fresh with newly taken photos? There are no rules for what images you include or how long ago you took them. If you have work that that you are proud of from a decade ago, that still fits the Click Pro Standards, you can certainly included it It can be helpful to go through and pull any of your favorite and strongest images from the last couple of years to get yourself started.
For example, all three of these images were in my official Click Pro set. I would be happy to include any of these images if I was applying today, because I still feel like they are a good representation of my work and the quality that Click Pro expects. And in case you are wondering… that little cutie is now a nine-year-old big kid.
I will say the answer to this question will vary greatly depending on where you are at in your skill level and identifying your style and voice. Maybe you learned to shoot in manual last year, and that really changed the technical quality of your images. You might be better off shooting new work than to go back and rehash old images that you know you have grown from. Another big question is has your editing style changed. You will be scored on your processing and cohesion, so if last year your style was dark and moody, and you have recently changed to more clean color, you will either have to re-edit those images or just leave them out. Your set needs to look cohesive and identifiable as one style and voice. Even if you think you have your editing style down, it can be helpful to keep a raw copy of any images that you want to include, just in case you want to re-tweak any of them before applying. I know this was definitely the case for me with my black and white images. I got so tired of constantly updating them to my current mood, that I finally just put them all in a folder and applied my favorite black and white preset before hitting submit.
This one is pretty flexible too. I think my favorite is Flickr, simply because it is free and it’s easy to drag and drop the images to reorder them, which can be super helpful when you are deciding on the final order of your set. If you have a client gallery that you already use and really like (Shootproof, Pixieset, etc.) those are all perfectly fine. One feature I would make sure your gallery has is to show file names or allow direct links to the individual images. If you decide to get a portfolio review or join a prep group, it is really helpful to be able to reference certain images, so you know what the comment or feedback is referencing.
Screenshot of Flickr’s Organizr screen that will let you drag and drop and show the whole set at a glance if you are wanting to sort by color or light/dark.
I usually recommend waiting until you have at least 100 images that you are fairly confident in before you start to worry about the order of your set. Otherwise, you will lose your mind, and waste time, ordering and re-ordering as you add images.
This is another easy one… now! Even if you don’t have a single image in your folder yet, you can join a prep group and just learn from the group. I also find it is easier for the leaders and other members of the group to give you feedback on a few images here and there than to go back through and review 150 images at one time. So share with the group as you go! You can also learn things in the process, and make those positive changes moving forward and you know what to look for as you edit and add.
I co-lead a prep group on the Click Community forum that is open to all members:
If you prefer a FB group, you can join this group and get assigned to a specific small group:
If you prefer a more private feedback session or want a thorough Portfolio review from someone with experience with the process, I do offer both of those services and would love to work with you!
When you are ready to apply, you can use my Click Pro Ambassador link or use code LORIPICKENS to receive $15 off your application fee.
I have a few tools in my toolbelt that will help you grow to be the photographer you’ve always wanted to be! Whether you are prepping to be a ClickPro Elite or you are just ready to start leveling up and making new goals, check out these resources to help you grow!
(for the challenges, you must be in the Click Community)