What does your portfolio say about you?

By Hannah Freeland

We all know that the first thing a potential client wants to see is our portfolio of work, but what are they looking for?


  • Who have we previously photographed?
  • What type of feeling comes across in the image?
  • What does a typical client look like for the photographer?
  • What type of yard do they photograph at?
  • Are they an expert?
  • Are they horsey and understand when a horse looks good?
  • Have they worked with anyone famous?


And many many more, but the point is – clients won’t be looking for 100 images to ensure you have photographed thousands of clients in every possible location. Your client wants to view 10-20 beautiful images that speak to them. You need to put what you do best – RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.



What is it that you bring to a shoot? For example:


  • Dramatic shots with dark backgrounds
  • Children and ponies are your thing
  • Smart dressage horses with the rider in all of their gear


Whatever your ‘thing’ is, make sure you throw it in your potential clients face when they look at your portfolio.



My ‘thing’ is capturing the bond. I love the quiet moments that happen naturally while my clients are simply adoring their horse. This is what’s shown in my portfolio, and I have heard clients tell me hundreds of times they just love the connection I capture.


People will talk themselves out of it

 I remember reading once that if you show a client 10 perfect images that match what they are looking for then they will purchase. If you show them 99 perfect images and 1 that doesn’t speak to them, they will walk away and find another photographer. People will find excuses for not booking, it’s part of our makeup.


It’s a harsh reality, but it’s another reason why we must make sure we have the following checklist ticked off when building our portfolio:


  • Are you 100% happy with each and every one of them? If you’re not sure about the image – TAKE IT OUT of your portfolio.
  • Is your target market in your portfolio?
  • Is your ideal location to photograph in your portfolio?
  • Can you replicate the results in the portfolio?
  • Is it clear what your ‘thing’ is?
  • Does it flow nicely and give a great overview of your brand?


If you cannot answer YES to these questions, take a look through your hard drives, re-edit your images and get out there and shoot to fill this check list!


Last but not least, as I could write about Portfolios for days… when was the last time you updated yours?


People love to follow photographers for years before they book with them, believe me!


Make sure you are always showing your best and most current work.