7 Proven Steps to Create an Impressive Photography Portfolio
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Define your unique photography style
  2. Select your best photographs
  3. Arrange photos to tell a story
  4. Include diverse images
  5. Add context to each photograph
  6. Design an attractive layout
  7. Update your portfolio regularly

Creating a photography portfolio can sometimes feel like assembling a puzzle with no clear picture on the box. But fear not, these seven concrete steps will guide you on how to create a portfolio for photography that stands out and truly reflects your craft. Let's dive right in!

Define your unique photography style

Before you start choosing the photos for your portfolio, it's time for some self-reflection. What is it that makes your work unique? That's your photography style, and it should shine through in your portfolio. Here's how to pin it down:

  • Look at your past work: If you've been snapping pictures for a while now, chances are you already have a style — you might just not see it yet. Look through your past work and see if there are any recurring themes, subjects, or techniques. These are clues to your unique style.
  • Consider your strengths: Are you great at capturing spontaneous moments in street photography? Or perhaps you have a knack for creating dreamy landscapes? Either way, play to your strengths when defining your style.
  • Think about your values: What messages or stories do you want to convey through your photography? Your values can greatly influence your style, so don't forget to take them into account.
  • Experiment: If you're still unsure about your style, don't be afraid to try new things. Experiment with different techniques, subjects, and editing styles until you find what feels right for you.

Defining your unique photography style will not only help you to create a cohesive portfolio, but it will also make your work more recognizable. And in a world where thousands of images are uploaded every second, having a distinctive style can be the difference between blending in and standing out. So take your time, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of discovering your unique photography style.

Select your best photographs

Now that you've defined your style, it's time to choose your champions. These are the photographs that will represent you in your portfolio. Here's how to select them:

  • Choose quality over quantity: It’s tempting to include all your work, but remember, this is a showcase of your best shots, not every shot. Aim for around 15 to 25 high-quality images that you're really proud of.
  • Get a second opinion: We're often our own worst critics. A second set of eyes can help identify your strongest work. Reach out to fellow photographers, mentors, or friends who understand your vision.
  • Consider versatility: While it's important to have a cohesive style, your portfolio should also demonstrate your range. Include various subjects, themes, or techniques that show your versatility as a photographer.
  • Think about your target audience: Who are you trying to impress with your portfolio? An art director? Clients for wedding photography? A fashion magazine? Choose photographs that will resonate with your target audience.

Remember, your portfolio is like your visual resume. It's what potential clients or employers will use to judge your skills. So, choosing the right photographs is a vital step in creating a portfolio for photography. Go for those that not only showcase your technical skills but also tell a story about who you are as a photographer.

Arrange photos to tell a story

Once you have picked your best shots, the next step on how to create a portfolio for photography is to arrange them in a way that tells a story. This doesn't mean your portfolio needs to be a literal narrative, but rather, it should flow smoothly and naturally from one photo to the next.

  • Start and end strong: Place your best photo at the beginning and your second-best at the end. Why? The first image sets the mood and grabs the viewer's attention, while the last image leaves a lasting impression.
  • Group similar photos together: This helps create a visual rhythm and makes your portfolio feel more cohesive. For example, you could group photos by color, subject matter, or style.
  • Consider the mood and emotion: Each photo should transition smoothly to the next, not just visually but emotionally as well. If one photo is serene and the next is chaotic, it might create a jarring effect.
  • Don't forget about balance: Pay attention to the visual weight of your photos. Too many heavy, dramatic photos can overwhelm the viewer, while too many light, airy photos may feel lacking in substance.

Remember, arranging your photos isn't just about what looks good—it's about creating a journey for the viewer. It's a chance to express not just who you are as a photographer, but also as a visual storyteller.

Include diverse images

As you continue exploring how to create a portfolio for photography, it's important to remember the value of diversity in your image selection. Diverse images can showcase your versatility and adaptability as a photographer, making your portfolio more appealing to a wider audience.

  • Explore different subjects: From landscapes to portraits, from still life to action shots, diversifying your subjects can show your ability to capture a variety of scenes and emotions.
  • Vary your techniques: Showcase your technical skills by including photos that demonstrate different photography techniques. This could include macro photography, long exposure shots, or high-speed photography.
  • Experiment with styles: Whether it's black and white, vibrant color, or vintage sepia, playing with different styles can add depth to your portfolio and keep viewers engaged.
  • Include photos from different projects: This could be personal projects, commissioned work, or editorial shots. Showing your work from various projects can give potential clients or employers an idea of your experience and range.

By including diverse images, you're not just adding variety to your portfolio. You're also showing potential clients that you can handle whatever photography needs they may have, making you a more attractive choice.

Add context to each photograph

As you dive deeper into how to create a portfolio for photography, you'll find that the context can make a world of difference. It's not just about the image; it's also about the story behind it. Adding context to each photograph helps your viewers connect with your work on a deeper level.

  • Provide a brief description: Jot down a few sentences about what's happening in the photo. It could be a simple note about the location, the time of day, or the event. This gives your audience a glimpse into the circumstances surrounding the shot.
  • Share your inspiration: What moved you to take this particular photograph? Sharing your inspiration can help your viewers understand your thought process, and it adds a personal touch to your work.
  • Explain the technique: Did you use any special techniques or equipment to capture this image? This information can be fascinating to fellow photographers, and it demonstrates your technical expertise.

Remember, your photography portfolio isn't just a collection of images. It's a showcase of your talent, your vision, and your journey as a photographer. By adding context to each photograph, you offer a window into your world, making your portfolio more engaging and memorable.

Design an attractive layout

Designing an attractive layout is a key step in how to create a portfolio for photography. It's like putting together a visual storybook: the layout guides your viewers' eyes and sets the pace for their journey through your work.

  • Keep it simple: Don't let a cluttered layout distract from your beautiful images. White space is a photographer's best friend. It gives your photos room to breathe and helps to emphasize their beauty.
  • Stay consistent: Consistency in your layout creates a smooth, enjoyable browsing experience. Use the same spacing, fonts, and colors throughout your portfolio. This consistency also reinforces your brand identity.
  • Balance your images: Pay attention to the visual weight of your photos. Balance heavy, dark images with lighter ones to maintain visual harmony. And remember, variety is the spice of life. Mix horizontal and vertical shots to keep things interesting.

Designing a layout might seem intimidating, but it's actually a fun and creative part of creating a photography portfolio. It's your chance to display your work in a way that reflects your unique style and personality. So, take the time to experiment with different layouts and find the one that best showcases your amazing photographs.

Update your portfolio regularly

The last step in how to create a portfolio for photography, but definitely not the least, is to keep your portfolio updated. Your photography portfolio is a living, breathing entity—it should grow and evolve just as you do as a photographer.

  • Out with the old, in with the new: Regularly take stock of your portfolio. Are there photos that no longer represent your best work? Don't be afraid to replace them. Showcasing your most recent work can demonstrate your current skills and artistic direction.
  • Stay relevant: Updating your portfolio not only keeps it fresh but also relevant. If you're a wedding photographer, for example, including photos from the latest wedding trends can show potential clients that you're up-to-date and adaptable.
  • Keep it dynamic: Regular updates keep your portfolio dynamic. It gives viewers a reason to come back and see what new work you've added. It's also a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your craft.

Remember, creating a photography portfolio is not a one-time task—it's an ongoing process that reflects your journey as a photographer. By updating your portfolio regularly, you ensure it remains an accurate representation of your talent and vision. So, go ahead, capture that perfect shot and add it to your portfolio, because your best work is always yet to come.

If you're looking to create an impressive photography portfolio, don't miss out on Kayleigh June's workshop, 'Creating Your Beauty Photography Portfolio.' This workshop is tailored to help you showcase your unique style and talent in the beauty photography niche, providing you with valuable insights and guidance to make your portfolio stand out.