We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have professional photos of your work. Documentation is the cornerstone of a strong portfolio, and necessary to have it ready for any opportunity that comes your way.
First, you’ll need to find someone to photograph your work. If you are confident that you’re able to document your own work, that’s great! Lucky you. If not, we recommend finding a photographer to work with on a regular basis. We highly recommend the services of Adam Milliron Photography. You can choose to pay him to edit your photos or to hand over Raw Images that you can then edit yourself.
For editing purposes, we recommend Photoshop or Lightbox. You’ll need a license for these programs, if you don’t have one, Adobe programs are available for $10 monthly (photography only) or $50 monthly (access to all programs) through their website. More info here. It is well worth the investment to have the proper tools. However if you have a photo editing software that works better for you, feel free to use it. If you want to learn to use your new Adobe programs and you have a Carnegie Library card, you have access to Lynda.com for free, and can watch unlimited tutorials on any program you’d like! Here’s the link!
Once you have your Raw Images and Software and are ready to edit, this guide can help you edit your photos and prepare them for any opportunity. You’ll then neatly organize them into folders on your External Hard Drive. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to buy one. Raw files take up a ton of space on your computer. Here is one I bought from Apple when I bought my computer, but there are many others. You know yourself. Overshoot the storage that you’ll need. Just get one. Don’t start storing this stuff on your computer’s hard drive or you’ll soon regret it.
Simple is best. Clean up obvious imperfections, straighten the framing, and create good crops for detail if you don’t have any detail shots. If you can, just ask your photographer to get good detail images for you. You’ll want to edit those as well.
Once you have a good cropped image, correct the color/saturation/contrast/brightness to your liking. From here you’re going to start saving your images as follows in separate folders in your EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE, not on your computer.
raw - for archive purposes so you always have it in its original format
print - highres saved in cmyk as a .tif this is for magazines or newspapers or anyone else who needs a print-ready file. Print should large (usually as large as it can be) at 300dpi.
web - 1080 px wide by however tall saved in rgb as a .png or .jpg (.png has transparency, but that doesn’t matter for photographs. won’t really matter if you use .jpg or .png). web should be saved at 72 dpi but it doesn't really matter since its 1080px wide.
thumbnail (optional). most websites will automatically generate a thumbnail from the web version, so this is optional. but could be useful in some cases. thumbnails are usually square but don't have to be. usually 150px x 150px or something like that.
Decide on a naming system for files that works for you. Here are some suggestions:
I like to do something like this:
But choose something that works for your practice and stick to it across the board. It will make searching and inventory so much easier, as well as sharing future images.