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Creating a Digital Portfolio

Several years ago I started a special photography project photographing people that have very little or no modeling experience. I wanted to challenge myself on how to teach a person to model. Photographing non models is not a big deal. Isnt that what we do when a client comes to us for a senior portrait or a wedding? This project had to be different, I needed a theme that would tie the project together. It finally came to me. Being single and not a very good cook, I went out to eat almost 3 times a day. What better place to find subjects than a restaurant. My theme, waitresses.

Why I needed a digital portfolio

Im not a shy person, I have no problem talking to strangers. But it’s difficult, especially for guys, to talk to a female waitress without coming off creepy or as another G.W.C., Guy with Camera? I needed to show the quality of my work as I eased into the conversation about the project. At first, I used a printed portfolio. Sure it looked great, but my intentions were too apparent. I needed a subtle way to show my work, something that just happened to be with me. Thats when I created my first digital portfolio.

My search for a Gallery App

I went down the traditional path of purchasing iPad and Android gallery apps. They were good, but didn’t meet all my needs. I needed a multi platform app that could view my digital portfolio on all of my devices; iPad, Android phone, Internet and web site. The next step was to figure out how to quickly and easily deploy my portfolio to these devices. This sounds simple, but the current apps I worked with made this a tedious task.

New improvements to SmugMug solved my problem

After much frustration, I asked my SmugMug Pro buddy Nick Wrzesinski for advice. I told him I wanted to view my Portfolio Gallery offline on my iPad and Android phone. In the past, I needed an internet connection to accomplish this and it took forever to view the images on a slow connection. He told me the new improvements to the app allow for offline viewing. This one improvement was exactly what I was looking for!

Other features that sealed the deal

  • sharing to Social Media sites.
  • sending an image via text messaging or as an email.
  • display my portfolio on a TV using Chrome Cast or Air Play.
  • share images by using Apples AirDrop with people nearby.
  • clients can download the app and have their images on their devices.
  • family, friends and clients can purchase a photo using SmugMugs mobile site.

My Digital Portfolio Workflow

For my modeling portfolio, I selected about 22 of my favorite images. I found using too many images bored the viewer and using too few prompt them to ask for more. I arranged landscape images to appear first, then switched to portrait view. This gives a better user experience when showing the portfolio and makes the user turn the device only once to get a full view of the image. .

One Gallery Three Locations

  • I created a new Portfolio gallery using the SmugMug Publishing Service in Lightroom
  • Linked my Portfolios url to a menu on my web site
  • Installed the SmugMug iPad app and applied the available offline setting
  • Installed the Android app and opened the Portfolio to automatically save the images to my phone.

Final Thoughts

My digital portfolio workflow uses Lightroom’s Publishing Service and SmugMug but the concept can be used for other online image hosting services. Storing your portfolio in one location, then link it to your web site, iPad or Phone will make it easy to maintain. Once you add or delete an image, all devices will be updated.

*Feature image elements lukiv007/ Dollar Photo Club

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