The printed portfolio

The photographers portfolio… do you even need one these days? If so, what format, style, colour etc.

I have just produced a new printed folio and wanted to share a few of the reasons for doing it the way that I have.

Firstly, the question of whether one is even needed in the ‘digital age’? That is a firm yes. People still love to see your images as prints, it gives a break from the screens that many of us spend so much time at and allows you to present your work in the way that you want it seen. What kind of portfolio to chose is a much more difficult question, fashions, funds and personal preferences can influence every decision.

For years I had a fantastic leather portfolio from Plastic Sandwich but two things drove me to change. Firstly, I am shooting a lot more work in landscape format and the old book was 12×16 portrait. Secondly, plastic sleeves – I wanted rid of them once and for all. Once you rid yourself of plastic sleeves the paper and print quality becomes much more important, Hahnemuhle paper (keep trying, you will pronounce it correctly eventually) are the only choice for me so I was thrilled when they sent me one of their leather portfolios. A simple but sturdy black leather portfolio holds the pages firmly and with a simple understated style, I opted for the Photo Rag Duo 276gsm paper as I love the texture of the Photo Rag and wanted the option to print on both sides of the paper. The folio and paper come as a kit with the paper pre scored and punched which makes it a simple process to print and assemble everything. The guys at Calumet kindly lent me a Canon Pixma Pro-1 to make the prints, I can report that after a few teething problems with page layouts the printer handled the job admirably, many thanks to Jamie and the team for their help.

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I finished the portfolio off with a personalised blind and foil debossing, many people refer to this as embossing but pressing text into the surface is technically de-bossing (amazing what you learn doing this sort of project)! I’m very happy with the final result and am sure that it will hold me in good stead for a long while.



The most important thing, however you chose to present your work, is the work itself! I once heard a photo editor describe the most impressive portfolio they had seen was presented in a tatty photo paper box! The second most important thing is getting that portfolio out for people to see so I’m off to a few meetings!





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