In this age of an increasingly competitive photography market, we shooters need to utilize every tool possible to make us stand out in the pack. My buddy Matthew Jones has gone back to basics with his printed pocket portfolio. He has found that in a world of modern digital portfolios, these printed books allow prospective clients to not only have something that they can take home and remember his work by, but it even easily fits in their pockets! Jones shares his thoughts on the benefits of having a pocket portfolio below.
Jones was nice enough to exclusively share his thoughts with us:
As a photographer, I’m constantly striving for new ways to stand out. While considering that some of the greatest opportunities to create a lasting impression on a potential client in my realm (motorcycle and automotive photography) are at trade shows, or highly publicized events, sometimes all you have is one shot.
Yet how do I set myself apart from the hundreds of other hobbyists walking the showroom floor with a DSLR, a Facebook fan page, and a business card itching for work?
Digital portfolios are great, but the decision for the potential client to revisit your work is totally in their own hands. Printed portfolio books are amazing, but there’s a reason everyone isn’t running the floor with the looks of a freshman who’s just received their first round of textbooks (mainly cost, in my opinion). And as far as business cards go, yes, they’re an effective way to provide your contact information and should never be dismissed, but rarely will that small rectangle provide you with enough space to show off the entirety of your work and skill set. Which again, leaves the door open for whether or not that potential client will decide to view your work again on their own time.
After wrestling with these thoughts for weeks in anticipation of an upcoming event, I finally landed on the idea of creating a “pocket portfolio.” Something that was small enough to fit in one’s pocket, yet large enough to show off the integrity of my work in a complete body, all at a cost that wouldn’t break the bank.
The thought process was that with these pocket portfolios, not only would I already be setting myself apart from the rest of the crowd by approaching the potential contact with something they haven’t already received that day, but, by allowing (and encouraging) the contact to keep the book, they’re guaranteed to view my work at least one more time, as it's pulled out of their pocket and thrown to the trash with the rest of the cards they’ve received that day. And maybe, just maybe, at that point they’ll reevaluate and contemplate as to whether or not I’m an individual they’d like to follow up with, or potentially even consider hiring for work.
It’s not rocket science. It’s basic business and effective marketing. Something that plays just as important of a role in being a photographer, as being able to take decent pictures.
I’ll be the first to admit that in no way is this my idea, as I'm sure it's been done many times before me. But then again, when was the last time someone approached you with a portfolio the size of a business card?
So, after an immense amount of digging through Google and dealing with a few massive formatting headaches, I was finally able to find a source that could complete my vision: a 3.5x2.25, 10-page (18 spaces for images) pocket portfolio at $2.99 a piece. The best handout imaginable to follow, “Hello, my name is Matthew Jones. It’s a pleasure to meet you."
Believe it or not, doing this post has motivated me to put together my own little printed carry-around piece. I became so accustomed to showing my work in casual conversation at an event on my iPhone (I don't like to be awkward and carry my iPad around everywhere, especially at a casual event), which can be helpful at showcasing my abilities, but unless they visit my website after we part ways or particularly love my business card, I risk being a faded digital memory. A pocket-sized takeaway such as Jones' "pocket portfolio" can not only be visually impactful, but also has a greater chance of leaving a lasting impression on a prospective client.
Here are some links to help you create or print a mini portfolio book:
- Presto Photo - Company that prints books to order in various sizes
- An article about creating your own mini portfolio
- A second article about creating a mini portfolio