When compiling our online portfolios we often arrange it as our “best of” works. I was no different. Over the course of 10 years I have made a lot of pictures and tried to find the most impactful and powerful images and arrange them into sensible categories for potential clients to browse.

What I end up with however are a lot of images which no longer represent the style and direction of my brand. In this sense, my website is looking backwards.

It faces back to all the work I’ve previously done – where it should be facing forward to the work I want to be doing.

Not making sense yet? Consider the following.

As a modeling talent suppose in your background you’ve shot fashion, fitness, lifestyle, general commercial, swimwear and even some glamour lingerie images. You group together your images into categories and put up the best of the best work you’ve done on your website. A few years go by and your sole focus is booking fitness work. You no longer want to shoot swimwear, lingerie or fashion. Yet your website still shows this work. It should instead show the work you want to be booking.

You may protest to say “but what, what about showing diversity in a portfolio to illustrate to a client that you can do more than a few things.”

Not that diversity is not a good thing – it is. But showcasing work that you no longer want to be associated with muddies your brand and confuses clients as to what your focus and goal is. Then you may have that awkward conversation of being approach about a job, responding that you are not shooting that style and the reply back is “but it is all over your portfolio.”

A second protest could be “but what if I sometimes want to book certain work, but don’t want it to consume my entire brand.”

Last week I had attended a seminar for photographers where the presenter (a photographer with 30 years of experience creating images on top of working as a founder of a photo agency) had a great suggestion.

Consider creating “orphan pages” on your website. Galleries that only you have the link to and are not visible to the general public who pop in on your website. If a specific client requests a certain type of imagery that you have – you can send them that direct link.

For example, with my website I question how much architectural and event photography work I want to be doing. Yet I occasionally book both. Thus I will be removing the links to the galleries for both – keeping them as orphan pages to use if and when a client needs to see them. Thus the primary focus of my website can be on the sports and fitness industries.

Consider the work in your portfolio presently (both print and online) and ask yourself it it matches the direction you want to go. Is it looking forward or looking back?

James Patrick
instagram @jpatrickphoto