Commissioners / photo editors & co - what are the key points you would look for on a photographers website?

Finding it challenging to portray my work in its true form without overloading with images to show variety and skills. What are the best approaches to keep it simple but efficient? Thank you!


  • @Emma Alexander @Matt Richardson @Jason Baron thank you all for super constructive advice, it's been very helpful! I've applied it to the updated version of my website, if you have the time to have a look, let me know what you think!
  • @Matt Richardson Yes, great point Matt! Direct email please, a contact form makes me feel like I'm going into a big ticketing system and my request is going to be overlooked. Unlikely, I know, but it feels like that: an unnecessary barrier between us connecting. When scoping out creatives I want to connect with you straight away, don't make it difficult for us to chat!
  • @Jason Baron Yes, I would echo Jason's point here: don't be afraid of including personal work, in fact I would actively encourage it. It does four things: shows me your true eye, what you would do outside the constraints of someone else's brief and vision; it allows you to push yourself creatively with no fear, if it doesn't work just don't show it, there are no expectations but your own; and it shows me a little of who you are. It also shows me that you care enough about your craft to seek out stories and keep creating - I don't want to work with someone who does this as a day job, a gun-fpr-hire, I want collaborators who love photography as much as I do. A commissioner doesn't need to love your personal work, but it's a great insight into what you are going to bring to the table and your approach. I find when reviewing folios we invariably end up talking about personal work more than the commissioned briefs, they have bigger stories behind them and creatives are geneally a bit more passionate, and that excitement really shines through, it makes me see what it's going to be like working with you!
  • For me, the first thing I head to when on a photographer's site is their personal work. Yes, its great to see what commercial projects and previous commissions a photographer's shot, but I love to see what work you choose to make on your own accord, and in your own time.

    Another thing that I see left off websites time and time again is your actual location. Often photographers are needed at quite short notice, and to have a specific town rather than just 'UK' or 'USA' is unbelievably helpful.

    Finally, get rid of the contact form on your site. We just want to email or call you directly!
  • Emma's reply is spot on Flora. It's about you and what you can bring that's different to everyone else (or at least most). That doesn't HAVE to be about the work, it could be about you as a person. Be authentic (I know that's an overused term these days but it's useful), and don't be afraid to show what you're trying to do and say with your photography. Commissioners love to know you can do commercial work but they love the arty side too, so don't be afraid of including some stuff that wasn't designed to make anyone any money. The biggest thing for me is levity. Most books/portfolios are so serious and worthy, so if there's just some imagery that's funny in there it always stands out. I wrote more about this here:
    The other thing I'll mention is that I've just left the BBC after heading up photography there for many years and setting up my own consultancy, and am offering free portfolio reviews to students and those relatively new to promo photography. Though looks like you're pretty established from your site. Really lovely things there! Jx
  • @Emma Alexander Thank you for such an honest answer, this is super helpful!
  • First and foremost: know your niche, own it and articulate it. No one wants to be pigeon-holed and it can feel like you might lose work by being too niche - but from a commercial commissioners point of view, you want someone who is the best at what they do, who lives and breathes it, and that makes you an easy sell into the client. Don't make it hard for people to understand what value you bring. To be really brutal, there are literally thousands of portrait, fashion and food photographers, so what is going to make you stand out in a very, very crowded market? Think about your values and talk about them, what drives you do what you do? Keep your 'about' age short but to the point: I do not care where you studied or if your grandad gave you a camera when you were 10 and that sparked a life-long love of image-making etc.: I care about what drives you, and makes you unique - what are you going to bring to the table that will blow the socks off my client's campaign?

You must sign up or log in before you 
add a comment.

Post reply