There’s a lot more to being a photographer & filmmaker than just going out and about and taking photos or filming videos. People like to sell the idea that photographers are buying and reviewing new camera equipment every week and that they spend all their time travelling to exotic places and capturing it.
When in reality most photographers can afford a new camera every couple of years and most of our time is spent managing data, backing up files, editing photos, working on prints or photobooks and creating our digital portfolios.
So it begs the question, how can we use our time effectively as photographers & filmmakers and continue to improve and work on our craft even when we are not out and about taking photos?
The answer is fairly simple: curating your work, building your online portfolio and establishing your online presence.
Why Do You Need An Online Portfolio?
There are a lot of potential reasons why you would want to put some effort into creating an online portfolio, share your work and use your actual name online, but for the most part, it's all about accountability, leverage and establishing your presence online.
It's like raising your little flag in your little personal piece of land, except it's on the web and anybody can access it, see your work, get value from your experiences, and potentially pay it forward.
In his book and podcast, Naval Ravikant states:
“Embrace accountability and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage”
For those of you who are worried about starting a YouTube channel under your name, a blog, or an online portfolio, please keep in mind that doing so creates accountability for your actions and your work.
"People who are stamping their names on things aren’t foolish. They’re just confident. Maybe it turns out to be foolish in the end, but if you look at a Kanye or an Oprah or an Elon or anyone like that, these people can get rich just off their name because their name is such powerful branding. These people also take risks for putting their name out there"
Last but not least, creating that blog you wanted for so long or that YouTube channel or that online photo gallery gives people access to your work and lets them keep you accountable for what you produce and put out.
Your work can be seen anywhere in the world 24/7 and that is an advantage that nobody had 50 years ago. The ability to show and expose your work to millions out there... it's very exciting indeed.
I highly recommend you check out Naval's website, right here.
What Can You Make It About? - aka: What Can You Bring To The Table?
Now that we have talked about online portfolios and why you need one, you can start thinking about what can it be focused on. What are you good at? What makes you happy? What sort of value can you provide for others out there? What can you bring to the table?
"Adding more complexity to your decision-making process gets you a worse answer. You’re better off picking the single biggest thing or two. Ask yourself: What am I really good at, according to observation and people I trust, that the market values?"
"Those two variables alone are probably good enough. If you’re good at it, you’ll keep it up. You’ll develop the judgment. If you’re good at it and you like to do it, eventually people will give you the resources and you won’t be afraid to take on accountability. So the other pieces will fall into place"
Hopefully, this can help you start thinking about what would you want to share with others and your path as a creator as well. And now that you have an idea or potential goal, then you can focus on execution.
How To Create An Online Portfolio?
Easy Method - Squarespace
There are several options out there that can scale up or down depending on your needs. For complete beginners and people that don't code or don't want to worry about learning how to code, you have options like Squarespace.
You can create posts, blogs & even a digital store with no major setbacks or knowledge. I made a full guide about creating a portfolio site with Squarespace before, and you can watch it right here:
More Control & Options - Ghost.org
If You want more control, privacy and security, then I recommend you use Ghost CMS.
Ghost is a powerful app for new-media creators to publish, share, and grow a business around their content. It comes with modern tools to build a website, publish content, send newsletters & offer paid subscriptions to members.
Everyone I refer to Digital Ocean gets a $100 credit over 60 days. Digital ocean is a great way to affordably host sites, create Ubuntu droplets, Lamp & Lemp stacks, Nginx, etc.
If you'd like a more detailed guide on how to create a Ghost CMS site, or perhaps you want a video, consulting or help to create yours, then let me know!