Arteh Odjidja is a commercial fashion, portraiture and fine art photographer and educator, based in London. Growing up with a father working in the filmmaking industry, Arteh Odjidja developed an early love for the creative process. With a passion for sharing these creative experiences, he has provided this quick guide to curating your strongest portfolio at home. To learn even more, join his Webinar on April 16th, 2019.

We are hired for the work we share to the world, so wouldn’t it be great to make sure you’re putting your very best work in front of your audience? Firstly, it’s a good idea to start with collating feedback from people you respect what they think your best images are and what they think your strengths are. You can also get a good indication of your strongest images from the response you receive on your social media activity. Ultimately, we can gain valuable insight from our audience this way and truthfully, I don’t think there has even been a better time to do this.

Secondly, try to consider the following:

A. When people think of you and your work, what words come to their minds?

B. Think of some iconic photographers you can draw inspiration from. For example, when you think of Richard Avedon and his work, what words come to mind?

For me, the words are fashion, black-and-white, portraits, iconic and timeless.

What about well-known Magnum photographers like Bruce Gilden? Portraits and street-life.

Or Sebastian Salgado? Black-and-white, travel and documentary.

I’ve also asked friends and colleagues the types of words that come to their minds when they think about me and my work. Common answers are black-and-white, portraits and portfolio/project work. Some say fashion.

C. The most important question, of course, is what do you want people to think when they think of you and your work?

Below are some insightful actions in developing your voice and, ultimately, your portfolio.

  1. Try to think of the words that you desire people to immediately associate with you and your work.
    a) Find words for the aesthetic (the physical appearance i.e. high resolution, timeless)
    b) Find words for the genre (i.e. portraiture, landscapes)
    c) Find words for how you want people to feel when they view your work (i.e. happy, sad, over-whelmed, intrigued)
  2. Write these words down and start to go through your website, your social media, your existing portfolio and be honest with yourself as to whether these words are communicated clearly enough. Seek the feedback of others in assessing the clarity of your message.
  3. Start to clear out some of your images that dilute your message. It’s okay to disregard some of your work.
  4. Keep the words you’ve written down at hand, or even on display in your current workspace as a guiding criterion for your image selections.
  5. Make a selection of your strongest images and format this into a portfolio for prospective clients. These images should showcase your style and your strongest commercial and artistic values.

To see more of Arteh’s work, follow him on Instagram @arteh_odjidja_photographer

Want to learn more? Join Arteh in his Webinar all about Curating your Strongest Portfolio. Sing up for free here.