Remember The Audience – Photography Portfolios with Mark Murray

A few hours ago, Mark Murray and I presented our photography portfolio presentation in San Antonio, Texas for the Fall 2012 JEA/ NSPA National Journalism Convention. We have presented together at every JEA Convention since Nashville, Tennessee.  The presentation changes with technology and the city. The students influence or presentation too.  Here is my post from our last presentation in Seattle, Washington.

Cell Phone photo at night of The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

From this year’s discussion, I will remember “purpose and audience.” At least, I will remember that Mark and I tried to explain to “our audience” the importance of identifying the correct audience.

I often relate a portfolio to music. Photos can belong to the same album and sound different… but not too different. Photos can also sound similar, but not too similar, otherwise listeners feel cheated. We want variety and similarity. Viewers know variety when we see it and we know dissonance when we see it too. Portfolios and albums (or CD’s) are similar.

The 2012 Vans Warped Tour music festival sold out when it stopped in San Francisco on Saturday June 23, 2012. More than 20,000 fans attended the event at the lot next to AT&T Park. (bryan farley)

When considering a portfolio, do you know your audience?

Is your audience large and loud?

Wil Gravatt and the Wil Gravatt Band perform at the Hill Country Boot Bar in downtown Washington DC. Wil and Chad Barth organize the Concert for Epilepsy in the Metro DC area. (bryan farley)

Or small? Quiet? Happy to be together?

Have you submitted to a photography contest at a JEA/ NSPA event? If so, is your audience a group of unpredictable judges? If so, Mark and I cannot always tell you what will win, but we hope to guide you through the process. Winning is not the most important part of creating a portfolio.

To the many students and fellow educators who have helped us through the years, would you share with us what you remember helping you? Our session was packed again today, and I told our participants that I would post something and ask for responses from the graduates who have moved past the awkward portfolio days.



6 Responses to “Remember The Audience – Photography Portfolios with Mark Murray”

  1. Bryan Farley says:

    Mark Murray, Bradley Wilson, Zach Hetrick, Grant Morris Suzie Reecer, Ariana McLaughlin and anyone else who sees this… what can you add about your learning process around photography portfolios?

  2. Zach Hetrick says:

    You always want to show your best work first, now more than ever. We live in a over stimulated world where getting 2 minutes of anyone’s time is a big deal. On my site my average view is 2:06 so I put my best work first, and hold nothing back. Your audience is captive, but online you have to show them your best stuff before they escape.

  3. Bryan Farley says:

    Zach Hetrick many students saw your work three hours ago. What is your best work now? And in high school, why did you think it was OK to show your “less than best work?”

  4. Zach Hetrick says:

    My best work now, the work I go after involves athletes. I do more than just that, but that’s the work I try to get out there. In high school it wasn’t not showing my best work, but instead saving some of my better shots for the end of the portfolio. However in 2 minutes no one will get to the last of my 45 shots, so I no longer save my better shots for the end.

  5. Zach Hetrick says:

    Analytics has changed the way I do my portfolio. I used to limit my work to just 25 shots. But today I can see that people don’t go in order from first to last. Instead they look at thumbnails and click only what interests them. When you are not sitting with your audience they don’t have to be polite they skip, rush, and look at only what they wish to see. The average visitor to my site looks at 16 photos, and I have little control of which so I present only good work, and put the work I think they want to see up front.

  6. bryan farley says:

    Thanks Zach for providing such detail.

    Do you have a link to your work?

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