The End of the Print Portfolio?

Making of, while I was shooting a Fashion Editorial. Shot with Pentax Optio M60 © Lewanna Kanarek

I was recently asked to share my portfolio with a magazine and asked how would they prefer to view it. To my surprise they said “just bring your laptop, that will be fine” and they added that “more and more photographers are presenting their work using this medium”.

I was pleased and disturbed at the same time. Being that the press are moving towards the internet and are losing millions in print media, I suspect that seeing the images on screen was more relevant than seeing my work in print. As a result of this changing paradigm, photographers will have to consider their output based on other conditions that were not considered even 2 years ago. Considering the price of constantly updating your book, as well as the environmental considerations, perhaps that is a good thing. I have considered printing books, as an alternative which costs about 4X -10X less than printing your portfolio yourself. Just check out the deals available on the Internet. Custom portfolio’s can’t compete. My leather bound portfolio and plastic sheet mounting cost around 450€ per book, not including the carrying case.

I would like to hear your impressions regarding this subject and how you see where and how the presentation of commercial photography has changed and is going.

About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…
  • Boris

    Some while back, I spoke to a successful advertising photographer who had indeed stopped using print portfolios. What he did instead was send (usually by messenger) a 17-inch Powerbook or Macbook Pro with a short instructional note, in sleep mode and preloaded with his portfolio. When the agency’s Art or Creative Director opened the laptop the portfolio would play. The laptop was free for the agency to keep. The photographer said that sending 17-inch laptops was a) not that much more expensive than having several updated books printed up every year; b) showed his work really well on a big screen; and c) definitely made him stand out from the crowd.

    He was at the level where he was shooting high-end ad campaigns, so the investment of a few thousand dollars to make a unique impression on an agency made perfect sense to him.

  • Carlo

    I don’t know how it is with the top brass of fashion photography but I have images that look good electronically but look horrible printed.In my opinion, getting your images looking good in print is another skill set. There’s a different set of skills needed to do so. Electronic portfolio and print portfolio is, to me, the same as phone interview versus face-to-face interview.