Are Printed Portfolios Obsolete?

Mara Serdans Posted by Mara Serdans on Oct. 9, 2013

"Do I Even Need a Portfolio?"

I get this question a lot from both reps and photographers. While I love my iPad, the short answer is yes, if you shoot for print, you need an actual printed portfolio.

Yes we live in a hyper-digital world, and yes, unless you’re Annie Leibovitz you need an online portfolio. I always start my research on the Internet because I can easily send links to the art director instead of waiting for a book to arrive. If you’re not online, I may never see your work in the first place.

But once you pay me an in-person visit or meet me in a portfolio review, I prefer to see a quality printed book. Call me old fashion, but if I’m hiring for a print shoot, it helps to see how your photos hold up as high-resolution photographic prints. That means don’t skimp on your digital printing either. I want to see your work at it’s best, and that’s way more than 72dpi. And for whatever reason, it feels more personal to see an actual printed book. Maybe because it’s tactile.

Online portfolios, however, are a great way to share your latest work. There are plenty of portfolio apps available to suit your fancy. They’re also essential if you’re showcasing any motion work. And to be honest, I’m a sucker for iPad-optimized sites. But if we’re meeting for the first time, and you show me your portfolio on an iPad mini, you’re just selling yourself short.

What’s your take? Have you ditched your printed portfolio and gone completely digital? Have you noticed an impact for better or worse?

Image credit: ZNO