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Wedding Portfolios - Selecting killer shots

So, you've shot a few weddings and have some decent looking shots that you would like to show your potential clients. How do you choose the right ones for your portfolio? Do some shots sell your work better than others?

The way I choose my portfolio shots goes like this:
  1. Go through ALL of your photos and select the best 20-30 shots of all of your pictures.
  2. Take those 20-30 shots and lay them out on your bed or a large table.
  3. Critically examine each of these shots for technical flaws (focus issues, framing, weird eyes, lighting issues, and background "noise"). If you don't know what to look for technically, check out some of these articles here and Darren Rowse's Digital Photography School.
  4. Remove any shots that are not technically great.
  5. Remove any shots that are not interesting (interesting subject, beautiful, vibrant color). You want your potential clients to be blown away by your pictures, not bored.
  6. You should be down to about 10-15 great shots now. Ask a non-photographer, female acquaintance which ones she likes best and which ones she likes least. (Women have a better natural eye for beauty. I always use this step when selecting photos)
  7. Consider removing 1 or 2 that she didn't like.
  8. You should now have your portfolio shots. Enlarge these to 5x7 or 8x12 and put them in order of best (top 5 first) to "not bad" in a nice black portfolio book. I use ITOYA 9x12 Art Portfolio books.
As far as selecting shots that sell, I try to include 10% groom shots, 10% cake and reception, 10% group and family shots, 10% couple and hands, 10% flowers, 20% bride shots, and 30% photo journalistic shots. I might revise this as time goes on but these are the shots that brides and parents want to see to decide if you are any good.

Most parents (who are paying for this) want to know that you can shoot good portraits of their daughter and some good family and wedding party shots that they can hang on their wall. In reality a monkey that has read a wedding photography book can shoot those shots, but what really draws people in and catches their eye is an interesting and artistically composed photo-journalistic shot of one of the important details of the wedding that tells a great story or a cute kid shot. That's why I include these in my portfolio. When you're done you'll have a great portfolio to show you friends, family and potential clients. And everyone knows, if you're serious enough to make a great looking portfolio, then your clients will start dishing out the serious money for your skills.

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