Creating Custom Folios for Self-Promotion & Presentation


This article was originally published in Photo Technique Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012. It appears here with some minor changes.

Creating Custom Folios for Self-Promotion & Presentation
by David Saffir

A teacher of mine once told me “nothing matters except your book” – referring of course, to my portfolio. Photographers use portfolios for self-promotion, to share a story or point of view, to help create a body of work, or to establish or reinforce professional identity.

The range of options in portfolio design and presentation makes for a number of choices—format, size, paper type, books, boxes, albums, printing processes and more. Other considerations: Budget? How much time to invest? Can new work be added, or can old work easily deleted? How do I pitch my work to different audiences?

In this article I’ll discuss a presentation option I’ve been working with lately and it’s one that I like quite a bit. Simple and inexpensive with straightforward construction, it’s changeable, elegant and a bit different.

The ready-made folio itself is made from a precision-cut sheet of heavy paper, folded to create a recloseable envelope or pocket that holds 10–15 prints. I’m currently using this design to showcase a dozen of my images printed on 310gsm Ilford Gold Silk inkjet paper. Each image is imprinted with my name, the title of the body of work and my web address.

Folio Cover – Closed and Opened

I created my own simple Photoshop templates (vertical and horizontal) that photo technique readers can download for free to create their own folio pages with a minimum of stress. (See link at bottom of this post).

Design Concept

There are pros and cons associated with any choice in a portfolio. I’ve experimented with options ranging from mounted prints to a bound book. The folio design I’ve settled on delivers a combination of versatility, artistic experience, modest cost, reasonable time investment and a degree of elegance.

I’ve always enjoyed books and prints. The experience of picking up a fine art book or print can’t be duplicated—a digital display doesn’t come close. I enjoy the experience of feeling the texture of the paper and seeing the print without glass in front of it. So one of my requirements—the tactile experience—is satisfied in this format.

Completed Folio – © R. Russell 2011-2012

These folios are versatile in that a photographer can create a body of work around a concept, story, location, culture or time period. Pages can be moved in and out of a collection, reordered, or reprinted and re-made. I use my folios as a marketing tool for my general photography business and also to promote sales of larger versions of my prints.

A folio like this can be shared with a group. Prints can be passed around, discussed and so on. A customer might un-bundle them and frame individual prints.The folio cover also has a die-cut window that allows creation of an introduction image with title—and of course this can be changed as desired.

Folio Materials

The folio consists of three components: the folio cover, a mat board inserted for reinforcement and the prints. Pre-made folio covers from Neil Enns of Dane Creek Photography in Seattle, Washington are offered in a variety of colors. The colors are cut from Royal Complements 100lb. acid/lignin-free paper, the white covers are made from Domtar Cougar Opaque. Mat boards are made from different sources depending on color and all are acid/lignin-free.

When assembled with a mat board the folio holds up to 15 pages depending on paper thickness. I am currently using Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk, which is about 310gsm. Thicker papers will limit the capacity of the folio.

Image Editing and Media Types

My image editing leverages the relative high Dmax and nice black point of this Ilford paper. This paper has a 96 brightness rating and a relatively warm baryta base. Working best with pigment inks, it’s a robust all-around paper and it doesn’t impose its personality on the image.

Of course you have many different choices for inkjet paper. Pick your favorite to showcase your images. I usually shoot in 16-bit RAW, and process in Phase One Capture One to 16-bit, ProPhoto RGB. Normal image edits in Photoshop or Lightroom usually include color correction, black/white points, midtone contrast and sharpening.

I designed a pre-formatted template in Photoshop to prepare each image for folio printing. I edit the image first then copy/paste it into the template. The screen shot shows the layout guides (in blue) that help me position the image on-screen. I use Edit>Transform to fine tune size and position to balance the image and text on the page. Adjust the boundaries and image size to your preferences.

Folio Template Screen Shot (Photoshop)

The pre-made folio covers also have a window on one side. Create a small image that is a bit larger than the window—perhaps including a title and your name and attach it to the inside of the folio. This adds a nice touch of professionalism and personality.

Printing

Given the 8.5×11 format of the folio, I’ve found it’s easier and less time-consuming to purchase cut sheets at this size. I’ve been using the Epson 3880 and the HP B9180 printers for these jobs, as both have nice ink sets and straight or almost straight paper paths. Printing on larger sheets or on roll paper could be less expensive, but there are issues that I’d rather not deal with such as including crop marks, trimming, paper curl and more. At current prices ink and paper together should be less than $1.50 per page. With 15 pages and the cost of the folio, the entire package should come in around $25.

I recommend that you print using “application managed color” and use an ICC paper profile in your printing. Most paper manufacturers offer paper profiles online for a range of printers. I’ve also gotten excellent results making custom paper profiles, particularly when using matte-finish fine art media. If you are using matte-finish fine art paper, consider using a spray or other protective coating to reduce vulnerability to scratching and scuffing. Some people use an interleaving sheet—but this may reduce the number of prints that will fit in the folio. I print these as unsigned open editions unlike my larger gallery-sized prints.

Texaco Station, The Palouse. © David Saffir

Collateral Materials

You can include an artist statement that might contain an introduction to your images, a description of the scope of the work, project objectives and the like.

Brooks Jensen who made some of the earliest digital folios suggests adding a colophon, which is a brief description of the provenance of the work and methods and materials used. Generally, the artist’s statement is placed at the beginning of the print series and the colophon at the end.

I feel that this design is a sometimes-overlooked option in presentation and promotion—it’s easy to set up and execute and the results can be very satisfying. I find it helps to differentiate my work—the form and format are different than books and boxes most commonly seen in the market. I certainly plan to continue to create and use these folios in the future!

Link to Photo Technique Magazine

Link to download page templates (please leave me a note if any problems)

© David Saffir

Photography Quote of the Day, July 24

Photography Quote of the Day, July 24 – David Saffir’s Photography Blog

© D Saffir 2012

 

A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.  ~Ansel Adams

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. – Albert Einstein

Palouse Dodge

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Check out our upcoming Master Class in Digital Printing, July 15! read more…..

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New Photos From the Palouse Workshop by David Saffir

A sampling of images taken during my latest workshop with Jack Lien…

Colors of the Palouse © David Saffir

 

Rolling Farmlands © David Saffir

HammerHead Barn © David Saffir

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Come to our new Master Class on Digital Printing – more info here.

Photography Quote of the Day – May 11, 2012

© David Saffir


“Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” – Eliot Porter

See details of our upcoming Palouse Photo Tour and Workshop, June 2012 – click here

Best of the Palouse Photo Workshop – June 19-23, 2012

Jack Lien and David Saffir, June 19-23, 2012

Early Bird registration, before May 1, 2012 is $650. After that, $795. Call Jack Lien (360) 481-4575

On a Palouse Country Photo Tour and Workshop, you’ll capture the uncommon photograph in a region described by National Geographic Magazine as “A Paradise called the Palouse.”

This 4,000 square-mile region sprawls across the Washington-Idaho border, encompassing uncommonly rich farmland.  Crop patterns form a vibrant patchwork appearance and a wild sea-like wave as the winds cause fields of wheat and barley to bend and sway. The Palouse offers photographers the opportunity to capture a diverse landscape and a chance to witness an unforgettable land formed by the Lake Missoula glacial flood path of 15,000 years ago.  Palouse Country Photo Tours is the only photography tour company that specializes in and is intimately knowledgeable with this amazing country.

This 5-day workshop, includes intensive field work, plus hands-on, practical, image-editing and printing instruction.

 

Field Work: Images From the Palouse

 In the field portion of this photo workshop we will capture images of the rapidly developing stages of crop growth and farmers working the fields. This is an excellent time to photograph the deep rich green fields against the freshly plowed ground and the pastoral scenes only found on the Palouse. The bold colors, patterns, lines, and contrast against the contours of the Palouse landscape is breathtaking. 

 Field Workshop leader Jack Lien has lived on and photographed in the Palouse for over 40 years. He’s discovered countless photographic opportunities throughout the region and has gained access to private land, nostalgic buildings and landscape that are often unknown or off limits to others.

Jack will get you into the heart and soul of the land and its people and you’ll have abundant opportunities to photograph historic buildings, barns, windmills, and fields. He also knows where to catch the best light for every shooting situation. You will have the opportunity to meet and photograph area farmers preparing their equipment for a long day in the field.

Segment Two: “Make Your Images Sparkle From Start to Finish” 

 In these segments, you’ll learn to optimize camera setup, get the right color from your computer, and edit your images to give them the sparkle and depth they deserve! We’ll emphasize Photoshop, Lightroom, Camera RAW, and fine art printing in these sessions.

 

Workshop Leader: David Saffir is an internationally-recognized photographer and printmaker. The author of two books, he provides color and imaging consulting services to individuals and organizations worldwide. He is the author of Mastering Digital Color: A Photographer’s and Artist’s Guide to Controlling Color, published by Thomson/Cenlar. His second book, focused on his photography, is titled The Joy of Discovery, published in Spring 2009. Other publications include Rangefinder Magazine, Professional Photographer, Pro Photo West, Great Output, Digital Imaging Technology, and others.

 www.davidsaffir.com

https://davidsaffir.wordpress.com

Details, Workshop Itinerary:

June 19

•     3pm – 4pm Orientation meeting

•     4pm – 5pm Briefing on camera settings for color and exposure before we head out into the      field (handout included)

•     5pm – Head out into the field until dusk to photograph this incredible land and its endless photo opportunities

June 20, 21, 22

•     Each morning we will depart from the motel at 4:30-5:30am and return around 11 am for a much needed rest.

•     2pm to 3pm – Review and critique of images shot in the morning (w/ David Saffir).

•     3pm return to the field and shoot until after sunset.

June 23

•     8 am to 12 noon – Classroom instruction, “Make Your Images Sparkle From Start to Finish” – David Saffir
Includes image editing and final critique of images captured during the week, plus printing.

Learn how to manage image quality from capture, to editing, and on to display or print. Get the most from your camera, computer, software, and printer, and create images that meet or exceed your expectations!

Agenda:

 •     Camera settings – white balance, ISO, shutter and aperture, color settings, JPEG vs RAW

•     Review: Transferring and backing up images after the shoot.

•     Organizing and selecting images for further processing and editing – including cataloguing and adding keywords for accessibility

•     Setting up the computer and display for correct color

•     Processing images in Camera RAW/Lightroom

•     Image editing in Photoshop

•     Printer setup and printing fine art images

WE WILL COLOR CALIBRATE ANY LAPTOP, COMPUTER, OR IPAD, FREE OF CHARGE, WHEN THE SEMINAR BEGINS.

 ____________________________________________________________________________

Limit 8 photographers – Workshop Fee: pay on or before April 1, $650, after that $795

Local transportation and lodging not included in fee

To register for this “Best of the Palouse Photo Tours and Workshop” go to our website at www.palousetours.com or contact us at: palousetours@comcast.net or call Jack Lien: (360) 481-4575

We suggest early registration as classes fill up quickly. A laptop is recommended but not required. 

Best of the Palouse Photo Workshop – June 19-23, 2012

Jack Lien and David Saffir, June 19-23, 2012

On a Palouse Country Photo Tour and Workshop, you’ll capture the uncommon photograph in a region described by National Geographic Magazine as “A Paradise called the Palouse.”

This 4,000 square-mile region sprawls across the Washington-Idaho border, encompassing uncommonly rich farmland.  Crop patterns form a vibrant patchwork appearance and a wild sea-like wave as the winds cause fields of wheat and barley to bend and sway. The Palouse offers photographers the opportunity to capture a diverse landscape and a chance to witness an unforgettable land formed by the Lake Missoula glacial flood path of 15,000 years ago.  Palouse Country Photo Tours is the only photography tour company that specializes in and is intimately knowledgeable with this amazing country.

This 5-day workshop, includes intensive field work, plus hands-on, practical, image-editing and printing instruction.

 

Field Work: Images From the Palouse

 In the field portion of this photo workshop we will capture images of the rapidly developing stages of crop growth and farmers working the fields. This is an excellent time to photograph the deep rich green fields against the freshly plowed ground and the pastoral scenes only found on the Palouse. The bold colors, patterns, lines, and contrast against the contours of the Palouse landscape is breathtaking. 

 Field Workshop leader Jack Lien has lived on and photographed in the Palouse for over 40 years. He’s discovered countless photographic opportunities throughout the region and has gained access to private land, nostalgic buildings and landscape that are often unknown or off limits to others.

Jack will get you into the heart and soul of the land and its people and you’ll have abundant opportunities to photograph historic buildings, barns, windmills, and fields. He also knows where to catch the best light for every shooting situation. You will have the opportunity to meet and photograph area farmers preparing their equipment for a long day in the field.

Segment Two: “Make Your Images Sparkle From Start to Finish” 

 In these segments, you’ll learn to optimize camera setup, get the right color from your computer, and edit your images to give them the sparkle and depth they deserve! We’ll emphasize Photoshop, Lightroom, Camera RAW, and fine art printing in these sessions.

 

Workshop Leader: David Saffir is an internationally-recognized photographer and printmaker. The author of two books, he provides color and imaging consulting services to individuals and organizations worldwide. He is the author of Mastering Digital Color: A Photographer’s and Artist’s Guide to Controlling Color, published by Thomson/Cenlar. His second book, focused on his photography, is titled The Joy of Discovery, published in Spring 2009. Other publications include Rangefinder Magazine, Professional Photographer, Pro Photo West, Great Output, Digital Imaging Technology, and others.

 www.davidsaffir.com

https://davidsaffir.wordpress.com

Details, Workshop Itinerary:

June 19

•     3pm – 4pm Orientation meeting

•     4pm – 5pm Briefing on camera settings for color and exposure before we head out into the      field (handout included)

•     5pm – Head out into the field until dusk to photograph this incredible land and its endless photo opportunities

June 20, 21, 22

•     Each morning we will depart from the motel at 4:30-5:30am and return around 11 am for a much needed rest.

•     2pm to 3pm – Review and critique of images shot in the morning (w/ David Saffir).

•     3pm return to the field and shoot until after sunset.

June 23

•     8 am to 12 noon – Classroom instruction, “Make Your Images Sparkle From Start to Finish” – David Saffir
Includes image editing and final critique of images captured during the week, plus printing.

Learn how to manage image quality from capture, to editing, and on to display or print. Get the most from your camera, computer, software, and printer, and create images that meet or exceed your expectations!

Agenda:

 •     Camera settings – white balance, ISO, shutter and aperture, color settings, JPEG vs RAW

•     Review: Transferring and backing up images after the shoot.

•     Organizing and selecting images for further processing and editing – including cataloguing and adding keywords for accessibility

•     Setting up the computer and display for correct color

•     Processing images in Camera RAW/Lightroom

•     Image editing in Photoshop

•     Printer setup and printing fine art images

 ____________________________________________________________________________

Limit 12 photographers – Workshop Fee: $795

Local transportation and lodging not included in fee

To register for this “Best of the Palouse Photo Tours and Workshop” go to our website at www.palousetours.com or contact us at: palousetours@comcast.net or call Jack Lien: (360) 481-4575

We suggest early registration as classes fill up quickly. A laptop is recommended but not required.