11 Dec Photography Portfolio Update
It’s that time of year again — when I painstakingly leave all my portfolio updates to one week of the year. This time around it was my photography portfolio. For little over a year, I have had the opportunity to reside in Paris, travel throughout France (and some of Europe) for them to lend me their sights to capture. I’ve grown as an artist… not much as I’ve wanted for this point in time, but I’m slowly learning to accept and appreciate the present.
I guess in part, this will be a bit of a review of my experience with portfolio sites. I’ve always tried to support local, especially tech I believe in, and at the time I started my portfolio that was with 500px, based in Toronto. Their site, community, engagement and portfolio selection seemed promising. I signed on for their portfolio and was relatively happy with their product. As time wore on, my suggestions for features, updates and improvements fell on deaf ears. Their frontend hadn’t been updated in over 2 years and not to mention, their community was pushing ‘popular’ photography that was starting to feel like overprocessed, supersaturated, homogeneity. I’m not trying to sound holier than thou (as I know I’m nowhere near as experienced as I want to be), but rather express that I had a tough time connecting and engaging.
This year I got a notice that they’re abandoning their portfolio and rather they’re joining forces with another Toronto-based company Format.com, to have them host your portfolio. However, this fee comes at a pretty price of $270 USD/year… $270/year!?! There are very few purchases I make that cost that amount, especially subscription services. In fact, the same service directly from Format costs $144 USD/year, (likewise for a similar plan with Squarespace).
I cut out the middleman, said goodbye to 500px and said hello to Format. Just to compare, I did a trial version of both Squarespace and Format, and while there were plenty of options that I enjoyed with Squarespace, Format simply won me over, especially as a photography portfolio. Firstly, they’re engaged in their community. It might not be the traditional 500px/Flickr community you’re used to where you can comment directly on photos, etc. Moreso it’s with their Portfolio Spotlight which features artists of interest and their newsletter, Format Magazine, which has great tips and tricks as well as helpful information for artists looking to breakout. Second, their chat client. Wow. I’m always hesitant with chat clients because I never know what level of service I’m going to get, but with Format, they’re quick, they look into any problems you’re having and they’re courteous (an art lost on many these days)! Lastly, it has some crazy good features like photo proofing if you ever need to send images over to clients to review, they have an online store option at no additional cost, and their backend is very, very easy to use, (one thing I found Squarespace to fall short on).
Having said that, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I have encountered some technical problems, but again the team is willing to work on it with you to help you out. As well, I wish there was a little more interest in some of the portfolio options. I do think Squarespace edges them on that front with some shinier and more diverse options.
In the end, it’ll be a tool that saves me time away from the computer so I can focus more time on creating. I’m happy to have made the switch, hoping for great things and a happy future with Format.
Check out my new site here, if you ever want to collaborate, chat, or even comment/critique on my work, I would love to hear from you!
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Also published on Medium.