There are thousands upon thousands of portfolio sites out there, some are amazing, but most are rather bland. If you want your work to get noticed, you need a portfolio that will set you apart from the rest – one that will show some of your individuality and flair. That’s not to say you should go crazy with the design – it needs to be subtle enough not to detract from the photography on show.
The 20 examples below will give you a good idea of the direction to go in. Take a look and see which style of design would best compliment your work.
As one of the most famous photographers in the word today, it’s unsurprising that David LaChapelle’s portfolio site is a wonder to behold. You simply hover your mouse over “LaChapelle Studio” at the top to navigate the site or move the mouse down to see a random selection of celebrity portraits.
2. James Day
One of my personal favourites, James Day’s portfolio looks rather standard at first glance, but click around and you’ll soon see that it behaves in a way that’s anything but boring. Menus swell and thumbnails change as you move over them and once selected, images slide obligingly into view.
Visitors to this site can use their mouse wheel or arrow keys to sift through the high-res thumbnails on show, each of which grows slightly when hovered over for ease of use. I particularly like the way that new thumbnails cascade from the top when a button is clicked in the dropdown menu.
4. Les Krims
The idiosyncrasy and overall wonkyness of this site’s layout makes it extraordinary, although the images on show are a little too small for my personal taste. The shots themselves, however, are truly stunning.
5. Nick Cobbing
While most portfolio sites let the pictures do the talking, this particular example is all about the stories behind the images, which are easily accessible throughout by clicking on “Stories” in the top left or the information buttons scattered throughout.
6. Alex Flueras
Unlike some of the other portfolio sites in this list, which would admittedly cost a bomb to build, this one from Alex Flueras could be produced by anyone on a relatively small budget. What sets it apart from the rest is its horizontally integrated layout, which makes scrolling through the different categories of images a breeze.
The homepage on Arild Danielsen’s online portfolio is great with hundreds of tiles, grouped by category. It’s a somewhat haphazard arrangement, but this only adds to the quirkiness of the design. It looks a little higgledy-piggledy, but it’s actually very easy to navigate as everything’s laid out before you.
8. David Hill
Simple, but devastatingly effective, the online portfolio of David Hill combines extraordinary looks with user-friendliness. Visitors simply select their category in the top right, choose an image from the thumbnails on the left and it’s blown up huge to cover most of the screen.
My favourite thing about this site is the way in which the yellow menus unfold when you click on them – it looks really slick. I also like how the images take up the entire page once opened, making them clear and a pleasure to view. The whole thing is extremely original.
10. Jason Bell
Seriously understated, Jason Bell’s site is a very simple portfolio with a standard navigation bar on the left and images on the right, which can be scrolled through by clicking on the arrows. It’s the full screen mode which elevates this site above others in its class, giving the photographs on show greater visibility.
11. Jill Greenberg
Jill Greeneberg’s images are bold and colourful, which is why they work so well against the portfolio’s white background. The minimalist layout belies a very clever site which makes finding the right photo really easy. I like the way the thumbnails are big enough to enjoy in their own right, meaning that you don’t always have to click on a photo to increase its size.
12. John Wright
John Wright is very clever to leave his homepage so simple with nothing more than a slideshow of full-screen celebrity images on view. It makes a great first impression on the visitor. Delve a little deeper and you’ll see the portfolio maintains this high standard with a horizontally scrolling reel of different images, depending on which category you choose.
It’s very important that the design of your portfolio suits the photography on show. In this case, the black background sets the tone perfectly for Tom Hoops’ black-and-white and otherwise dark photography.
14. Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart’s almost cinematic homepage to his portfolio makes you select a photographic category straight away. Once selected, images appear on a simple carousel for you to view and categories can be easily switched on the left hand side.
15. Koen Demuynck
Belgian photographer, Koen Demuynck, has an eccentric photographic style and an eccentric website to match. Strangely, his navigation bar extends across the middle of the screen (although it is collapsible), which somehow really works. The way that images slide in from the left of the screen looks terrific.
Alberto Oveido’s portfolio is extremely intelligent. While scrolling through the photos on show, you can click on the red “+” sign at any point to select an image and add it to your own personal lightbox for later viewing. Once inside the lightbox, you can download the selected images or share them with friends and colleagues.
17. Corey Arnold
The layout and fonts on this site are extremely simple, detracting nothing from the images on show, but really cool little touches like the descending, transparent, red navigation bar make it really unusual (in a good way).
In a particularly bold move, Dimitris Theocharis has decided not to put any images on the homepage of his portfolio, instead opting for his signature and a lone red dot, giving extra gravitas to his brand. Once inside, the site works really smoothly with five simple galleries, each represented by red dots, which can be looked through with the roll of a mouse wheel.
19. Gin Photo
A straightforward, but highly creative portfolio with easy to use thumbnails and large fonts which make the site very accessible to all.
20. Emmanuel Rouzic
This site is another which has gone for the “overwhelming number of tiles on the homepage” look. The chaotic scattering of images and the way in which each thumbnail becomes illuminated and annotated when hovered over, only makes you want to see more.