Portfolio: Press Kits

Update 1: 20.04.17
Update 2: 03.05.17
Update 3: 10.05.17
Update 4: 18.05.17

I would need to have a portfolio to show off my work or to generate new works. there are many forms of portfolio presentations out there, mainly in Book, Box, Digital forms.

I might you show my works to:

Editorial clients | Advertising /creative agencies | Gallery owners | PRs (public relations) | stylists / set designs/ prop building / etc | Collaborators | Hair Make Ups

What kind of portfolio would I have? It depends on what is appropriate, is it right for me or if it is justifiable. I would also need to consider the benefits of showing my works to people and potential clients. There are several types of portfolios for different genres of photography. 

Book 

Fashion, Portraiture, Documentary would suit a book portfolio that is bind-based. Books work well when the order of images is important or the work would be seen in a book form. However, the disadvantage is that it can be expensive, heavy and large.

Prints 

Images not in found in book binds

Box

Suitable for fine art,landscape, automotive, etc because they work well when the work can be view as individual images. This also allows me to make large prints. Big prints can show high production detail, the amount of clarity.

The disadvantage is that I need to consider ordering and handling of prints, which can be costly. Also, the box may break and prints tend to curl, and early affected. 

Digital

Digital presentations are more cost effective over the long term. it allows us to show more images, which can be good or bad. it works well in editorial context and where multimedia work is included or video. The disadvantage is that arranging prints in books is a pain in the ass, I can’t live it with clients. Digital presentations are also reliant on technology,  on the software such as Indesign, PDF, website, etc. Clients might interpret incorrectly without me around to say anything. 

Conclusion

Regardless of the presentation, the most important thing are my photography works. After listening to so much advice, I want to develop a set of items that encompass all of the above forms of the presentation so it would cover each other’s disadvantages. This would be in the form of a Press Kit.

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About Press Kit

The reason I am favouring press kits over large portfolio boxes or photo albums is because in Singapore market has a different mentality compared to the UK. To survive in a small and competitive market, the more skills one can acquire, the better the chance of being hired. The current practice of the industry in the region is not healthy, but that is the way it is. As for the mode of showing portfolios, both clients and vendor tend to prefer the convenience of the portfolio than showing something big. this means that the people in the industry generally prefers everything online and digital. However, if a tactile box with lots of items are interesting enough, that might entice them to work with the photographer. Hence for my case, I strongly believe Press kits are the way to go. So.. what is a press kit?

Press Kit is basically a package of promotional material provided to members of the press to brief them, especially about a product, service, or candidate. There’s no rule book on creating press kits that say what components must be included in our own media kit. It will vary based on what we are promoting and the type of venue for distributing it.

However, what is included is a very important decision because essentially it is about letting people know about the person or the business and the product and services into a package. While big brands have big budgets to dream up elaborate stunts or events to launch new products, but the majority of players need to impress on a much smaller scale. Having a press kit is a key weapon for branding purposes.

The contents of a press kit should be led by the business/service mission: beautiful photography and samples to launch a new product range, fact sheets and biographies following a management reshuffle or a simple press release to announce an exhibition. An effective press kit should engage with the audience not only factually but also emotionally, resulting in longer-term bonds and recall.

People of the press are constantly busy and distracted; they need to work fast with the right level of information. But they also need to have their imaginations fired by something new, so the look of the kit needs to be eye-catching and memorable. Brands that create stand-out kits ensure that their launch or event spreads by word of mouth. Think of something that the journalist will want to shout about to colleagues in a busy editorial department. First impressions really do count, so putting the actual content aside, make sure that at first glance your press kit looks so inviting that it separates itself visually from the more standard formats and is presented so well that they are intrigued to see what’s inside.

Press Kit Examples

Product samples are a great addition to a press kit. This gives people the chance to see more of our works. In relation to photography, items may include:

  • Presentation Box
  • Business Name Cards
  • Portfolio Book
  • About Me/Artist Statement Brochure
  • Postcards / Posters
  • Flash drive

Presentation box 

I figured it would be less hassle to use a presentation box rather than album book. The advantage is that I only have to print large prints and not fret over the page details of the album at this point. I  could do it over in my bound portfolio book instead.

On initial research, I found that custom-made wooden presentation boxes were the best way to present my works because the wood material has a connection to landscapes. This presentation box would not only contain my selected prints but also other items such as portfolio books and postcards, etc.

Searching for wooden boxes proved to be an extremely difficult task because the box alone took me one whole month to contact and inquire, only to find out that no one seems to be able to to make a high-quality one. I looked around many companies that do bespoke presentation boxes, such as Delta Designs, Hartnack and Co., A-BoxLondon Bookbinding, John PiekaarHawthorne crafts, etc.

So far, only  Morans wood components have what I’ve been looking for. I contacted them, only to realised that they needed to do at least 50 units of it. So this doesn’t work either.

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My contingency plan was to fall back to Hartnack and Co., well known for its high-quality portfolio albums and boxes. I didn’t want to shell out so much money for a presentation box, but time was running out. Although I could find what I initially wanted, I had to consider the second plan. More crucially I could not afford to risk not getting one presentation box up on time for the deadline.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 16.21.59 copy

I opted for customizations similar to the referenced presentation box above, with gold foil stamping. I thought if I could not get a wooden box, at least get one high-quality one, worth selling away for profit, as Oowen Photography’s most prized item. After purchasing my order, I had a bit of heart attack because the turnover time was 22nd May, two days after submission date. I called them up and they managed to squeeze mine through, and I would be able to receive my presentation box on time for prints.

Business cards
Information to website and contact details. I already had printed my business name cards when I was in Singapore for personal matters back in October. I printed on the thickest tracing paper I could find and all I had to do was to do up my portfolio website and ensure that the Infomation on the name card are accurate. I included a name card pocket in my portfolio box so I could fit my card in. For more about the developmental process of my business cards, click here.

Portfolio Book
I wanted to make a post bound photo book, to reflect on the images I have taken over my two years stint in the UK.  this is where I want to show not only my best images but also aa much variations and kinds of works I could also do. Portfolio book in reference to traditional handmade Japanese books, using rice paper Hahnemuhle. Considering landscape orientation, have not decided actual book dimension yet.

About Me/Artist Statement Brochure

Photographer bios or artist statements, along with high-resolution images, give the editor much-needed background information. Some publications print word for word so better to write in the third person point of view rather than first person point of view.

Postcards / Posters

Initially, I had the idea of printing all my thumbnail proofs as postcards. I figured that since I shoot a lot, it made more sense to me to make them into postcards which can double up as photo proofs and sell them away if not needed than to print the whole bulk just for the sake of photo proofs. That would be quite a waste of money. So I laid out my images which I thought were postcard-worthy. After visiting a few of the print companies, I eventually found Saxon Print, who was able to produce what I need. However, they could only do a minimum of eight copies of 16 unique images for eighty quid, because the actual printing was a tedious process which they had not tried before, but they were confident to produce my requirement locally. It was a production issue. Due to this limitation, I then realised I had to cut them down further  I have to reconsider instead, the images for postcards as well as the to confirm the information I need to let people know on the back of my postcards.

– 300gsm, A5 size (Approx 5.8”x 8.3”)
-Super gloss on the front side, matt on the other.

This became my top selection for postcards. I have selected 9 images that were not from the portfolio print collection with a mixed of images and sort of categorised them into four quadrants. Another reason I choose this way was because I could to sell them away.

  1. Top left quadrant were of cityscape images.
  2. Top right quadrant were images of mountainous locations.
  3. The bottom left quadrant were landscape images that didn’t quite make it into my portfolio collection.
  4. Bottom right quadrant was more of other e images that were more experimental

Flash drive
Images are relevant to my press kit. As an alternative to websites, high-resolution images can be stored on a very handy media device such as in a flash drive. It could be made as free media or wallpapers, etc. There are such companies the do a sort of customised box to contain USB stick, however, at the moment I am not including this into my portfolio due to the space constraint of the presentation box.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 00.35.56

Contacts

SO innovative Boutique Creatives
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Hartnack and Co
Unit O3, Langlands Business Park, Uffculme, Cullompton EX15 3DA

Delta Design
Unit 20, 2 Norman Road, London N15 4ND

3XM
3xmsolution

Update

Even though the product I got was not my ideal portfolio box, I was extremely satisfied with the quality of it. One key decision I made was not to include a thumb drive. This was because I have three series of images and other works, and given the mentality of the industry in Singapore, this may become a hindrance of viewing works. unless it is made like a multimedia software, I might as well show clients my works on a laptop or a hard disk. I did a bit product shots and videography works of the presentation box, as part of my self-promotional plans. some of these images may also be useable in on my online shop. Hence, the items as how I would present to my clients would contain:

  • 11″ x 16.5″ Hahnemühle Oyster Lustre (A3 equivalent)
  • Namecards
  • Postcards
  • CV

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References

https://www.socreative.co.uk/secret-to-great-press-kit-design/

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-create-impactful-press-kits-39191

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