My next Travel Photography Portfolio – How To Choose the Photos

Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Last week on my blog I wrote about my favourite landscape photography photos of England.

To continue with the theme of actual photos I am going to write this week about my new travel photography portfolio and how I am going to choose the photos for it. This post is not about the photos for my new travel photography portfolio, it is about portfolios and the thought process of creating a new portfolio. This thought process can apply to any photography portfolio, the principles and considerations are the same.

I hope that you find this post interesting, and that my thoughts help you if you are considering assembling a photography portfolio of your own.

And next week I will publish my new travel photography portfolio and write all about it.

Is this important?

My portfolios are very important to me, as these are the things that I display on my website that give visitors to my website that very important first impression of me and my photography. I am going to have a good think about this before diving in and producing a collection of photos, and in this post I will tell you my thought process in collating this very important set of images.

I will not be selecting the images in this post, that will be for next week. This post is all about the thought process behind creating a travel photography portfolio.

As I said this is important to me and deserves having proper time spent on it.

Who am I?

Good question. I am Rick McEvoy, a photographer based in England. I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places. I specialise in

  • Architectural Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Travel Photography

And that is it.

I have had two successful, formal portfolio reviews with the BIPP. The British Institute of Professional Photography, from which I achieved the qualifications LBIPP and ABIPP – Licentiate and then Associate membership of the BIPP.

So I have been there and done this before.

What is a photography portfolio?

A photography portfolio is a body of work, a collection of images that represent you and your photography. A portfolio should contain the best of the best of your images only.

A photography portfolio is not a load of average photos chucked together in the hope that something good stands out in there.

Each and every image has to be excellent – any rubbish and the whole thing falls over. Someone reviewing your portfolio will lose interest if they come across a weak image.

Should I only have one portfolio?

This is the first problem. I have three areas of photographic work, which I have listed above. When I applied for my Associateship of the BIPP I tried to assemble a set of images that included travel and landscape work, but it just did not make sense.

I ended up creating just an architectural photography portfolio.

So in my opinion you should have one portfolio for each genre of photography that you specialise in.

Meaning that I have three portfolios.

And here they are at the time of writing

My architectural photography portfolio

My travel photography portfolio

This is my current portfolio, which at some point (this week) will be updated with the new set of images.

My landscape photography portfolio, which has been added to a blog post (which is the way my website is going by the way – less pages more blog posts).

Why am I writing this now?

I have just completed a major revamp of my website. You can read about this in these two blog posts.

Squarespace to WordPress – this is what it is Really Like Moving

Squarespace to WordPress – 10 things you need to know

And this was a right pain. I have spent so much time on my website that I have neglected my photography. And bored myself rigid.

I did not sign up to this photography lifestyle to spend my days lost in WordPress!

No – I am in this for the photography!

Unfortunately now is not exactly the best time to go out and take photos so all I am left with is the photos I have.

Making this the perfect time to create a new travel photography portfolio.

How may photos do I put in a portfolio

For a BIPP Portfolio Review you need 30-40 images. For my online portfolios I go with 12 images per portfolio.

12 is a quite a restrictive number, but for me it is a good number.

All my online portfolios have 12 images in them – I like the order of this.

And 12 images makes you really, really think about the images that you are going to include.

What is wrong with my current travel photography portfolio

Quite simply the images do not hold together, and do not represent my best travel photography work.

I am not happy with my travel photography portfolio, so need to start again.

How many travel photos do I have to choose from?

The next problem. I have just checked my Lightroom Catalogue, and I have over 15,000 photos in my Worldwide folder.

And over 6,000 photos in my Websites folder (more on that in a bit).

Are my travel photos from abroad?

This is the next question.

Do I include photos from the UK, or photos from abroad only?

I have thought about this long and hard and have decided that I am going to include one photo from the UK, as for anyone from outside of the UK the UK is a travel location!

And if I add my photos of England that is another 25,000 or so more images!

So adding one image gives me another 25,000 images to go through. In theory!

Which photos to include

This is the hard bit.

Should I just use 12 photos from one location?

That would be easy. But then again what would that mean? I think that this is a no, but a great idea for a blog post or 20, My 12 Best Photos of Rhodes for example.

No I will not get the best set of travel photography images by restricting myself to one location.

Or one country?

Another thought, giving me a bit of latitude. Countries I could use include

  • Greece – I have thousand of photos of Greece
  • UK – ditto – but would that be a travel photography portfolio?
  • Barbados – 2 holidays there.

No this is not going to work.

Again great ideas for blog posts, but not for a portfolio.

Should the photos be of iconic landmarks in each location?

No. No. No. Iconic to me equals over photographed. What is the point of me just chucking together 12 photos of things that everyone has seen before?

No, not unless they are different in some way.

And I have some of those. So less of a no if I am being honest!

The thoughts are coming together in my head as I write.

Should the photos be of similar subjects?

By that I mean

  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Beach
  • Building
  • Shop
  • Person
  • Landscape

I say no to this, again this would not be a travel photography portfolio, just a collection of beach sunrise photos.

Not a portfolio, but again another great idea for future blog posts.

Or should I just choose my favourite photo from each location?

This was the last thought and having gone through the previous questions the only answer. This is what I am going to do.

What is the purpose of each photo?

For me each photo tells a story about each particular location. The photos have to be excellent in technical and compositional terms, but as I am a photographer that for me is a given.

Each photo has to be to a high standard and have a specific point of interest relevant to travel, travel photography and that location.

And what is the purpose of the portfolio?

I want a single set of 12 images that each tell the story of that single location as I see them. It is only when I got to this point that this became clear to me.

And I want my travel photography portfolio to demonstrate to anyone who looks at my website my best work, creatively and technically.

I want visitors to my website to enjoy my work, tell other people about it and come back to my website. I want people to look at my work and want to hire me to take photos for them.

This is the point of having three portfolios.

My architectural photography portfolio is aimed directly at people who want to commission me to photograph their building for them. So I am aiming for people in architecture and construction in my little part of the world. And also anyone who is interested in architectural photography and learning how to take photos of buildings.

My landscape and travel photography portfolios are aimed at, well that is another thing. Anyone on this planet of ours that is interested in landscape and travel photography. And that naturally extends to photography in general, image capture, gear and processing.

And as an aside this is why I love writing – it gives my thoughts structure, logic and depth.

OK – so what are the images in my new travel photography portfolio?

Sorry – I have not done this yet. I am going to spend the next week going through my photos and next Monday will publish my new travel photography portfolio.

I am thinking at the moment about including one photo from each of the following locations.

  • Paxos
  • Antipaxos
  • Santorini
  • England
  • Barbados
  • Canada
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Rhodes
  • Chile
  • Maldives
  • Greece

This is the list that I produced quickly and will be subject to refinement over the course of the week.

It gives me something to start with, always a good thing.

What about portfolios of single locations

I discounted that earlier on, so no need to look at that again. Well apart from and endless number of blog posts.

What about travel architectural photography

I thought about this. Photos of buildings from my travels. Or photos with buildings in. This is a thought. I can go more specific here, like small Greek Churches on islands. That is a very niche post but one that I like the sound of doing.

There are so many possibilities to all of this.

Related reading

There is so much stuff that I have written about travel photography, not so much about travel photography portfolios to be fair.

If you have read this far I assume that you are interested in travel photography so here are a few related posts which I hope you find interesting.

10 Best Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2 Travel Photos – This Time With Descriptions!

My 12 Best Travel Photography Images of 2019

10 Best Micro Four Thirds Travel Photography Photos By Me

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Minimalist Travel Photography Gear – This Is What I Use

New Travel Photography Blog – 10 Tips For Success

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

My other websites

I have two other websites at the moment.

Paxos Travel Guide

This is more of a travel guide than a photography website, but I will get my photos on there when I have time.

Photos of Santorini

Yes I have a dedicated travel photography website, where I feature my photos of Santorini. And that is why of course Santorini features in my travel photography portfolio – how could it not do?

So as you will see travel photography is quite a big thing to me.

And this is where the other 6,000 images I referred to earlier are from.

And the video

I have recorded a video about this blog post which you can enjoy on my You Tube channel.

And the Lightroom slideshows

I will also publish Lightroom slideshows of my old travel photography portfolio, and also my new one once I have completed it.

I love travel

You might have guessed that I love travel and travel photography – the two sit together perfectly for me and being a travel photographer is my dream job!


I hope that you have found my thoughts on creating a travel photography portfolio useful – there is one final point that I would like to make here though.

This is entirely a personal thing. No one else knows what other photos I have in my travel photography collections, and no one else knows what each and every image means to me.

Sure the images should be technically excellent, with an interesting subject matter, great composition and high quality processing.

But this is my travel photography portfolio. So the set of images I choose are my choice and my choice alone.

And that’s all folks

Rick McEvoy Photography

#travelphotographyportfolio #travel #photography #portfolio

Rick McEvoy

I am Rick McEvoy, an architectural and construction photographer living and working in the South of England. I create high quality architectural photography and construction photography imagery of the built environment for architects and commercial clients. I do not photograph weddings, families, small people or pets - anything that is alive, moves or might not do as I ask!! I am also the creator of the Photography Explained Podcast, available on all major podcast providers. I have a blog on my website where I write about my work and photography stuff. Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

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