Creating a diverse portfolio

One of the things that a lot of photographers struggle with, is to create a diverse portfolio.

So many time either travelling to the same destination numerous times or photographing a particular subject the same way over and over again, photographers can often fall into the trap of doing the same thing time and time again.

There are numerous ways of creating a more diverse portfolio, and I will highlight them below:

Try out different lenses

This is a very easy option when going back to the same destination.  So many times people travel to a park close by, whether that be to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Kruger or Pilanesberg, taking the same camera gear with them with no real plan in mind.  It is vital that every now and then you take stock of what you have to know what you need in order to get that diversity.  Make sense?

I have found often limiting myself with the lenses I have available to be one of the best ways of stepping out of your comfort zones, so you don't have the opportunity of falling back to what you know.

Lets say for example you have a lens that is 100-400mm equivalent, you might find that a lot of your images in within that same focal range.  What if you decide that you would like to have more bird images in your portfolio?  Why not step out of your comfort zone completely and rent a 600mm prime?  Go out with a particular plan in mind, whether it be just going for bird images, focussing on close up portraits or including more of the environment in your images, having a plan plays a vital part in creating a more diverse portfolio.

Earlier this year I decided to use a 600mm F4 prime lens in the Masai Mara, which I never used before...  I completely fell in love with the lens!!  Here are a few images...

Work different angles according to the light

I am amazed at how many times whilst sitting a sighting you hear people in other vehicles say that the sun has to be behind you always...  If you follow this, your images will all appear the same and become bland and boring.

Shooting into the sun at sunrise and sunset can be extremely rewarding, especially with furry animals such as Lions, Monkeys, Baboons and Waterbuck as they give you that beautiful rim lighting.  It is also a great time to shoot silhouettes as you have those beautiful colours in the sky.

Side lighting can also work really well, often lighting up one part of your subjects face, leaving the other side completely dark.  It makes for interesting and moody portraits.

Try different photographic techniques

This is probably the one element that people are most scared of using, purely in my opinion because it does not always work and because we are worried about the opinions of others, especially on social media.

There are a few ways you can get creative, but one of my favourites is playing around with slow shutter speeds...

It is something I have been working with my guests a lot lately, especially those who return to Africa year after year.

How many sharp images of a Lion walking do you need?

How many Zebra images can you keep?

How many more times are you going to photograph Elephants walking to the water?

How many of these images (which you already have from other trips) will you actually keep?

Will you arrive home thinking why did I do that all over again?

I would even go as far as preparing yourself that unless something amazing happens that you haven't witnessed before, every Zebra or Elephant etc that you see you try and play with slow shutter speeds.  Yes of course, not every single image will work out, that almost impossible, but when it does come off it is extremely rewarding and you are sitting with a type of image that you don't already have.

Remember it's a creative journey that we are all on, enjoy it, play around, try something new, who knows you might just be busy creating a beautiful and diverse portfolio.



2 thoughts on “Creating a diverse portfolio

  1. Shirley Tay


    Really love this article! Very inspiring and I love the images!

    • Andrew Beck

      Thanks Shirley, hoping you’ll put this into practice with Johan in the Serengeti! Thanks so much for the feedback.

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