How to build a solid (street) photography portfolio

There's a great deal of talented street photographers in London and other cities. So how do you stand out from the lot? Make great photographs and only show people the crème de la crème from your collection.

“Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest photograph” is something we hear often. It shouldn't just apply to photography but anything we do or create.

When I look back at what I was shooting when I started photography and was sufficiently satisfied with to display on my website or Flickr, let’s just say that I can today see a big difference and progression. That’s because logically my technique has improved over time and because I keep raising the bar, pushing myself a little more each time.


I realized a while back that whatever I photographed at any given time and thought was good enough then may not appeal to me so much a couple of years down the line unless I would be extremely selective and in a way my harshest critic.

How many of your own photos can you look at as years go by and never get tired of? Is this not the sign of a truly good photograph? Personally, if I stuck to this principle I would be left with only very few photos (which tells me I’m still not 100% critical enough in my selection process).

I think, I hope, this is what most serious, passionate and humble photographers feel like. Never really satisfied, always looking for their next shot.

Street Photography London - nicholas goodden - the runner.jpg

I find this Ansel Adams quote very useful: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop". 

Of course the fact we now use digital cameras allows for more photos to be made so the logic would be that in modern days 12 significant photographs becomes 24, 36..50? But who knows… 

It’s not so much the number but the attitude. I have always used this quote as a guideline, a reminder that I should always remove, from a selection I think is good, maybe another half (or more) of the photos. So the selection becomes just a bit better.  

It’s preferable to post one very good shot every week or second week for example if it’s for people to be blown away instead of posting 5 “ok” shots a day on Twitter or Flickr and dilute your work on top of simply annoying people by posting too much. It also allows people to look forward to your posts and get excited/react a little more when you do. 

Street Photography London - nicholas goodden - walk the line.jpg

I am in no way saying my photographs blow people’s socks off or that there are any strict rules, but I constantly aim to improve and the only way is when I think I have a final selection…to remove some more. 

This constantly drives me to develop my technique, my observation skills and never be content because I know I will one day do better, look back and think I could have left some aside. 

I now offer portfolio reviews and advice on running a professional photography business.

Contact me today to discuss how I can help you achieve more and reach a larger audience.