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    Sam Earp

    Portfolio of the week

    August 07, 2020

    This week’s Portfolio of the Week is one of the newest users -  Professional Artist, Sam Earp.


    Sam is a landscape artist who paints in a traditional realism style. He also paints outdoors in the field known as ‘en Plein air’. He was born on the Island of Guernsey in 1979 and grew up in Exeter in south-west England. When he moved over to New Zealand in 2009, he started painting as a career. By doing so, he resumed his love of painting landscapes, and has also expanded to teaching online through his website and YouTube channel.


    We asked Sam what inspires him to paint:


    “I am inspired by the beauty of nature, especially rolling green landscapes, majestic trees, epic mountains, and the ocean. I am also inspired by the 19th-century landscape painters as I think they were some of the best painters around. I see potential paintings everywhere I look and I feel compelled to capture the beauty and atmosphere of a landscape on canvas. One of the things I love to do is to go outside and paint which is a wonderful way of improving your painting skills.


    When you paint outdoors it makes you really look at the landscape and the relationships between the colours, values, and the landforms you are painting. It also really good for your mind and spirit, I love being outdoors in the fresh air and the sun. The other cool thing about painting outdoors is that for me it’s like a visual diary of my life and the places I have travelled too. A Plein air painting captures the essence and atmosphere of the place you painted.”


    Sam has taken his struggles and flipped them into positives by helping others. He has done this by teaching through his YouTube channel. After reaching out to many fellow artists for help, it was one landscape artist who set him back on the right path and taught him skills such as colour mixing, composition, and painting tonality in a manner that was easy to understand. As a result, Sam has decided to teach others, because he kept seeing artists struggling with the same problems.


    In addition, Sam wants to expand the niche of painting, and make it as accessible as possible, from complete beginners to pro’s. He wants people to feel inspired to just ‘have a go’ at painting, as well as learning art theory, colour mixing, and composition as they go.


    Painting is something Sam has always been involved in. He stopped painting when he was 18 years old, but took it up again 10 years later as a way of relaxing and taking his mind off things. When he moved to New Zealand, he was so inspired by the landscape and immediately purchased some art materials within the first week of being there, and has never looked back. Painting brings a sense of happiness and calmness to Sam’s life, and has become ‘like oxygen’.


    One of Sam’s favourite places to paint is the Glenorchy area on the south island of New Zealand. The area is surrounded by towering, snow-capped mountains, lakes and streams, forests, and farmland, and he says there is a never-ending amount of subjects to paint there.


    We also asked Sam what his favourite, or most used piece of equipment is:


    My favourite item of gear is my hand made pochade box easel which I use for painting outdoors. It is a wooden box that opens up to an easel, complete with a palette and storage compartments for finished paintings and paint tubes. It mounts conveniently on a camera tripod and it is very intuitive.”


    Sam is currently based in the Bay of Islands area in northern New Zealand.


    We would like to thank Sam for giving us a little insight into his life as a professional artist and thank him for choosing Portfoliobox. If you are interested in learning how to paint, regardless of your skill level, you can check out Sam’s website.

    Visit site

    Go Live With Your Online Architecture Portfolio

    Tips & Tricks

    July 30, 2020

    Architecture is a constantly evolving field, which is why utilising an online portfolio to market and showcase your skills to potential clients is highly recommended. Having an online presence is critical to success, despite if you are a firm or sole contractor. Ultimately, your website must show what you can do, allow people to find you, and perhaps most importantly, generate leads and turn those into paying clients.


    In this week’s post, we will talk about going live with your online architecture portfolio, and 5 tips to keep in mind when building your site to achieve the best results.




    Including a range of projects which you or your firm specialise in will see the best results.


    If you are using your online architecture portfolio as a CV, include individual and team projects. This will allow potential clients to see right away you can work by yourself or in a team.


    If you are building a site for your architecture firm, you might want to consider uploading either past projects you have worked on, examples of projects you would like to complete, or some examples of what you are capable of.


    In the end, if a potential client can see your range of skills, experience, and expertise, this will help turn your traffic into paying clients.


    Make It Pop


    Because architecture is a visual profession, including high-quality, professional images of your past, current, or future projects, will be beneficial. Furthermore, having your areas of expertise in the middle of the home page will allow users to navigate easily to their desired project type. Doing this will also help to keep your portfolio neat and tidy.


    Keep It Neat


    Keeping your online architecture portfolio neat and tidy is beneficial for more reasons than one. Firstly, and perhaps the most common reason, is that website traffic can easily navigate their way around.


    The second reason is that shows potential clients who may want to pay for your services that you are highly organised and reliable.


    There is no downside to keeping your portfolio neat. Sure, it might take some extra time to file all of your projects away into relevant pages, but it will yield great results.


    Be Yourself


    Again, being yourself is beneficial for more than one reason. If you are writing a project description, blog post, or any content on your website, it is important to sound relatable.


    Whether you are a firm or a sole trader, it is important to relate to consumers as best you can. You can achieve this by writing in first-person and including editorial content. This will instantly help possible leads build a relationship with you, resulting in increased paying traffic.


    Moreover, if you are into architectural blogging and have this as a part of your online portfolio, being yourself and writing from your own experience could improve your readership. In addition to displaying your work, show people what they can learn by documenting your experience. Your goal should be ‘what did I learn which I can teach others?’.


    Keep Up To Date


    Keeping your skills and experience relevant and up to date is a key factor in attracting more paying clients. Updating the site with your latest projects, most recent certification, or even blogging regularly about something you have learned whilst practicing architecture, is a great way to stay in touch with your audience. It also allows them to stay notified when you do post, meaning you are always in the back of their minds.


    In order to get the most out of your online architecture portfolio, ensure that you link in any social media platforms you have so that your content and projects can be shared by you or clients.


    Final Thoughts


    Having an online presence as an architectural firm or industry expert will help you increase your client portfolio. By following the steps above, you will be well on your way to increasing the awareness, and hopefully, the success, of your firm.


    By including your past projects, what you intend to design in the future, and what you are capable of, it will put you or your firm in good stead for generating leads and turning them into paying customers.

    5 Ways To Improve The Browsing Experience Of Your Online Portfolio

    Tips & Tricks

    July 23, 2020

    Whether you are a beginner, pro, or hobbyist, enhancing the browsing experience of your online portfolio is a priority. As any creative would say, first impressions are everything, and there is no better first impression than an online portfolio optimised for great browsing experience. 


    This week, we will discuss 5 ways to improve the browsing experience of your online portfolio.


    Make It Visually Pleasing


    To truly enhance the browising experience of your online portfolio, it should be visually pleasing. This means easy on the eye, yet still popping with colour. Vibrant images with a dark background should do the trick, and of course, including a variety of different images can only add to the aesthetics of your online portfolio. Try to keep the same colour palette throughout your site as well.


    White Space


    In addition to making your online portfolio visually pleasing, utilising your white space effectively can increase readership and traffic by up to 20%. This is a tricky one, as too little, and it looks almost blank, too much, and it may become cluttered. It is also important to note that ‘white’ space doesn’t have to b white, this just refers to a general colour scheme. 


    One thing to remember when filling in your white space is that it largely revolves around balancing content within your site. You first must consider the goals of your online portfolio. Putting yourself in your audiences’ shoes will help no-end in achieving the best possible use of white space. 


    Micro white space refers to having small gaps between content, whereas macro white space refers to having large amounts of space on a webpage. None is right nor wrong, however, it is important to stick with one throughout your website for the best possible UX results. 


    Don’t Clutter Your Site


    Keeping your online portfolio neat and tidy, both from an image and text perspective, will go a long way to a better browsing experience like no other. Your audience and potential clients only need to see exactly what it is you offer. As soon as there is too much text or too many images in one gallery, they may exit your site.


    Portfoliobox has a ‘blog’ option where you can put your thoughts into a dedicated section on your portfolio, so you don’t need to worry about cluttering up the space in which you present your work.


    Optimise For Mobile


    In today’s age of technology, mobile devices allow for much easier access to pretty much anything, anywhere, anytime. For a great online portfolio, ensure that it is optimised for mobile. In Portfoliobox, you can preview your site via the mobile widget in the bottom left-hand corner of the editor. 


    It is important to remember that some images may be automatically cropped in the mobile version. Therefore, using the preview feature before publishing will enable you to adjust your images or text as required, is highly recommended. 


    Make It Your Own


    One key aspect of an optimised browsing experience, is how much your online portfolio represents you as a creative and/or brand. There are some excellent website builders out there that allow you to create your site from scratch, yet don’t require any coding skills. 


    If you are building an online portfolio for work purposes, having a digital presence is almost essential to success, and this all begins with an online portfolio that represents you and tells your story. Clients love creatives who build their own portfolio from a blank canvas, and with builders such as Portfoliobox, it is super easy to make it your own without needing advanced skills or experience. 


    Final Thoughts


    Browsing experience plays a highly influential role in audience interaction and the overall aesthetics of your online portfolio. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, and who your target audience is, as to how you will optimise and enhance their experience when checking out your online portfolio. 


    By following the steps above, in a way that suits your portfolio and goals, you will be well on your way to a site that you, your fans, and potential clients will love!


    Online Portfolio Vs. Traditional Portfolio

    Tips & Tricks

    July 16, 2020

    Digital or traditional? This is a question that has been asked for many years, and of course, there is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and what the purpose of your portfolio is; for personal gain, or for a business venture.


    In this week’s article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 factors to consider when deciding what format your next portfolio should be - digital, traditional, or both.


    1. Cost


    Online portfolios can be free, whereas traditional portfolios generally will cost you money in supplies and paper. That being said, there is no substitute for the traditional touch, feel, and physical presence of a traditional portfolio. 


    However, in today’s fast-moving, technologically-centred world, the possibility of a free, or very low-cost monthly online portfolio on the internet is a path many creatives are taking. Not to mention the environmental benefits of going digital. 


    2. Availability


    One key advantage of an online digital portfolio is that you can access it anywhere, anytime. On the flip side, a traditional portfolio may be a great spectacle to look at, but it isn’t as portable as that of an online portfolio, whereby anyone, anywhere, can log on and access it right away. 


    The layout of a digital portfolio is also easier for potential clients to scroll through your work, as opposed to having to physically search for desired information. As aforementioned, in today’s fast-paced world, the less clients and your audience have to do to access your work, the better off you will be as a creative and a business owner. 


    3. Collaboration Is Key


    Again, coming back to modern-day society, most creatives in the history of the world will know that getting your foot off the ground means collaborating. Be it with fellow creatives, small to medium-sized companies, or other individuals, collaborating allows exposure, ultimately increasing your potential clientele. 


    A digital portfolio allows you to collaborate seamlessly with anyone around the world, whereas a traditional portfolio does not give you that opportunity. Utilising social media also helps share your work with the world, and helps expose and give credit to other creatives that you may have worked with. 


    4. Variation


    Having an online portfolio allows you to showcase your versatility and depth in your desired skill set. It allows you to upload photos, videos, illustrations, sketches, and anything else you would need to attract clients. Traditional portfolios, though nothing can beat physical presence, does not allow you to upload whatever you want, whenever. 


    Furthermore, if you have one traditional portfolio full of your varying styles of work, it will look messy and unorganised, whereas a digital portfolio allows you to separate different projects in one place, which ultimately looks much neater and streamlined. 


    5. Seamless Integration 


    Going back to modern technology, social media and other social platforms are a key driver in attracting potential clientele. A paper portfolio does not allow for social media sharing and seamless integration to a broader audience. 


    An online portfolio, on the other hand, allows users to expand their reach online, and in just a few clicks, possibly land a client from the other side of the world. Taking it one step further, creatives with a digital portfolio can also develop an app that they can integrate with their online portfolio, business, and e-commerce store. 


    Final Thoughts


    As the world and its people evolve and become busier in their everyday lives, an online presence is almost a key component of a successful creative business. Being able to reach new clients and audiences far and wide can only be possible through the internet. In saying that, nothing will ever compare to the physical touch and feel of a traditional, paper portfolio.


    With all of these factors taken into consideration, it could be beneficial to have both a digital and traditional portfolio. If you draw, sketch, illustrate, or even if you are a photographer, it could be an idea to have these images stored in a physical portfolio, which you then capture and place online for a wider audience.


    When you attend an event or gathering of fellow creatives, integrate traditional with physical so that people can see your work in both formats.

    5 Must-Haves For Your Online Photography Portfolio

    Tips & Tricks

    July 02, 2020

    An online portfolio for your photography business can be a very powerful and influential tool. However, in an ever-competitive market, standing out among the rest has never been more important. One thing to keep in mind at all times is to use elegantly designed web pages which catch the eye and are user-friendly.


    With that being said, let’s explore 5 must-haves for your photography online portfolio. 


    1. Branding


    Branding your images and other content is important because this is what will create and leave a lasting impression on your audience. It also allows potential clients to quickly understand who you are and what they can expect from you in just a few words.


    It is the best way, along with the following 4 must-haves, that will help your online photography portfolio flourish, and help distinguish yourself from competitors. In addition, branding helps in social media sharing so your audience can immediately identify your work.


    Branding also entails keeping all formatting, color palette, typography and general theme consistent throughout your online portfolio. This also allows your audience to immediately recognize your brand solely from a visual perspective. 


    2. Blog


    Standing out from the rest requires going the extra mile. This doesn’t have to be complicated, rather it can be as simple as the addition of a blog. Compliment your vibrant and beautiful images by writing up a short descriptive story behind it. This will allow your audience to feel an instant connection with you both as a person and as a photographer. 


    Ultimately, taking that bit extra to write a short blog about your gallery or image will lead to more high-quality content, which we, as viewers, love. In turn, you will see website traffic constantly increasing, bringing a higher chance of landing prospective clients.


    3. Photos


    Photos on a photography website? Seems crazy, right?! Only include 10-15 of your best shots, and perhaps a few more if your gallery won’t be too overcrowded. Placement is key, so order your photos with your best ones first, and if you can, try to showcase your project diversity. 


    It is also a good idea to keep your images fresh. Replacing them every few months will help keep your online photography portfolio looking stellar, and returning clients interested.


    One more thing to keep in the back of your mind is the color choice for your gallery. By using a dark background, your images will be easier on the eye, not to mention making them pop with their vivid colors. Of course, this all depends on your color scheme, but it is merely something to keep in mind. 


    4. Cover All Angles


    Showcasing your ability to capture shots across all aspect ratios and angles will help your business thrive. If clients can see your versatility, they will be keen to hire you for multiple projects! 


    Not only will it help business, but it can make your gallery really stand out compared to one that maintains the same style throughout. 


    5. Focal Point


    Humans are a simple species in that they lose interest quite quickly in something that doesn’t pop right away. Select a focal point, or niche, and stick to it throughout your site. Of course, we want to appeal to as many clients as possible, however when setting up an online photography portfolio, specializing in one or two fields is best. 


    For example, portrait-based clients are looking for the best portrait photographer for the job at hand, and not someone who is just okay at everything. Therefore, if this is your chosen niche, your focal point would be portrait photography. 


    A suggestion would be to have your best photo as your landing page background so that clients who visit your site can know immediately if you are the right person for the job. Thereafter, your focal point would be all portrait-style photography throughout the site. 


    Final Thoughts


    There are many things you can include in your online photography portfolio, however the above 5 components are the key must-haves for maximum engagement on your site. 


    As the old saying goes, KISS, or, keep it simple! If you can make an online portfolio that is elegant, simple, accessible, and that makes your images pop, you will soon see the rewards!

    A Simple Guide To An Effective Online Portfolio For Models

    Tips & Tricks

    June 25, 2020

    As a model, no matter if you are just starting out or in the height of your career, there is nothing more important than a simple and effective online portfolio. A place where clients and fans can browse your best work, and reach out should they have the desire. 


    In this article, we will take a look at a few simple ways to create the perfect online portfolio for models with Portfoliobox. 


    1. Versatility 


    For a higher chance of landing that elusive contract, showing your audience your flexibility and diversity across many projects. Things to consider could be different styles, angles, and purpose (what was the project for). Ultimately, you want to show potential clients your range of modelling skills.


    2. Remember: Quality & Sequence


    One of the best ways to make your online modelling portfolio effective, is by using high-quality images - only upload the best of the best. If you aren’t happy with your current ones, don’t force it. Wait until you have some images that you are fully satisfied with, and then upload. 


    Image sequencing is also critical. That contract could come down to the way you order your images. The first three to four images are what your audience will most likely glance at before gaining interest or exiting. Therefore, it is important to consider placing your best shots and projects as the first visuals. In saying that, if possible, try to add variation to the first few images so you are telling a story right from the start.


    3. Keep It Organized


    It is also important to consider adding a short description of each project. This could include the name of the client, photographer, and so on, which will show up when the image is clicked in a ‘Lightbox’ (see below). Grouping your images will help in keeping your online portfolio organized, so your audience’ perspective is something to keep in mind. 


    4. Lightbox Settings


    Portfoliobox has made lightbox easier than ever. Lightbox enhances the viewing experience by automatically expanding your images when clicked. What some websites make very complicated, Portfoliobox has made very simple and easy to use. All you have to do is click on ‘edit images’ and then ‘lightbox settings’. Here, you can choose to turn these settings off or on, and select how you would like the lightbox to appear. When an image is clicked, the lightbox will dim the rest of the webpage out, making the said image the focal point.


    5. ‘About Me’


    For models, an ‘about me’ page is essential in capturing your audience. Here, you may consider sharing information such as height, clothing and swim suit size, as well as other personal features. This is your chance to answer clients’ questions before they even ask!


    6. Get Social


    When constructing your ‘about me’ page, especially as a model, you want to create as many channels as possible for interested clients to contact you. Adding in social media handles can also be a way to expand your online portfolio. 


    You may also choose to get personal with your audience by creating a blog, as this can help your audience feel closer to you. Portfoliobox makes it super easy to create and maintain a blog; enter a title, write to your heart's content, upload your images, and publish!


    What To Remember


    As with all creatives, a clear and concise online portfolio is essential. However, for models, it’s important that you keep the tone of your portfolio fun and approachable, yet simple. Too much content and complexity, and you’ll turn clients away, too little and it won’t gain attention. 


    All in all, creating a happy-medium is highly recommended for models. Show clients what you can do and how you can do it, outline some personal details which will help clients, use high-quality and varied images, and be sequential about your image placement to help your work gain attention, land as many contracts as possible. 


    This is the very reason Portfoliobox is a great platform to create an effective online portfolio for models. It’s simple, easy to use, and it allows your work to do the talking for you. It is also easily customizable, and you don’t need to be a tech whizz to navigate your way around it!

    6 Steps to Create a Perfect About Me Page for Your Portfolio Website

    Tips & Tricks

    June 18, 2020

    No matter if you are creating an online portfolio or a blog, having the perfect about me page is key to helping you build a strong base for yourself and your brand. In this post, we will take a look at a few simple steps you can take to build a successful, fun, and informative ‘about me’ page. 


    One thing to remember before we get started is that your ‘about me’ page should be more personalized than your home/cover page. It should allow your website audience to resonate with you by telling them your story on a more personal level rather than professional.


    1. Who Are You?


    Your headline should capture the audiences’ attention. It should be clear, concise, simple, and of a positive nature. It can also act as a selling point.


    E.g. ‘Let Me Inspire You’, or, ‘How My Expertise Can Help You’.


    2. Tell Your Story


    Now it’s time to tell your story. This could be about the path you’ve taken to get to where you are today, what inspires you to produce the work you do, or any information that can allow the audience to instantly connect with you. 


    The story to tell on your about me page should be more personal than professional. However, do remember to tie in how your work relates to your personal life, as people will then want to explore further on your site.


    3. A Picture Tells A Thousand Words


    This cliche has earnt its popular reputation for a reason. Regardless of if you are setting up an online portfolio or blog, people usually want to see a face behind the work. 


    A photo or fun sketch of yourself, along with your personal and inspirational story, is a great way to help your audience feel closer to your work. 


    4. Where To Next?


    So your audience has been inspired by your story, and seen a face behind the site. Now it’s time to create a call to action and send them on to the next page of your online portfolio or blog. 


    It doesn’t have to be in their face (i.e. ‘CLICK HERE FOR LATEST BLOG POST’), rather a subtle link at the end of your text to your blog, eCommerce store, or portfolio is recommended. Ultimately, the call to action must provide value for your audience.


    5. Formatting


    If you are building an online portfolio or blog, chances are you are from a creative background. So with that in mind, you probably already know that colors and fonts make a real difference to the overall appeal of a webpage. 


    In fact, it can influence the audience so much, that the color you choose could lead to a purchase from the store, or interest them to keep reading. However, try not to venture too left-of-field to the point where the about me page is a completely different color to the rest of the site, or is not aligned with the rest of your brand. 


    Finally, having your about me page positioned in an easily accessible section of your website is highly recommended, or even as your landing page. 


    6. Final Step 


    The final step is to consider the effect of words. You can do this by using a subtly persuasive conversational tone. 


    Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and ask yourself what words would help emotionally drive you to read or purchase from your site. 


    Now You Have Connected With Your Audience!


    Once you have achieved the above steps, you will have created an about me page that stands out from the rest and is highly unique.


    Ultimately, you want to build that trust and connection right away, so by using a relaxed tone, clear and concise wording, and allowing them somewhat into your personal life, you should notice an increased interest in your online portfolio or blog. 


    10 Simple Steps To Create Your Own Online Portfolio Website

    Tips & Tricks

    June 11, 2020

    Creating an online portfolio is the perfect way to either start or compliment your professional career, or simply to allow you to document your artistic hobby. No matter the reason for your online portfolio, it is a great way to showcase your skills to the world. 


    However, that being said, many people find it difficult to get started. Moreover, how to navigate their way around their chosen online platform whilst customizing their portfolio seems to always appear in most FAQ’s. With these 10 simple steps to create your own online portfolio website, you can create a customized website that doesn’t require much, if any, technical knowledge.


    1. Plan


    Ask yourself:

    What are my core skills?

    What skills do I want to showcase on my online portfolio?

    What is the purpose of my portfolio?


    Once you have noted down answers to these questions, sum up in one sentence, your goals and skills you wish to promote through the online portfolio.


    2. Decide On A Platform


    Once you have your plan in place, it is then time to research which platform will best suit your needs. If you’re wanting to ignite or compliment your professional career, or just want a place to store and showcase your work, the perfect all rounded platform to build your online portfolio is Portfoliobox. Sleek and sophisticated, yet very easy to use. 


    3. Make It Your Own


    You’ve planned and chosen a suitable platform for your online portfolio. Now you can begin customizing your new site. This doesn’t have to be as ‘techy’ as some make it out to be. Rather, choosing an appropriate template, adding your name or your business name, a logo, will suffice.


    4. Select Projects To Upload


    Selecting your best work to appear on your online portfolio is important. You may choose to upload some ‘most-loved’ projects from a client point of view, or simply any projects you would like to share with the world. 

    Remember - Always to refer to your goals when choosing which projects to upload.


    5. Keep It Varied


    Keeping your projects varied throughout your online portfolio will both keep your audience engaged, and promote your skills across multiple fields. 

    Remember - Label and categorize your projects accordingly. This optimizes the ease-of-use for viewers and goes a long way in helping to retain interest. 


    6. Spread The Love


    Once your project has been uploaded, a nice touch is to explain your ideas behind that particular one. 

    For example, you have uploaded a project containing your recent trip to Morocco. It would be a nice touch to explain to the audience what inspired you to travel to Morocco and capture what they are looking at now. 

    This allows the audience to somewhat resonate with you and feel closer to you and your work. 


    7. Put Yourself In The Audiences’ Shoes


    Slip into the shoes of your audience and create a killer user experience. Again, this doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people make it out to be. 

    Blowing your audience away with a vivid color scheme is both simple and fun to play around with. You can consider enhancing the viewing experience of your content, such as adjusting lightbox settings (if applicable), to suit your projects. 


    8. Construct a top-notch About Me page


    Creating an ‘about me’ page will help the audience feel closer to you both personally and professionally. It can represent an added touch of personalization, and includes a few short and sharp sentences about who you are, what inspires you and perhaps some ideas behind your work. 

    Too long and viewers will lose interest, too short and they might not take it seriously. Therefore, it is important to find a happy-medium.


     9. Appearances In Publications, etc


    You can also consider including your award history, or some noteworthy publications you and your work have appeared in. This will give your online portfolio and status within your niche more credibility


    10. Don’t Overdo It


    An audience can tell straight away when an online portfolio is overdone. This generally leads to a much higher bounce rate as they leave the website after visiting one page. 

    Be yourself, use compelling projects and words, and focussing on the user experience will help you create a successful online portfolio website.


    João Sousa

    Portfolio of the week

    March 27, 2020

    This week, our Portfolio of the Week is brought to you by João Sousa. A travel photographer based in Beirut, Lebanon.


    Originally from Portugal, João Sousa has travelled far and wide, capturing some of the most remote places on earth. His passion began 12 years ago where he was inspired by friends and family who were in the same industry. After taking time off work and backpacking through North Africa and the Balkans in 2015, João has found his calling and brings his audience places and people we never thought existed. 


    João tells us some of his experiences, as well as why he has chosen to pursue travel photography and why Portfoliobox is his go-to online platform.


    Q: First of all, thank you for joining us on Portfolio of the Week. Could you please tell us how you got in to travel photography and why you love it so much?


    A: My love and fascination for travel photography goes back to when I was a kid, a time when my father had a monthly subscription of National Geographic. I used to stare at those evocative covers and immerse myself in the content of the magazine, which would stimulate my imagination and the dream to one day travel to remote and unusual locations. And this happened when, five years ago, I decided to leave my permanent job and hit the road on a tight budget. Me, my backpack and my camera with two lenses. 

    My aim was to shoot every day, especially something that would capture the essence and feel of the places and faces I would encounter on my way. I haven’t stopped ever since and this continuous journey has taken me to some truly incredible adventures. I also love doing travel photography to show people the unusual places I go to and to hopefully inspire them to one day go there.



    Q: Could you please tell us a little bit more about 'photo essays'?


    A: The photo essays on my page were published as a way to showcase the different themes I’ve been working on during my travels. I’m particularly interested in people and their stories, so essays like the one about the refugees in Tskhaltubo, Georgia or the struggles of the less privileged in Tripoli, Lebanon have a very special meaning to me, as they allowed me to understand their living realities. Lately, I’ve been based in Beirut, so I was able to cover part of the Thawra (Lebanese Revolution) and collaborate with the local press.


    Q: It seems as though you have travelled to many places. What is the most interesting city you have been to and why? What is the most remote place you have been?


    A: It’s difficult to elect one single place I found the most interesting, but Beirut is certainly among the most exciting ones. It’s a buzzing, lively city filled with history, diversity in people, cultures, religions, traditions and it has some of the best food we can ever taste. Due to its turbulent history across the last decades, Beirut is also the home of genuine storytellers, resilient people who lived through incredible experiences and who are eager to share their stories. Beirut is also very stimulating for street photography – there is always something unexpected around the corner waiting to be photographed.


    As for the most remote place I’ve been, I would say, Chinguetti and Ouadane in Mauritania are among the top ones. They were both important trading of the old trans-Saharian trade routes and are located very deep into the desert and they still preserve fascinating ancient constructions, including beautiful mosques built with dry-stones. It’s not easy or fast to get there, which adds more interest to the journey.



    Q: What is the craziest experience you have had while travelling?


    A: I always try to trust my instinct as a traveler, but I also try to be as open to experiences as possible, including being outside my comfort zone. Over the years, I hitchhiked a lot - especially in North Africa – and I stayed with strangers in their homes. This gives a wide scope for unexpected adventures, such as staying with Moroccan nomads in the High Atlas Mountains, spending an afternoon with drugs and weapons smugglers in Lebanon, hitchhiking a cargo train across a part of the Sahara Desert and living with punk anarchist squatters in Slovenia where we were attacked by neo-Nazis with molotov cocktails. I don’t seek extreme experiences, but sometimes they simply happen.


    Q: I see your favourite camera is the Fujifilm X Mirrorglass System. Is there a particular reason why you have chosen this gear?


    A: My lifestyle for the past half a decade has been dedicated to continuously backpack, which means I must prioritize what I take with me. And this extends to the gear I carry in my bag. I had been looking for various options and decided to go with the Fujifilm X mirrorless system. It’s light and compact, rugged and weather resistant. Suffice to say, I love their glass and the way they took my photography to the next level after I started using Fujifilm. The silent shutter is now something I cannot be without, especially while shooting documentary photography and the easy way to transfer files straight from the camera to the phone via WIFI. Simply a game changer for me!


    Q: Are you able to give us some perspective as to what lenses you use for different situations and settings?


    A: I usually carry with me the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8 for its quickness and versatility (having a zoom lens is always important, especially for photojournalism) and the Fujifilm 23mm f/2, for street photography. For portraits, I absolutely love the older but gorgeous Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 and Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 lenses. Some of my best portraits were shot with these two.

    For wide angle shots I also use the Laowa 9mm f/2.8. This lens is very small and portable and barely has any distortion, despite the 9mm length. It has manual focus only, but after some practice it becomes easier to use.


    Q: What inspires you to capture the images you do?


    A: My main drive in photography is to continuously follow my curiosity. Almost everything around me makes me curious and eager to learn about what I observe. It is a humbling exercise to go to a new place and spend time with people who are very different from me and learn about their reality. Photography, then, becomes my tool to visually narrate how I see their reality in order to tell their unique stories.


    Q: Why have you chosen Portfoliobox as your preferred online platform?


    A: I’ve been using Portfoliobox for nearly two years and I’ve been thoroughly satisfied with the platform. It’s very easy and intuitive to use, especially for someone like me who doesn’t want to spend much time working online. It allows me to display my photography in the way I want and the positive feedback my page has been receiving by my visitors and customers is the sheer proof of that.

    The SEO tools work perfectly and on that note, it was thanks to my page on Portfoliobox that my photos got spotted by L’Orient Le Jour, a Lebanese daily newspaper, which then published my content and invited me for a collaboration with them as a photojournalist!



    Thank you very much João, you have given us a quick look at a world most never knew existed. The work you produce is awe-inspiring and definitely tells a story when putting in the context of the society we all know today. To keep up to date with João’s travels and latest work, please do check out his website in the link below!

    Visit site

    6 Web Design Trends That’ll Get You Noticed in 2020

    Tips & Tricks

    March 24, 2020

    Websites can make or break a brand – personal or professional – so it’s important to keep track of the latest online design trends. Each and every web element will make an impact on your audience. This is true no matter whether you manage a small portfolio, successful retail portal, or multinational company website.


    Aesthetics and technology are coming together like never before. That’s why we have put together a short list of web design trends that will get you noticed next year.


    From white space to asymmetry, from bespoke illustrations to split design, discover the most popular website trends we expect are here to stay in 2020.


    1. Embrace white space


    Our eyes are under siege these days. In 2014 alone, people uploaded an average of 1.8 billion digital images every single day. That's 657 billion photos per year – so any attempt to relieve the mass visual suffocation will be welcome. Many designers worry that white space is an inefficient use of visual real estate, but when used correctly, white space creates relief. It also highlights important design elements such as call-to-actions and imparts a sense of balance and tidiness that naturally pleases the eye. 


    Many website designers are noticing and capitalising on this trend. The new version of Portfoliobox, Portfoliobox 4 offers several templates and settings that allow users to bring white space into their website.



    2. Asymmetry is still in 


    Asymmetrical designs were already trendy in 2019 and will stay with us in 2020. These broken grid layouts break free from rigid, predictable rules of thumb in graphic design, shocking the viewers out of their monotonous scroll. Asymmetry also offers much more freedom for designers to make their website as unique as possible.


    It works like this: Imagine a grid of horizontal and vertical lines is used to help layout elements on the page or screen. With most websites, you’ll see the logo, title, and content lined up together as if bound to this imaginary grid. However, asymmetrical designs will purposefully break the grid, pushing images and text alike wildly out of order to make the page feel less rigid.


    Mixed with bold colour schemes and strong gradients of geometric fluids, asymmetric shapes are essential to all the hottest web design trends.



    3. Oversized elements


    Want your website to immediately register – and resonate – with visitors? Enlarged elements such as bold typography, fullscreen images/video and an oversized navigation menu will catch attention, delivering your core message to the audience in a matter of seconds. This supersized approach to design will create a memorable experience that truly impacts on users, even if they only have time for a quick scan... As an added bonus, enlarged elements look fantastic on screens of any and all sizes. 


    Quick tip: If you go down this route, be sure to reduce the number of design elements on each page. Too many grand features all at once can be overwhelming for visitors.



    4. Bespoke illustrations


    Appropriate graphics add visual depth to your storytelling efforts and build potent brand identity that leaves a lasting impression on visitors. Bespoke drawings are inherently more interesting than plain old fonts – there’s a reason blogs with images receive 94% more views than those that are text only. By stepping away from stock images and typefaces, your webpage can be custom crafted to show off a unique personality. 


    If you’re an illustrator building up your own portfolio, or even just a generally artistic individual, using bespoke drawings can be doubly helpful as a self-promotion tool – an organic advertisement of your talents and professional services.


    Not so artistic? No problem. Remember, there are lots of resources on the web that give away nuggets of illustrated gold for free, ready for you to jazz up your website.


    5. Split design


    The split design is used to create two separate blocks of information in the same space, giving equal importance to two primary areas of a site – which can be incredibly useful when you have two different services or products to promote.


    A split design breaks the usual rectangular screen shape, and by giving prominence to both elements, enables the user to focus on whichever topic most interests them. To make the approach even more dramatic, you can differentiate each section with contrasting, vibrant colours.  In some cases, the vertical split is used throughout an entire site or only in some sections. 


    There are lots of different styles for this trend, so we’re sure it will evolve in 2020. That’s why Portfoliobox 4 will offer several templates that help users create split-screen content tailored to their needs.



    6. Mobile-first & fast-loading


    Nowadays, more people look at websites on their phones than on a desktop computer. In 2018, mobile usage was at an all-time high with 58% of website visits coming from mobile devices and making up 42% of total time spent online. Mobile-first has become a best practice for web design, no matter what type of site is being created. 

    If you want to create a seamless mobile experience, here’s a final tip from us: Don’t clutter your website with unnecessary or too heavy content. Always optimise images before uploading them to your website, selecting dimensions and adjusting file sizes as needed for minimum strain on the mobile user experience.


    Pulling it all together


    There is no one perfect way to pull together a website or online portfolio, so feel free to mix and match all the latest design trends to best portray your own unique style. Just keep in mind that your end goal should always be visual impact and ease-of-use. That’s why working off a template from Portofliobox, is the surest way to get started – especially if you work within the creative industries, where high-quality visuals are a matter of course.

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