Ask an Agent / Printed vs. Digital

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

For this month's Ask an Agent we had a question about printed versus digital portfolios.

Dear Ask an Agent,

I'm reaching out because I wanted to ask some advice.

I'm a photographer based in Scotland and I have my very first meeting with a very well known fashion magazine. I am incredibly excited but also a little naive as I've never had a meeting with a magazine before. In the past - to marketing companies, ad agencies - I've always shown work on tablet. But because this is a magazine do you think they would prefer a printed portfolio?

I feel a bit like a headless chicken with no clue what to do! Obviously I want to put my best foot forward. I'd really appreciate some advice.

Kindest Regards,

Ellie Morag

© Ellie Morag

Hi Ellie,

Thanks for your question and for reaching out, and well done on getting your foot in the door at the magazine, sounds exciting.

Ideally you want to present your work in the best possible way to show off your images, whoever you are meeting. A well presented, well edited, and well printed portfolio will really do your images justice. So if you do have time before the meeting to edit your best and relevant images, to really think about the order, juxtaposition and presentation, and to source a suitable folio case I would say definitely go for it. At the end of the day you should give it your best shot to make an impact and compare favourably to your competitors.

As you probably appreciate this isn’t something that you can do quickly (or cheaply), and I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you don’t have time to organise a printed folio for this meeting. Many photographers don’t have a printed folio, and a one to one meeting is just as much about them getting to know you a bit as a person and what inspires your work. Presenting your work on a tablet or laptop will suffice for now , as long as it is well organised and edited. But, as I say, if a competitor walks in the next day with a lovely printed folio they might just gain the edge and win a commission instead of you. So if you ask my advice printed is best!

I’ve actually got an article coming out in Image magazine about editing your work for a printed folio soon, so watch this space.

Hope that helps,

Regards, Lisa

Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to and we’ll answer as many as we can!

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