The portfolio is dead; long live the portfolio.

I may have broken RSS syndication and many other things on a mad whim. My old portfolio site has gotten me in contact with so many amazing clients, and the work that Koesmanto Bong put into it made it stand out from the crowd in the far-off days of 2007, when people would ask “No auto-loading music? NO FLASH? My God man, are you sure that’s a wedding photography Web site?”

But time has passed, and I would be too busy to update it for entire seasons at a time, all the while obsessing over getting new and better content to the blog as often as possible. I am not who I was in high school, in college, as a newspaper man, as a photographer for Columbia University, and I am not who I was in 2007. My hair has more grey but I have better clothes (even if I don’t always wear the nice stuff.) And along the way the standards of how wedding photography interacts with the Web has changed. Big photos good. Obtrusive watermarks bad. It’s freer and looser and better-looking, and I like it. If some student in Estonia steals your photo for their web site desktop … oh well. There are 3.5 trillion photos out there, it’ll happen. If some big corporation does it, that’s what copyrights and lawyers are for.

Of course, the downside of having a blog as your home base is it’s a bit terrifying having the front-and-center of my commercial existence be whatever I got up to most recently, even if that is a picture of a really good hamburger I ate. But my philosophy has always been to do everything that I can to make each new wedding the best I’ve ever done, whatever the weather, the timing, or the situation. Each client who books with me gets to see slideshows from every wedding I’ve photographed in the previous year, because wedding photography isn’t the sort of job where you can be brilliant sometimes and then phone it in other days. That’s what office jobs are for. (I’ve worked in an office; you can admit it.)

And there’s something more honest about it. I admit; whenever I look at another photographer’s site I usually skip the portfolio and go straight for the blog. Yes, even a monkey can take a great photo occasionally, but what have you done lately? So perhaps ironically, this is also a move to get me back to thinking about portfolios more than ever, about the sort of work I want to leave behind, about doing what I can to raise the bar. Big photos, no watermarks, and a content-management system that will keep me updating it in my spare scraps of free time. We’ll work on something new and personal and innovative later — perhaps the dead of winter when people are too worried about blizzards to get married — but for now I have a surprisingly handy stop-gap.

So, the new layout is ryanbrenizer.com for my recent work and updates about workshops and my life in general, and ryanbrenizer.com/portfolio for what will eventually be a finely carved display of personal vision … or at least some pretty photos.

Along the way I’ve probably broken all of my sydicated feeds. Sorry.

Ryan Brenizer - Testing…

Ryan Brenizer - Also may have broken all of my old Facebook comments. Hmmm…

Kent Skibstad - I see that you replied to my question on “out of the shadows”, but the messages on that one is gone, so I`m still wondering about how you lit that one :) hehe.

Sean Molin - 500px portfolio! That’s exactly what I’ve been getting set up, too!

Koesmanto Bong - Wow! Was it really that long ago? 2007? Man, I didn’t really think about the whole “no flash? are you sure?” implication :-) Glad I could play a tiny part of your huge success. Your work continues to be an inspiration and hopefully we’ll get to collaborate again in the future.

Arnold Limantono - so true >> And there’s something more honest about it. I admit; whenever I look at another photographer’s site I usually skip the portfolio and go straight for the blog. Yes, even a monkey can take a great photo occasionally, but what have you done lately?

Matt Shumate - RB out in front once again. I’m sure I’ll follow shortly (or as soon as I can find a good solution). Ditto on not being able to change the portfolio at seasons at a time. Ugh. That kills me.

sam hurd - totally agree. i’m in the midst of a redesign myself with this exact approach. my portfolio will be a small set of my absolute fav photos, while my blog will be front and center. it’s actually like that now, but i’m ditching the current layout :)

Mandy - I go straight for the blog, too.

Bernie Greene - London Portrait Photographer - You said it man. I’ve been thinking the same thing about my front page being my blog for ages. It’s kind of frightening but it tells people you are live and doing something.

I always look at the ports of other photographers but I absolutely look at their blogs too. The blog is where you find out who they are and whether or not you like them.

It’s strange for a creative business that people will still hire you on how much they like you as long as they also like your work. But I think it’s the truth.

Chantal Brown Photography - I am so glad you wrote this because I’ve been so confused whether I should have a portfolio or a blog or both? I decided to have a blog only without /blog append to the end of the URL. However, I do have a menu to Portfolio but it gives a slideshow. Can someone look at my website and provide feedbacks?

Mait Jüriado - Thanks Ryan for pointing out Estonia:) Come visit us someday! You will love it.

Sally Credle Watts - I never look at the portfolios anymore. And every once in a while, when I come across a hugely talented photographer who only has galleries and no blog, I get unreasonably irritated about it.

Chantal Brown - I am so glad you wrote this because I’ve been so confused whether I should have a portfolio or a blog or both? I decided to have a blog only without /blog append to the end of the URL. However, I do have a menu to Portfolio but it gives a slideshow. Can someone look at my website and provide feedbacks?

Mike Swiegot - I agree 100%. I also skip the portfolio and head straight to the blog. I find that a blog is more personal and intimate and as you said more honest, which is great for wedding photography as you want your clients to feel more at ease and trusting. I also believe it helps to have personal work on your blog, as it shows that you are passionate about what you do even when you are not working.

Anton Chia - Agreed, I jump straight to the blog when I view photographer’s sites.

Tauno Ööbik - It is so weird, I am just randomly browsing the web and you are second one who mentioned Estonia. As I have today visited two blogs only it is too weird :)
Btw, you are doing great job with your blog!