Portfolio Theme Advice

TOPIC – Football: The Crusaders (Sports/Action/Reaction)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of shooting football was learning the game so you can predict the next move of players to get the best action shot. Also I did notice a big difference in my shots when it came to high school and college games. College players hit harder and were a bit more unpredictable, when the high school was a slower pace.

Advice – My advice would be to know the flow/rules of football. Also practice shooting action and reaction at high school football games and try different lens so you will be prepared for a college football team.

Cassandra Baumgartner


TOPIC – Action

Hardest Part – The hardest part about my fall portfolio was finding something new and different to shoot. From the beginning I knew I wanted to be able to get some original shots and so events like the Formula 1 race in Austin was super advantageous and provided me 3 days’ worth of shooting.

Advice – Three things I would push to someone starting on action photography is patience, knowledge, and practice. Learning patience to stand still and get a good shot without expecting to have a magazine cove worthy photo immediately. Knowledge to prepare for what you’re going to us to shoot, how you’re going to do it, and where you’ll be to get a good shot. But most important is practice. Taking more photos than you think you need so as to gain experience and learn from your mistakes.

Luca Schoettle


TOPIC – Sports Emotion

Hardest Part – The hardest part of creating this portfolio was narrowing down to 12 photos. I went to six different football games and I took an average of 3000 pictures per game, so just going through all the pictures and trying to find the right ones that shows a lot of emotion was definitely a challenge for me.

Advice – I would advise them to attend every game they can go to. The more exposure they have, the better pictures they will get. I would also tell them to don’t be scared and intimidated. If you act like you know what you are doing, the majority of the time the players will respect you and stay out of your way.

Rose Lopez



TOPIC – Nature


Hardest Part – I was afraid that it wasn’t going to work out, but when I began to do it, it got easier because I got inspiration.

Advice – If you choose to do nature as your portfolio, definitely get out there and see what nature has to offer. For small things such as flowers, use a macro lens to get as much detail as you can out of nature.

Austin Allen

Nature 1

Hardest Part – There are plenty of things that can make a photo come out poorly like bad lighting, lots of debris, or dead and rotting plants. Killeen is limited on picturesque, all natural, nature. You would need to do some traveling to cities with less concrete and more dirt and grass like Copperas Cove or Belton.

Advice – Keep in mind that a lot of nature looks very similar. A picture of a sunset is going to look basically the same no matter how many pictures you take. Get creative with angles and be sure to know how to work well with natural lighting.

Devante Hampton


Nature 6

Hardest Part – Getting my good lighting and having to mess with my settings a lot more than I thought I would have to.  Plus the detail about the subjects I was taking pictures about sometimes didn’t want to focus which really would frustrate me. What I did learn from creating this portfolio from other assignments was it was hard to make sure I had good pictures by my dead line and it sure wasn’t as easy as it looked.

Advice – Take your time, do NOT rush it or wait last minute and procrastinate. Know your settings before you get to your shoot and be prepared to not get exactly what you were hoping for. It will take more than one try and plenty more than just one shoot. Make sure to check the weather forecast BEFORE you go and do you shots so you can get the outcome you were hoping for. Most of all don’t repeat photo ideas you have already done. Pay very close attention to detail, especially when taking the pictures, like if taking grass, trees, or flowers make sure to get detail and the lighting is good but not over exposed like I did on some of my shots. When editing try to make sure you make the pictures look more vibrant but not to much and make sure you for sure just put your all into your portfolios because you can be able to tell if not. Photography is a beautiful thing. Use it.

Chloe Dye


TOPIC – Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover (Portraits)

Hardest Part – The hardest part about creating my fall portfolio was finding different locations that show cased my model in a way. I wanted the location to fit my model. It was also very difficult incorporating the flags that I used to display my theme.

Advice – My advice is to watch your surroundings I spent a lot of extra time editing out leaves, branches, and hair ties which could have been avoided if noticed. So I suggest making a mental checklist before snapping the picture. If a branch is in the way move it save your own time.

Daejzia Alexander



TOPIC – Masculinity (Portraits)

Hardest Part – Finding reliable models that would not cancel the day of the shoot and still are dumb enough to post on social media that they have me on, that they are out on the town.

Advice – Go outside the box, don’t just take the idea and think “oh let’s just take portraits of men.” Masculinity is more than just a literal male, it is a lifestyle, fashion, objects, character, actions.

Emily Tapia Patino



TOPIC – Abstract/Weird Makeup looks (Portraits)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of shooting my portfolio was actually taking a look in my head and putting it on a person’s face. As well as trying to rush my project as a whole. I attempted to do more than 6 looks in a day it became super difficult to keep track of and pictures began to look repetitive.

Advice – When working with models, make sure you have everything laid out and ready for them and their look (also make sure that it works well with they’re skin and they aren’t allergic). This will cause less stress for you and the model you’re working with. As well as keep the number or people you’re working with low, maybe at max two. This will help keep everyone focused and get everything done right, as well as the quality of the pictures nice. Always have backups when working with models. For example in my portfolio there should have been a set of twins but because of family issues that popped up, they couldn’t come.

Ensara Lance


TOPIC – Food Photography (Still Life)

Hardest Part – I think the hardest part of my portfolio work was getting interesting looking foods and different shapes. While trying to maintain the same lighting over each picture because some days, I had to work in different spaces.

Advice – Get foods with lots of color, and try contrasting the colors between the photos like a spectrum or it’ll look boring or out of place. Shapes don’t matter as much as you think but if you do the same shape multiple times or the same angle.  Be consistent.

Brandon Marquez



TOPIC – Black and White Outdoor Portraits (Portraits)

Hardest Part – Getting models to shoot. They often bail on you. Also use a different person for each picture so the viewer gets a better effect and feeling of your portfolio.

Advice – Choose a specific theme, such as nature or city life portraits or a mixture of nature and city pics so that the portfolio is balanced. Do not wait till the last minute because as Smallwood says “Your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest photo.” And rushing to finish your shoots right before its due will result in weak photos, a weak portfolio, and a weak grade.

Jubilee Bolden



TOPIC – Beauty/Challenging Beauty (Portraits)

Hardest Part – One of the hardest things to do while composing this portfolio was finding reliable models. I also found it very difficult to come up with photo ideas that haven’t been seen before. The theme is common now so there are so many of the same types of pictures out there that go with the theme I was attempting to follow. I struggled to come up with new ideas.

Advice – Some advice to take into consideration when shooting this theme or a similar theme is to do your research. Make sure you know what you’re shooting, and make sure you know how to shoot it. Be sure to have ideas already, and be creative while shooting, use props and editing to bring photos to life. Tell a story with your photos, and be sure to have models you can rely on.

Janae Gomez



TOPIC – Car Portfolio (Still Life)

Hardest Part – I’m not a very talkative person and barley have any connections with people, so I could not find people with cool exotic cars.

Advice – First thing is first, DON’T SLACK OFF! Find ideas on Instagram, Google or Pinterest. You want to get inspired and try different things. If you need help use your resource like YouTube is a big one or even your teacher. I asked my teacher for places to take pictures of cars and he gave me some nice places, don’t be afraid to ask he want to help you become a better photographer. I thought of this last minute in this project but, use Instagram and find people with a nice car and DM them. You might get rejected but it’s okay forget about them and move on to another person in town. One last thing is get creative as you can get, when it’s time to put your portfolio you want it to be hard to find what picture to put first and last and be indecisive, that’s when you know you did your best. GOOD LUCK!!

Jamari Lewis



TOPIC – Dancers in Nature (Portraits)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of creating this portfolio was understanding that the dancer in front of me has their own strengths and weaknesses and might not be able to create the image I have in my head. I had to roll with the punches and adapt to each dancer to get the best shots.

Advice – My advice to anyone who wants to take pictures of dancers is to learn to use your dancer’s strongest aspects for the best results. Try to find a group of dancers with a diverse skill set for a wide range of shots. The last thing you want is to go to piece your portfolio together only to see that all of your images have the same poses, lighting, composition, or backgrounds. Variety is key. Also, try to learn some dance terminology so they know what you want them to do. Most importantly, never settle for a shot that isn’t “just right”. Different angles are very important to maximize the effect of the image. Try to create flowy, continuous lines with their bodies.

Haley Farmer


TOPIC – Monochromatic (Portraits)

Hardest Part – During my portfolio the hardest part was models, three people didn’t work out or cancelled on me before the shoot. One girl cancelled on me hours before the shoot but luckily for me a friend of mine was able to model last minute. Another thing is thinking of different stuff to do in each photo, I struggled here and there with how to position my model / item to make it look different than the last. For me, personally, a really hard thing was timing cause I have a VERY busy schedule so I caught myself doing multiple shoot in one day, so think about that.

Advice – To be able to make this theme unique is use props! If you don’t use props it will get boring after a while of shooting pictures, ill be honest when I was shooting I started to get bored and didn’t know what to do cause most of my other shoots I already did the same pose. So using props takes away the stress of not knowing what to do or how to have them pose for you. Especially if you do your entire portfolio on a background cause then it’ll already look the same as someone is looking at your stuff but adding props then it creates a more feel to it like it is different.  Plan, plan, plan. Plan your shoots out, me and my friend in this class uses planners to help stay organized with all the shoots, so get one or put it all in your phone notes. Plan everything it helps! Plan what they’re going to wear, where it is going to be, what time/day, what pose you want them to do, etc.

Josephine Vargo



TOPIC – Drawing with Photos (Portraits)

Hardest Part – This portfolio is really time consuming and required a lot of ideas into every drawing. Editing the photo with the drawing is simple but also you have to be careful about the lighting when editing the two things together.

Advice – Start early on your drawings and brainstorm on ideas early. Like I said before this portfolio is extremely time consuming so it’s better to start early with the draws so all you have to do is take pictures and edit them together. Also always remember the lighting on the drawing compared to the photo, because if the photo is lighter, then the drawing with wouldn’t match.

John Han


TOPIC – Band Instruments (Still Life)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of shooting my portfolio was figuring out how to talk to other people. I don’t usually converse with many people outside of my little group, and I had to ask other people in my band for their permission to take pictures of their instruments for my portfolio.

Advice – For those of you who would choose my rather unusual topic, do your best to be creative with your images. There’s really only so many different ways to position the instruments, and it gets repetitive pretty quickly. Try using a theme, like colors or reflections. The most important thing is to put in the time to make your pictures the best they can be. If you don’t regularly have access to your subject, then maybe try a different topic instead.

Jasmine Embrick



TOPIC – Advertising (Still Life)

Advertising Color

Hardest Part – Hardest part is setting up the studio, fixing the camera settings and to take the pictures as soon as possible.

Advice – Get the Objects chosen and get the studio or backdrops and lights checked out as soon as possible.

James Hofeldt


TOPIC – Advertisement

Hardest Part – That it did turn out the way I had hoped. I also felt like it wasn’t creative enough.

Advice – To try to be creative and don’t think about how everyone else’s is going to turn out. Also try to reshoot if you aren’t confident in your portfolio.

Kenya Boddy


TOPIC – Advertising

Hardest Part – The hardest part of my portfolio was getting topics and ideas to shoot, and trying to shoot them in a creative way.

Advice – Be creative with your shots, and take your time on them. Do not wait until the last minute to shoot your pictures.

Tramell Blackmon




TOPIC – Off Camera Flash (Portraits)

Hardest Part – The hardest part about this portfolio was trying to schedule with people, and if you are limited to not as many locations, trying to shoot different looking pictures in some of the same areas was definitely a big one.

Advice – You should definitely know your models as well as you should know your settings. This is not a subject where you can just put random settings on and expect good results, as there’s more factors like flash power, where the sun is, if at night it’d be what lighting you have around you, what coverings are around, what the model or models look like, all of those factors have to be taken into account with OCF. Lastly plan your locations and times, and take the proper flash and diffuser accordingly. And most importantly, have fun and don’t break the gear. 🙂

Paul Johnson



TOPIC – Macro/Animals (Animal)

Hardest Part – Getting motivation to actually get up and take the pictures was the hardest part of my fall portfolio.

Advice – My advice is NEVER put your portfolio off till the last minute and take the time. Also plan what your gonna do and put a lot of thought into it. Look at your previous pictures and see what your good at and try to do something involving that.

Alecia Noyer


TOPIC – Music (Still Life)

Hardest Part – The amount of time I had at sunset and finding a different and interesting angle for each instrument. Some were easier to photograph than others. Most of my photos were taken outside at around sunset, so I had to get down with each instrument rather quickly to keep the best lighting I had outside. Also finding different angles for each piece, so that every photo looked different, was a slight challenge.

Advice – Using a flash for every instrument makes each one look so much better. Also slow down and take photos from different angles to find which angle fits every instrument the best. Take your time and you can always reshoot if you don’t like the way it came out the first time. It is best to relax and enjoy your time while shooting.

Kathleen Tollett



TOPIC – Still Life (Still Life)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of still life photography is coming up with new and different themes that correlate but are different. I also had to reshoot multiple times before I found the pictures I liked.

Advice – If you decide to do still life photography make sure you are very creative and have fun. Also play with your settings on the camera a little. Then when you import make sure you play with the edits in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Nayana Donald




TOPIC – Urban Macro (Still Life)

Hardest Part – The hardest part about my portfolio was traveling to get locations. I had to arrange times after practices just to get pictures for better lighting at dusk for a mean shadow. And Austin was a dangerous adventure in some bad places.

Advice – My advice is to take plenty of pictures to choose from, there are endless amounts of places to take pictures at. Parks are a good sources of urban things like trashcans, public restrooms, and back alleyways are some good ideas. Don’t stay local, travel to cities and find the rough parts and dirty ones.

Michael Dooley


TOPIC – Nature Macro

Hardest Part – For me the hardest part was finding suitable weather days and trying to find various places to shoot my photos. It was hard to find good weather days to take pictures because one it was really gloomy or raining for most of fall or it was really cold and I didn’t want to freeze while shooting pictures. I also had to account for good lighting when I was shooting.

Advice – My advice to someone who wants to do macro would work diligently don’t rush the pictures and really put thought into it and think outside of the box. Think in a creative way and try to portray extraordinary not ordinary. You can reference to online ideas from other photographers but using your own ideas will benefit in a good way on your part.

Syann Ramsey



TOPIC – Informal Portrait (Portrait)

Hardest Part – The hardest part of the portfolio was being able to get people to shoot and figuring out time when people were available to go out and shoot, also getting people that were able to pose but that could have been done a little bit better on my part as well.

Advice – The advice I would give to people is to make sure that you are able to get models who can go out and shoot. To not waste any time at all spend all the time that you can to go take pictures. Spend time editing so you can practice editing and really just try new styles of editing. Make sure every day you try to think of new ideas to do or look up ideas that you like to do. Most importantly to have fun with it to go try new things with each shoot cause if you don’t like how it comes out you can always reshoot.

Logan Van Bibber

TOPIC – Portraits

Hardest Part – I would say the hardest part is getting the concept or theme from my mind and getting it correct with the shots. Another thin g is trying to make the pictures not look repetitive or exactly the same.

Advice – Take time out of your week to shoot. Get multiple people ready for the shoot and know what concept you want to do. Look at poses for your model to do, and look at what other people shot. Don’t copy the picture but get inspired by it. Don’t be afraid to get help and ask questions.

Zoe Chevalier


TOPIC – Portraits

Hardest Part – The hardest part about creating my portfolio was to get people that wouldn’t cancel on me. I had twelve different people lined up to model and half cancelled either the day before or the day of, along with all of their back-ups.

Advice – Do not rush to do anything, you have plenty of time. But also, do not procrastinate. Make sure to have multiple models lined up because they WILL cancel. And do not give up when you get frustrated and turn in the bare minimum, keep shooting and make your portfolio the best it can be. Always be sure to have multiple back-ups for one model. Don’t be afraid to get creative, shoot what you think is good.

Sammantha Gutierrez


TOPIC – AFTER HOURS (Street Photography)

Hardest Part of your Portfolio The hardest part about my portfolio was trying to get my photos to match thematically. “After Hours” is one of those phrase themes, so it is really up to most of your own interpretation, which can prove difficult if you struggle with creativity.

Advice – If you are very involved in school as a student and take extra time to participate in sports or clubs, I would advise against this portfolio theme. Even with all the planning taken into account, it took away a great amount of sleep and sometimes took priority over other school assignments. This portfolio is not for you if dislike shooting in low light. My greatest advice would just be to learn technical settings on your own because we do not learn much in class. A lot of how I shot included night photography aspects, as it fit a lot with my theme, so searching for videos on your own will bring your photos to another level.




TOPIC – The Various Branches of Creative Activity

Hardest Part – The hardest part about creating the portfolio was finding places, things, and people to shoot. Also scheduling shoots was a big conflict because not only do you have to work with your models schedule, but also your parents and extracurricular schedule.

Advice – Each picture should have its own unique personality but should all go cohesively together. Also for each shoot try different things with your model, they should have a change of clothes, different poses, and different areas to shoot so you have more options. The biggest thing though is editing things like tones or vignettes are subtle but really enhance the photo but it’s also important to never over edit.

Sequoia Smith