The Portfolio of Photography vs. Engineering

I’ve known a few photographers, they almost never get hired without having a portfolio of work that they can show off.

Engineers on the other hand are almost never asked for a portfolio, they are asked about projects, ut having pictures of them isn’t requisite to landing the job.

There’s a couple different reasons for this. A photographer is being paid for their “eye”, how they see lighting, composition, scenery, etc. It’s impossible to know how they “see” without seeing a portfolio.

An engineer is hired to design something that is likely proprietary. Provided you weren’t fired from the last job, we’ll have to assume that your work was adequate because it’s understood your last employer doesn’t want you showing your work off around town risking their proprietary knowledge. There also tends to be other qualifying criteria such as a Bachelor’s Degree that shows you have a certain knowledge level.

In today’s world, a portfolio of work is the easiest it’s ever been to curate. Build a website, start adding projects, photos, thoughts and anything else to it over the years, and edit it from time to time.

While other professions follow engineering in some regards, it never hurts your chances to have a portfolio of work. To be able to say, “Here is what I did, and what I can do, what do you think?” It makes for a much more concrete conversation.

If you’re an engineer and you built a sofa for your house, that’s probably worth documenting. If you’re a baker and you made a full-size cake of Darth Vader, that’s worth documenting. If you’re in the hair styling business and you have ten different people who you made look better through a radical change in hair style, it’s worth documenting.

There are so many places where a portfolio is the piece of marketing you’re missing, that it’s worth thinking about what you can do to document your work.