Portfolios, books, web portfolios aaagh! It can all be very confusing. Where to start? Well, read on, I have some advice for you.
If you are putting a portfolio together, there are things you have to have for it to make sense.
1. You have to have a "Body of Work." That means that the person looking at your portfolio should know that, for this portfolio, "THIS" is what you do. If you have random pictures of people, food, scenics, and cars, the person may think that you are a decent photographer, but they probably won't know what YOU DO and what they could hire you for.
2. You have to have a Point of View. How do you feel about the work you do? Is it humorous, serious, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek...? It's YOUR art, so when you are shooting things or putting your book together, make sure their is a viewpoint inherent in the body of work that comes across. This is so the viewer can gain some insight into the work you would do for them if they hire you.
3. You have to learn how to edit and present your BEST work. If you have 50 shots you think are good enough for your book, You should bring a critical eye to them and narrow them down to your best shots that fulfill the above two points. 10 shots which make up a Body of Work, have a Point of View, and are dead-on GREAT are better than 50 shots with 10 good shots mixed in. Learn how to edit. This is the skill many amateurs and advanced amateurs are lacking. You must learn how to narrow down those shots and pick the best one-- and you must know WHY it is the best.
I regularly edit 1,000 shots of my own work A DAY, trust me, you get really quick at it.
The book should have a beginning, middle, and end. Start out with your strongest stuff, and end with your second strongest stuff.