Hey look, a Portfolio!

This morning, my routine was very nearly derailed with a single Slack message.

Did you now that Adobe Portfolio comes with the Adobe CC subscription??? I just got an email saying so!

Now, for my readers who don’t know, I’m a pastor. This means Sunday mornings are not typically good times to share some new and exciting nerd-geek tool with me. I’m trying to focus my mind on doing the final preparations for my sermon, followed by spending some time chilling out, before I head over to worship. When I’m shown a new shiny toy, however, my innate ADD kicks in and my task list quickly becomes forgotten 1.

Had I received the above-quoted Slack message 5 minutes earlier, it would have immediately derailed my final sermon preparations as I explored the shiny new opportunity. Fortunately, I had just completed my final walk-through when the message arrived 2. When it came in to my screen I was already in my quite time mode, so off I went exploring the new tool.

Portfolios are essentially web-pages which allow Adobe Creative Cloud users to share their works via an easily managed portal. The content can be uploaded off a hard drive, or from collections currently set to sync to Adobe Lightroom Mobile. The setup process is painless 3, and in a few minutes I had a portfolio set up with the title “Painfully Hopeful Creations”. I uploaded two projects in the morning, and then went back in the afternoon to add a third and create a banner logo. Projects uploaded to a portfolio can also be set to sync with Bēhance, Adobe’s social sharing site for showcasing creative works. Layout is handled entirely by the Portfolio engine, which allows people to focus solely on providing great content.

With Yahoo’s future uncertain, causing me concern for Flickr’s future 4, I’d been looking for an alternative. There’s much about Adobe Portfolio’s I like, making it a potential option should I decide to move on from Flickr, but there are some elements I wish worked differently.

I love the simplicity of managing the actual site. Creating a new project inside the site is a breeze, and adding links and other social features is completely painless. This simplicity is enough to keep me experimenting with the service.

On the other hand, I don’t appreciate the way the portfolios link to Lightroom for uploads. Limiting access to photos which exist in synced collections means I have to organize images twice to import them into a project. First to curate images into smaller collections for syncing5, and the second time to select them in the project editor on the myportfolios website. After importing photos, I then have to go back to Lightroom to disable syncing.

This makes no sense, and pales in comparison to the workflow utilized by Lightroom’s Flickr service. Lightroom allows a collection to be created under the sharing service, which loads the selected images into the new collection and displays a “publish” button in grid view. Once clicked, the images are uploaded to Flickr, along with associated metadata. Best of all, if photos are edited later, the option to republish the changes is given. 6 Why portfolios haven’t been set up to work this way is something beyond my reckoning.

Portfolios also don’t seem to display any metadata about the photos which are uploaded to the site, nor does this information seem to be accessible inside Bēhance itself. Image title, and individual descriptions are missing — along with other common photographic metadata like ISO and f-stop 7.

The lack of metadata means creative elements uploaded to a Portfolio project are pretty, but they can’t be used to tell a story. Granted, Adobe has the Spark Page app, which can be used to tell a visual story, but these don’t seem to be able to automatically sync to a user’s Portfolio. Given the overlap in the general workflow between Portfolios and Spark Pages, this would seem like a logical connection.

As lacking as portfolios might be when it comes to some features, however, the results on their page are hard to deny. If you want to create a beautiful responsive page in which to display your art without any distractions, this may be a solution worth considering.

  1. Because, ohmygoshnewtoy
  2. So I at least made a little sense, I think. 
  3. Though I couldn’t edit the site on my iPad Pro. 
  4. Though, yes Jamison, the brand is too valuable to let die. 
  5. I don’t need to sync eight years of Williamsburg photos, for example 
  6. This is also how the Bēhance sharing service worked before Adobe disabled it for some inexplicable reason. 
  7. I know the site is for people to share their creative works from throughout the Creative Cloud Suite, much of which wouldn’t include this data, but the omission seems rather odd.