As my own photography continues to develop, I'm noticing that the portfolio as a whole is becoming more important than the sum of its parts.
I find these days, that my edits are not done on an image by image basis, but instead with more thought about how an image may sit alongside its partners in the collection. I find that although I edit each image on an individual basis and apply what I feel is relevant for its own benefit, I also do a second stage edit whereby I try to find the image's place within the portfolio. This may for instance require me to tune the colour palette of an image to fit more in-line with its brothers, or it may require me to weed out images that don't fit because they don't share an 'aesthetic consistency'.
Aesthetic consistency is perhaps another way of saying 'style'. I'm never too sure what style actually is: is it just a way of saying that images conform to a set of rules, or is it a way of saying that images fit what we know or have come to expect from a photographer? I really don't know. But I do know what I like and I tend to gravitate to those images that I find aesthetically pleasing.
In the collection you see above, I think there is a theme at play. Not just in subject matter, but also in form and tone. On the one hand you may say the images are related by the black sand beaches, or the white ice (which is deliberately on the blue/cool side). You may however say the images are related by the use of strong diagonals throughout most of the pictures, or you may say they are related due to the same aspect ratio (shot in portrait mode). One may say they are related because they are from the same photographer, and as such, show his own style.
Either way, images have to be strong on their own, but it's also of great benefit if they can strengthen the portfolio as a whole. Your work has to represent you as a photographer, so only showing your best work, and presenting it in the strongest way is of vital importance.
I never underestimate the importance of this. Quality control is vitally important in conveying who and what you are. By showing your best work and presenting it well (in the form of a strong portfolio) should never be underestimated. That's why I'm always striving for a sense of 'aesthetic consistency' in what I do.