Are you a model/aspiring actor looking for a break in the industry? You will need to create a portfolio of your best pictures. Even the likes of Salman Khan (despite having a celebrity father) would take their portfolio of pictures and meet the top producers, filmmakers & studios to get the elusive break. And a portfolio is not just a one time job, the top actors keep on shooting their portfolios from top fashion photographers on a regular basis.
And a portfolio is not just for wannabe actors & models, you need to have one even if you work in some other area of the entertainment industry. Are you a photographer/editor who wants to get bigger/better clients (businesses)? Are you into event management?
You’ll need a portfolio to showcase your work, especially if you want work in the entertainment industry. Its the best way to demonstrate your skills to prospective clients.
The best way to impress the client/interviewer is to show a beautifully presented portfolio. Its a great idea to bring it along with you (or keep it handy in your studio), whenever you’re meeting a prospective client.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while designing your portfolio.
- Go for quality, not quantity: The Client will probably spend only a few minutes looking at your portfolio, especially at interview. Less can be more so select only your strongest work.
- Put your portfolio on a web site if possible as it is so easy to access. Don’t forget to provide the web link on your presentation/CV.
- Make sure that the portfolio is carefully laid out and in the correct order.
- All items need to be clear and easy to understand
- A physical portfolio can include anything that is portable! Anything flat can be folded into a portfolio, but you are not restricted to things that can fit inside the portfolio! If an item is too large to take to the interview take high quality photos of it to show with close ups to elicit details.
What should my portfolio include?
A good portfolio would probably have most of the following:
- An index of the contents
- Perhaps a profile or personal statement
- Your key achievements and skills
- Examples of your work of course with good documentation.
- Place the best and most relevant work first and start and finish with strong pieces of work.
- Include a variety of examples of work you have done.
- Your main example needs to reflect your strengths and your creative approach and flair.
Items that show your thought process and development of ideas are valuable: sequence of photos for example.
- Give the impression that you think like a designer, and provide evidence of project management skills.
- Production portfolios can also include budget sheets, idea pitches and marketing materials.
Portfolios for Actors/Models
- Include pictures in different outfits (ethnic, fashion, rural)
- Have pictures showing various expressions (guys can have pictures with stubble, clean-shave, etc.)
- Have good mix of close-up and long shots
- Include pictures that were featured in magazines, newspapers.
Portfolios for Print Journalism
- These are likely to includes articles from the student newspaper or other publications. Normally 6 to 8 articles is sufficient. Make sure they are readable.
- Include the the date and page on which your article appeared, plus the magazine logo if possible. It’s fine to include articles that appeared online.
- Play to your strengths, but try to provide a variety of examples: news, current affairs, features, editorials.
Broadcast journalists may be asked to provide a demo disk rather than a portfolio. Increasingly journalists need to demonstrate multimedia skills:writing a blog etc.
- Type “journalism portfolio” into Google to see some examples.
Portfolios for Multimedia
- It can include images, animations, web pages, sound files, concept papers or anything else that demonstrates your design skills.
- Put your work into different categories such as graphics, photos, video, animation editing and 3D modeling.
- If you need more material for your portfolio, consider undertaking projects for friends or charities or working on mock projects such as creating animations for an imaginary computer game, or producing a makeover for an existing web site.
- Go for quality, not quantity: one minute of highly polished animation will work far better than your rambling five hour version of Lord of the Rings! It shouldn’t include more than 20 pieces, and 6 to 8 are sufficient. It’s OK if examples are collaborative (e.g. an animation done with friends ) as long as you highlight what you did.
- Play to your strengths, but try to provide a variety of short examples.
Try to provide a context for each example: brief description, where got the idea for the piece, what your influences were, how you went about creating the work, challenges you had to overcome. You may be asked to talk about these at interview.
- You can also include articles about your work and reviews of it.
- Get people to view it and give you feedback on content, impact, style and navigation.
- For a design CV give careful consideration to typography: font styles, sizes and colours. Don’t use more than two or three fonts. Keep font colours moderately dark so they will print and photocopy easily.
Have a brand identity, so the same style pervades your DVD, web site and CV.
- Include a downloadable CV with your portfolio. A PDF file is usually the best way to provide this. On-line CVs should not contain your date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address and phone number as they can allow fraudsters to carry out identity theft. An email address is the best way to allow employers to contact you initially.
- INCLUDING EXAMPLES OF WORK WITH YOUR CV is an easy way to show your skills if you haven’t time to produce a DVD or web site. Don’t include more than two or three examples, and if sent by post, make sure your work is printed on a good quality printer and send in a good quality A4 envelope. Include a little information about each piece you include.
A Web portfolio has many advantages:
“We throw DVD portfolios straight in the bin as they are too much hassle to view. We only look at web-based portfolios. If a student can’t produce a web-based portfolio, they probably haven’t got the skills we need.”
Manager at a TV Post Production Company
- It is permanently available at all times and all over the world for employers to view: they might just find it by accident!
- You can update it regularly to show your latest work and achievements.
- You can include a link to it in your CV and covering letter.
- Viewers can select what they wish to see via a menu: provide a menu/navigation bar so viewers can move around easily.
- This will show your computing design skills.
- Your site must be of high quality: well organised and relevant with a consistent style and navigation on all pages.
- Make sure everything portrays you in a professional light (no photographs of pub crawls!).
- If you can’t produce a good web site, it’s better to include samples of your work with your CV.
- Preview your site on the main browsers (e.g. Firefox, Chrome and Safari) as they may display your work differently. Internet Explorer is especially idiosyncratic as it doesn’t conform to web standards.
If items will take time to load, provide a loading screen with “Loading, please wait” and ideally how long to go until loaded.
- Web site hosting. You will need to pay a few pounds a month for this and a domain name. Google Sites offers free, reliable hosting with good support and requires little web knowledge, but it’s not as powerful or flexible as paid for hosting sites.
- A DVD may be needed for long animations or projects that take a long time to download over the web. At interview you may be able to demonstrate your work on the employers computer or a laptop, but it’s a good idea to have some printed screen shots as well just in case the technology doesn’t work! Place the most relevant work first and start and finish with strong pieces of work.
- One advantage of sending a DVD is that you can tailor it to the individual employer.
Packaging should be smart and eye catching to increase the chances of it being viewed. Make sure it is clearly labeled with your name and contact details.
- Include your CV in PDF format.
- DVDs take time to load and don’t always work (the recruiter may have an Apple Mac) and may need to be virus checked first, so some employers won’t view them.
A blog can sometimes be a compliment to your portfolio allowing you to keep potential employers right up to date with what you are doing. You can ask for comments from viewers on your latest work. Keep it professional!
In the creative industries Instagram feeds are to some extent now replacing CVs and portfolios. Successful Instagram portfolios may also include information on your activities outside work as well as traditional material. Creative directors now often use Instagram to vet candidates as they can get a taste of your personality as well as your artistic skills. See our Using Social Media in Jobhunting page for more about this.
A SHOWREEL gives a taster of your skills and can be placed on-line and/or on a DVD. Tell the viewer how long it will last in case they have limited time (or patience!).
At the interview be prepared to talk about the specific pieces that you are presenting on and the work of designers/writers you admire. Make sure that you can confident explain and discuss the items in your portfolio. You may be asked to talk about the context for your portfolio examples at interview: where you got the idea for the piece; what your influences were and how you went about producing it. You may be asked if you specialise in a particular area, or work on lots of different aspects.