How to start your creative portfolio

A portfolio is a showcase of a creative professional’s work. It’s not just about promoting your talent and services.

Spending time working on your own portfolio provides a good overview exercise to determine the type of work you want to do and the direction you’re heading.

Creative professionals need portfolios to demonstrate their:

  • Artistic flair
  • Technical skill
  • Specialism and experience
  • Areas of interests

1) Choose the right platform to showcase your work

It’s recommendable for a creative to have a dedicated portfolio website. You can begin with community platforms such as Behance or DeviantArt. If you to wish to set yourself apart and be more enterprising, you could invest in own website using Wix, Squarepace, WordPress or Tumblr platforms.

Make sure that you are able to maintain these websites easily, or invest some time training yourself to use it.

Some early-day creative entrepreneurs probably can’t afford to pay monthly or annual fee for websites. In this case, social media channels such Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter could be useful.

2) Categorise your work

Firstly, look at all your work and put them into separate categories. For a designer, it could be Brand Identity, Marketing, Campaign, Events and so on. For a photographer, you could divide your work by assignments or genres such as Portraiture, Landscape, Editorial, Events. etc.

Think about the type of work that your potential clients would want to see.

3) Select your strongest work

Choose the strongest work to showcase. For example, a job that was distributed nationwide or helped a client launched a brand successfully. It could also be a small project but highly attractive.

As you get more experienced, you’ll discover that a huge chunk of your professional work isn’t related to your personal creative style. So, you can choose not to showcase them.

4) Less is more

Potential clients who visit your website usually don’t have much time to browse.

We recommend showcasing maximum ten work per category. If you find it hard to choose the work to showcase, you could ask a colleague for a fresh perspective. A portfolio review could be useful for photography artists to improve their selections.

5) Create your dream work

If you haven’t been commissioned to do your dream assignment, don’t wait. Simply start a project that demonstrates your artistic direction. This could be fun and could help you polish your technical skills.

It’s a common practice for a good creative studio to set aside several weeks per year to work on its own artistic assignment.

For example, you could embark on a collaborative project with another artist or produce a campaign to support a worthy cause. It’s not only great for portfolio building but could potentially open up a new source of revenue.

6) Be easily contactable

Make sure you are easily contactable via an email address or a phone number. If you are cautious about sharing personal data, simple leave an email address on your portfolio website.

It’s also helpful to be clear about your business opening hours and the geographical regions you operate in.

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