For individual achievements in various fields, universities give applicants additional competitive points. Often points for individual achievements play a decisive role, and the one who has collected a high-quality portfolio goes through the competition for the budget. And it is necessary to approach this highly responsible task with the utmost professionalism and creativity. If you want to create a really professional portfolio for colleges and universities you need to:
- choose your best work;
- present your work thoughtfully;
- make your list of works user-friendly;
- attach complementary interesting data;
- showcase your adaptability;
- pay attention to the details;
- demonstrate your growth, etc.
Students must provide a portfolio for admission to programs of any level: preparatory courses for international applicants (International Foundation), undergraduate, postgraduate programs. The requirements for the degree of professionalism of the works selected for the photography portfolio are different for each level. A portfolio for colleges and universities is not just a "static" list of works, it is the main document with the help of which:
- an experienced teacher will be able to see the process of your development, the dynamics of creation from the initial idea to its finished embodiment;
- admissions staff evaluate the applicant's talent;
- without an interview with the applicant, this is the decisive factor on the basis of which the members of the admissions committee decide whether you deserve a place at their university.
How to select the right photos for photography portfolio
Besides knowing what a photography list of works is and why you need it, there are many details you need to know to select the right photos for your list of works.
- Determine the amount of material provided - a small number will not allow you to reveal your potential and abilities, and too many of them will not allow you to focus on the key elements of creativity. Try to include a variety of works in your portfolio, avoiding materials of the same type, made in the same style and technique.
- Do not copy someone's portfolio or try to guess what the admissions committee wants to see in the submissions. Creativity and the ability to express in artistic form the traditions of the environment where you grew up are significant pluses for assessing your ability to engage in art.
- Make a dynamic photography portfolio, presenting an unfolding story of your development over some time and showing the creative process of working on each project.
- Don't stop at the end of this story - the secret to a creative portfolio is to make you feel like you're ready to move on and achieve more.
The main general details about how to make a photography portfolio
To create a really professional portfolio, you need to know about these important details:
- The list of works should be of the size that its content dictates - A4, A3, etc. The best advice is to edit your work and make a photography portfolio from a series of projects or studies. The presentation must be clear and relevant. Avoid over-embellishment - it will only distract from the main content.
- You will need to bring your photography portfolio with you to the interview if you have successfully passed the first stage of selection. If you use a special folder with a lock, and it is difficult to fasten it, you have overdone it. Five works plus a sketchbook is enough. Try not to include too many examples of the same type of work: instead, take one or two of the most successful, in your opinion.
- Sketchbooks in your photography portfolio help to look inside the process of creating a job and finding a solution. Sketchbooks form the basis for more formalized final works, and together, they tell the story of the applicant's career.
- A photography portfolio is a powerful tool that can influence admissions decisions. It shows how the student conducts work, what interests, skills, and knowledge they have. Representatives of the creative industry must represent not only themselves but also their portfolios.
- You should include the works themselves in the portfolio, but their number should be limited to one or two if these are massive works and their transportation is problematic enough. If there are more such works, they need to be filmed in high resolution and attached to the portfolio.
- You should tell the story of each project. Each photography portfolio is then carefully assessed by two experts from the selection committee. Feedback is expected from the applicant, explaining how working on the projects went, what issues it covered, what caused the choice of color, style, or form of presentation. The commission tries to understand the applicant’s interests and how they affect the result of the work. The candidate's hobbies, countries in which they have been, musical preferences, cinema, magazines, exhibitions they visited, etc., may also be of interest.
- It is allowed to use work performed outside the classroom if it has to do with a portfolio. Always take advice on the content and format of your list of works. Each work is very individual and reflects exactly that stage of the creative path on which the student is at the moment.
- Universities with arts education programs that require portfolios for admission typically have special courses that help students learn the secrets of building a portfolio for college at the level required for college admission.
10 practical tips for making a photography portfolio
There are 10 main tips for making a portfolio:
- Ensure a smooth transition between jobs. You need to combine web designs and logos. Colors should work well with each other and look consistent before being revealed; this creates a pleasing appearance without confusing the viewer.
- Show variety. Show different formats of your work. Reviewers must make sure you have a good imagination and you are capable of a lot.
- Review your portfolio regularly. You should update your photography portfolio at least every six months. Add new best works there and delete those that you don't like anymore.
- Don't use flash or animation in your online portfolio. Keep your portfolio simple and uncluttered. Let the viewer watch it at their own pace.
- Choose a high resolution. It will be better for you to have all the photos of your work in your photography portfolio in good resolution. Because one day you may need to print them. And even if you only post them on social media, high-quality photos will have a greater impact on viewers.
- Stay on top of current trends. You should not include work in your portfolio done more than 3 years ago. Trends, techniques, and technologies are changing very quickly. The least you need is to look outdated.
- Specify project details. Include details such as the tools you used while working, for whom you did it, and other interesting details.
- Strive for uniformity. All your work should be in the same style and reflect one coherent idea so that the photography portfolio does not look like it was done by several different people.
- Be selective. Select only the best works in your portfolio. Because no one will have time to watch absolutely everything that you have done before.
- Think about a paper portfolio too. Despite digitalization, print your portfolio. Because, in a live interview, your electronic version may not be accepted.
So, your portfolio for college is finally ready! You have taken a critical look at all of your work and selected the very best of them, demonstrating your diversity and creativity. Now what?
- If you have a full-fledged website, then the obvious solution would be to add a "portfolio" section. You can also title it as "Job Examples".
- If you don't have your website and resources to create one, look to the global creative communities where designers can submit their work.
- Flickr was originally a photo-sharing service but later evolved into a portfolio site. You can group your work here by category, just like you would in a regular list of works.
- Instagram is also a leading platform for creating informal portfolios. For this purpose, it is better to create a second account so that your selfies do not appear between two advertising campaigns.
- Consider creating a separate landing page to link to on social media and business cards.
Hopefully, all this information was useful for you and you can create a really cool list of works.