How to Make a Portfolio (with Images)

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How to Make a Portfolio (with Images)
How to Make a Portfolio (with Images)

A portfolio is an excellent tool to showcase creative and professional skills and talents to potential clients and company contractors. The elements of the document depend on the area in which you work, but there are some basic principles that always apply. To get started, gather materials such as project samples, references, and a full curriculum. Then build a digital portfolio, a print portfolio, or both.


Part 1 of 3: Putting the Materials Together

Make a Portfolio Step 1

Step 1. Take ten to 20 samples of your best projects

These samples are the most important part of the portfolio as they show you what kind of projects you can execute. Still, you don't need to fill the document with everything you've already done; choose the top ten or 20 examples to show versatility, not quantity.

Sample types depend on your professional field. For example: a model will need quality photos, while a writer needs texts of varied genres

Make a Portfolio Step 2

Step 2. Take quality photos of your projects

Don't risk losing your original projects with the portfolio, which will pass from hand to hand. Take photos of everything you've done, whether it's print, physical or digital, or digitize written content. Use a tripod to stabilize the camera and try different angles to avoid lighting problems.

If you plan to include a story published in a magazine, newspaper, or other periodical, take a copy of the cover and table of contents and text

Make a Portfolio Step 3

Step 3. Gather documentary evidence of what you've already done

If any of your work has been praised or awarded, please include copies of the publication in your portfolio. Large newspapers and the like are good sources, but it's still nice to include texts written by local publications, academic institutions and the like.

  • Also, add documents that prove things you've done, such as information about awards and other honors.
  • If you've just graduated and want to get a first official job, please include your recent academic record.
  • Also remember to include only what is relevant.
Make a Portfolio Step 4

Step 4. Ask five people to give references for their work

List professional or academic contacts who can publicize your work and attest to your competence. Think of trusted people and ask them for permission before including each name. Also, list her name, title, e-mail address, and contact phone number, and talk about your relationship.

  • Limit these references to a single page.
  • Do not publish this information on the internet, but in the printed portfolio or in the version that you will send by e-mail to interested parties.
Make a Portfolio Step 5

Step 5. Write a brief description of yourself

Write a paragraph with your professional information, your short- and long-term goals, and how you approach the projects you receive. Depending on your field, it's also good to talk about your creative philosophy, project management, teaching and so on.

  • If you plan to show the portfolio to several clients or potential contractors, write a more general description that doesn't have as many specifics.
  • Still, don't be so general. For example, say "My experience with producing student films and documentaries has taught me to be persevering in my pursuit of professional success," not "I'm a good candidate because I've produced a lot of films."
Make a Portfolio Step 6

Step 6. Update your resume

If your resume is out of date, it's time to spice up the document to include it in your portfolio. It has to list your relevant professional experiences, your skills and your educational achievements.

  • If you don't have that much work experience, at least list the awards you've received for school or college work or the volunteer efforts you've participated in.
  • If so, update your virtual resume, like on LinkedIn.

Part 2 of 3: Creating a website for your portfolio

Make a Portfolio Step 7

Step 1. Create a website from a template on a free service

There are several free platforms for creating websites and blogs, such as Wix and WordPress. They also have paid versions, which offer more features, but you can create a nice portfolio without spending anything.

Choose a template with a simple design and few animations (nothing too flashy or frantic)

Make a Portfolio Step 8

Step 2. Show samples of your work on the home page

The first page of the site has to bring the main samples of your projects. Experiment with different ways to distribute content until you find something cool: gridded, like a slideshow, or with an infinitely scrolling page. Also, include brief descriptions of each example, as well as a short description of yourself (or, if you prefer, leave this part to the "About Me" section).

Just put light files on the page so it doesn't take long to load

Make a Portfolio Step 9

Step 3. Create an "About Me" page

In it, include a professional photo of yourself and a personal description in the first or third person. Use this page to link or post your resume and relevant social media like a YouTube channel or Instagram account (not your personal profile, of course).

  • If you're not sure what to put on this page, go for simplicity. For example: "I've been working with graphic design for two years. I live in Curitiba and specialize in design for marketing and advertising. I'm open to new clients, commissions and collaborations."
  • Read the same page from other portfolios in your area to find out what people have written.
  • You can also list relevant awards and certificates here.
Make a Portfolio Step 10

Step 4. Include a contact page for anyone interested

You can include a form for people to send messages or post their email address. If necessary, create a professional email.

  • Do not post your cell phone on the internet as you will receive a million spam calls. Only pass your number on to someone after you have contacted them by email - to know that the person is really interested in the service.
  • Like it or not, you will probably get a lot of spam after you post your email address.
Make a Portfolio Step 11

Step 5. Experiment with different options until you find the best design

Most website and blog creation platforms allow the user to edit the fonts, colors and layout. Choose a simple, readable font for easy reading and eye-catching. As for color and theme, think of something that reflects your professional goals.

For example: if you want to work as a children's book illustrator, choose pastel colors; if you want to work as a financial copywriter, use a dark tone

Make a Portfolio Step 12

Step 6. Ask for feedback before going live

You can ask a friend, family member, classmate, or teacher to take a look at the site before it goes live. This person may have tips for refining the content and notice obvious mistakes that have gone unnoticed.

Even if that person says the site is fine, you can ask for a second opinion - as long as they don't get hurt. Be specific, such as "Do you think I need to improve some of the text? What did you think of the layout of the projects? Does the 'About Me' section give a clear sense of who I am?" and so on

Part 3 of 3: Making a Printed Portfolio

Make a Portfolio Step 13

Step 1. Print the portfolio pages on quality colored paper

The ideal for portfolios focused on the arts is to use photographic paper, while areas such as business, teaching and the like call for matte paper. Anyway, some professionals prefer to innovate (or rather, take risks). It's your decision!

After printing, make sure all pages come out with the same orientation (landscape or portrait). The person reading the portfolio has to be easy, not work

Make a Portfolio Step 14

Step 2. Put an index at the beginning of the portfolio (optional)

Include an index to help anyone reading the document (contractors, administrators, customers, etc.) find their way around the information. If you intend to send the portfolio, instead of showing it live, the index becomes even more indispensable.

  • Leave to make the index after finishing the portfolio, but put it right at the beginning.
  • You do not need to list page numbers if you do not intend to list them in the portfolio. If you do, it's better to include everything.
Make a Portfolio Step 15

Step 3. Place your resume and your self-description at the beginning of the portfolio

It's a good idea to include a copy or two of your resume in your printed portfolio so that you don't run the risk of running out of the document when it comes to a possible interview. Then include your brief description so that people get an idea of ​​your experience and career goals. All of this puts things in context better.

The portfolio will look more professional if you include a photo next to your description. However, if you're a model and the document is already full of images, you don't need to do anything else

Make a Portfolio Step 16

Step 4. Put the best designs first

Start with the projects you most enjoy doing to give potential contractors a good impression right away. Then play around with the order a bit.

You might want to save the best projects for last, but you might end up losing customers before they read the entire portfolio. Try to make a good first impression

Make a Portfolio Step 17

Step 5. Place relevant awards and references at the end of the portfolio

The portfolio is meant to showcase a person's best work - which is why they come first. In addition, you can take the opportunity to show your relevant awards and certificates, ranging from three to five references.

Separate the portfolio parts into tabs and with dividers

Make a Portfolio Step 18

Step 6. Place all portfolio pages in a binder

Use a regular binder model, those black ones that have a plastic cover and metal claws, to give the portfolio a more professional look. You can also buy perforated plastic bags to protect any paper left inside.

With the bags, it is easier to add and remove pages from the portfolio whenever you want to change something

Make a Portfolio Step 19

Step 7. Ask a trusted friend or colleague for portfolio feedback

Ask a trusted colleague to take a look at the portfolio and point out mistakes that have gone unnoticed, and decide which is the best order for the projects.

Be honest about the level of feedback you want to receive. Getting compliments is nice, but it's not always just nice things to say


  • Update the portfolio from time to time with new projects.
  • You can purchase a domain to customize your website's email address. Choose something simple and short and that ends

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