How to begin - creating your portfolio
How do you create a great portfolio especially if you are just starting out? Firstly, it takes time and effort.
If you are just starting out, you will need to collaborate with other professionals on test shoots. These shoots are unpaid for everyone involved and they are put together so all the creatives get what they want from the shoot to build or enhance their own portfolios. This can be to add work that perhaps they haven’t been able to do for paid work as they can set their own brief on the creation of the shoot from the looks to the finishing edits. Most professionals build their portfolios this way and even busy working professionals will still on occasion do tests to add to their portfolio to keep it current.
When you do paid work try and get copies of your work to use in your portfolio too, ideally this is what you want to make up the majority and all of your portfolio eventually!
Stills pictures make up the traditional portfolio but these aren’t always available if you work in TV and film so try and get clips for you to use in a show reel, this is a combination of different video of your work. These also add interest to your portfolio and website and its worth investing in someone who knows what they are doing creating these to make them look professional too.
What to include in your portfolio
This will depend on the clients you want to attract. Keep it full of fashion and creative work if this is the area you wish to work in however if its the bridal market you want then be more focused on these pictures. Consider having a whole or separate portfolio just for bridal work if you have enough pictures or make this the main feature of your portfolio
You can include all your work in all areas if you want to keep it varied but it’s a good idea to group images together so people can choose the areas of interest to them.
Your pictures need to portray your best work so be selective with what you choose. Look at images that make an impact and showcase your best ones. Tailor them towards your clients and potential employers so they highlight what you can do for them.
If you don't have enough pictures look to do test shoots to get the pictures would want as these allow you to decide on the looks you want to shoot.
Don't be too repetitive with your pictures, you only need 2-3 of each look before it becomes too repetitive and looks like you're just filling it up. If you need more images you may need to create them!
Keep it up to date
Your portfolio is your shop window so it's important to keep it looking fresh and up to date and make sure it showcases your skills.
Keep current work in your portfolio and refresh it regularly. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include your older work but if your skills and techniques have improved then this should be reflected in the quality of your pictures in your portfolio.
Your portfolio will need constant updating to keep it relevant and current. Styles change and trends come and go so make sure to keep this in mind. Mix it up a bit too so change the order of the pictures to keep it looking new. This also encourages people who have looked at it before to come back and look again!
Only use your own work
Simple as this sounds sadly people do use other artists work and claim it as their own, this is an absolute no no on both on legal and moral grounds and be assured you will get found out! If you admire someone's work and want something similar in your own portfolio then seek to be inspired but use this for ideas and inspiration, don't just copy it either. You need to stand out with your individuality and creativity not someone else's!
Also if you are ever asked to recreate something you have claimed as your own the chances are if you have ‘borrowed’ it for your book you can’t do it yourself so you will become very unstuck especially if this happens on a job.
Simplify your book
Make it easy to navigate your work if it's on your website so people can go straight to their area of interest and find what they are looking for straight away.
Don't overcomplicate your website with your portfolio work, make sure it's easy to view and loads online quickly so people don't turn off before they have a chance to view it.
Be careful to not have too much work in it as people will get bored and stop looking and this could be right before they find what they have been looking for. Keep each set of pictures to a minimum if you have a lot of work to show, maybe 2-3 of each different style and look.
Print or online
This will depend on what area of make-up you desire to work in but mostly your portfolio should be available on a website, this way it gets to be viewed by more people and it's easier and generally less expensive to update it this way. It’s also a great idea to showcase your work on social media too, Instagram is particularly great for getting your work seen by a huge audience.
Some people will like to view a traditional book but this is less called for now but bear it in mind that you could be asked for one.
Show your skills- show what you are good at!
Showcase the work you are proudest of and feel really shows your best work and skills.
If there are areas of hair and make-up you are not so strong at or your skills don't match, then don't try and put these into your portfolio until you can produce them perfectly so practice practice practice if you have a look and style you want to show but need to perfect.