Portfolios = First impressions ....so don't f*ck it up

There was probably time in your life, when a parent, mentor, classmate, or prospective employer asked you if you had a resume. You stumbled on “Yes,” ran home, and spent the next three hours frantically putting something together and praying to the Spellcheck Gods that you caught all of the typos. Well, now here we are, internet strangers, asking you if you have a Portfolio. Because if you work in a multimedia field, a visual field, a communication field - you better.

You should spend time on this, you should be thoughtful, and you should use this as an opportunity to impress companies, colleagues, and community members (impressing and making solid connections will jump start and maintain your career), and your parents.

I’m sure you’re ready for me to be done talking now, so let’s get to the point, what do you need to know to create a fun, modern portfolio:  

  1. Find a platform you like to build with, that fits your skill set, and that you have time for. Once upon a time, I was ambitious enough to think I could build mine from scratch, but I didn’t have the time or skillset to do that (and nobody is hiring me for my coding skills). If you do have the skillset and time to manage that - great! Buy your domain name, find a way to host that suits our needs, and get building. If you’re as computer-savvy as I am, there are options. Wordpress, Squarespace, and Wix are all low-cost and can meet your needs as a visual communicator. If you have a budget, consider a local company who specializes in web portfolio design. Droi Media uses Squarespace, and we’ve been happy with the options, functionality, and cost. One of the perks for us, as a small business, was that it’s been good enough on an incredibly small financial and time budget. However, it would be fairly simple to re-create if we wanted to fancy up our options.

  2. Have some taste! It should be simple and modern, and for the love of internet god, keep up with current trends. Grays, black, white, and small pops of color are the going schemes right now with images and videos laid out in symmetrical boxes. There are variations on this trend, with maybe some header images, featured videos, and branding. I love the current trends - it highlights people’s work in the best kinds of way. You don’t need cats riding unicorns spraying rainbows to get hired (although that is kind of cool…), your client wants to know you do good work AND they want to be able to find that work! It’s incredibly satisfying when you meet with a client and they can just say, I went to your website, I saw -insert video name-, and I want that style. Droi Media has been involved in meetings with clients where this exact thing happened. We always want to create a custom experience for each one, but it helps to have a starting point and a better understanding of what’s going on in their head.

  3. Showcase the diversity of your talents. And if you’re missing something, make it happen. I assist Droi Media in selecting what’s going to make it to our main portfolio site. As a video production company we can’t possibly lay everything out on our website, it would be overwhelming and a pain to maintain, so we also have a Youtube channel. We select videos that reflect different concepts, story ideas, video shots, and editing tricks. We have videos with cute animals, because we all need that in our life, but visuals that reflect different emotions: funny, serious, energetic, dramatic, etc. Be thoughtful and careful about what you select (and think about the types of clients you want to have). We do a quarterly review of our portfolio, and we think about what’s missing. Several of our in-house projects have come from that review (like our food and beer spec videos). We want to make more food and beer videos - so we made it happen - and we hope to win over some clients through those.

  4. If you really want to be doing something, make sure your portfolio reflects that. Above, I went on about showcasing diversity, and that IS important. However, maybe you want to make videos or take photos in the skateboarding industry. Then it’s great to have a bunch of skateboarding videos...I mean…you really should. But same-subject videos still need to reflect your talents. They still need to offer different types of shots, lighting, set-up, editing, etc. to show your clients that you know what you’re doing, and you can offer them more than your competition. Droi Media is about doing videos for anyone who wants video, so we hope our portfolio says that.

  5. Update, update UPDATE! Please, please, please do not have a website that looks like it was made in 1992 (even ironically) or has outdated material on it. I promise you, your friends and colleagues giggle about it behind your back. Droi Media tries to do a quarterly sit-down and review. Put it on your calendar, do it, keep those clients coming in.

Recently, we asked our social media friends to send in examples of their portfolios, and they did. Awesome! I wanted to end on a high note, focusing on the awesome portfolios and work our industry friends are doing. If you need to revamp or create your portfolio, start here for some inspiration!