Don’t pad it out for the sake of length
Pretty much all the stuff I look at is online. Don’t provide a list of links. Send one link with a montage or showreel of your work. If you have designs or illustrations, they should be obvious on the screen and simple to navigate. I am stupid. Most people can’t make it through the best stuff on the web without occasionally skipping bits, so they’re not going to watch your showreel from start to finish if it’s too long.
Keep it short. People always remember the worst thing on your showreel; so don’t pad it out for the sake of length. No showreel should be longer than three minutes. If people like it, they’ll check out your other stuff, just don’t present all that other stuff straight off the bat.
– Grant Orchard, Filmmaker, Studio AKA
Make it relevant to the recipient
Less is so much more. I want there to be a real reason for every image, and only want to see the pictures you enjoyed making. If you show work you’re very proud of, it leads to being commissioned for more of the same. If you don’t love it, I am unlikely to as well. And before you reach out to people, it’s important to research whether your work is relevant for that particular publication. Do you enjoy what they are already doing? I also love receiving personal emails and newsletters from photographers; this quickly updates me on their newest work, shows they are out there taking pictures and that they have faith in what they are producing.
– Holly Hay, Photography Director, Wallpaper*
Keep it simple
Keep it simple, and be honest – don’t put shit in you didn’t do. I’ve had recent graduates put the cover of Wallpaper* magazine in their folio, when the truth is, they had a four-week internship there. This is truly puzzling and very transparent. Some of the best designer portfolios I’ve seen (physical or online) are well edited, not too slick and honest about the role they played in the project. When I look at a portfolio, I’m not looking for a superstar (that’s me, and I don’t need another one), I’m looking for someone with ability and an eye.
– David McKendrick, Art Director and Graphic Designer, B.A.M.