These mistakes can give your portfolio an amateur look, even if your photos are astonishing.
Perhaps you haven’t even noticed doing these things and that’s exactly why it’s so important to check your portfolio once more. This is your once chance of convincing your clients that your work is professional and worth their money. Make sure your portfolio stands out!
Your portfolio needs paring down
Choosing which pieces to include in your portfolio can be a challenge. It’s easy to go the route of including way too much, perhaps optimistically thinking that a larger portfolio will provide a more nuanced look at your work.
But a seemingly endless horizontal scroll of images on your homepage isn’t doing your work any favours—too many images are overwhelming to navigate.
Choose only your absolute best pieces for your portfolio, and leave visitors wanting more, instead of feeling like they’ve seen all there is to see already.
Presenting work without explanation
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your work should just speak for itself—that people checking out your portfolio don’t care who the person in that photo is, or what magazine you did that illustration for, or who styled that shoot you modelled for.
Providing a bit of background about the projects you’re displaying online helps show off your work in the most authentic light. There’s no need for detailed backstories about your creative process, but a brief note explaining the context around your work gives it more weight and lets people know exactly what role you had in the project.
Your portfolio doesn’t work as a mobile site
When you’re designing your portfolio website, it can be easy to get excited about how great your images look blown up huge on your desktop computer screen. But does that layout look equally awesome on your smartphone? Think about how often you check out websites on your phone or tablet, and what you look for in that browsing experience. You might need to streamline certain aspects of your portfolio to make sure they translate well to a mobile browser.
Your portfolio is unclear
“As with any website, your desired result should be spelt out for visitors — clearly and confidently,“ Dryja explains. “It might help to think of your site as a brick-and-mortar location. If you saw your portfolio as a storefront, would you stop in and take a look around? It should be easy to see what you’re selling.”
There are many ways you can use your portfolio to clearly communicate what it is you do and, even more importantly, what you want to do. If you’re looking to get hired, it helps to state your availability clearly, including rates and services offered.
A separate page for this information ensures that it doesn’t distract from your creative work. If you’re aiming to sell work, especially anything displayed on your portfolio, think about how you can incorporate that into your portfolio, and note information like pricing and commission possibilities.
If you want to simply use your portfolio to maintain a professional web presence, linking to published work, awards, or features about you is a good idea.