An Online Portfolio: Your Professional Story
The ninth (and final) installment of I Went to Adobe Creative Camp at SXSW 2015… And all I brought back is a series of blog posts, the firsthand account of a first-time Adobe SXSW Creative Camp attendee.
Promoting Your Creative Work on the Web with Roxanne Schwartz
For those who don’t know, Behance is the leading platform for sharing and discovering creative work. The numbers on the left offer up the number one advantage of posting work on Behance… Exposure. More than 200 million page views each month of exposure.
Not only does Behance have free online portfolios, it’s also the bones of ProSite, a customizable website builder that enables people to use custom domain names and easily sync Behance projects to it. What a lot of people don’t know is that ProSite is included with a Creative Cloud subscription (and the integration makes it super easy to share work).
Roxanne, a community manager at Behance, has seen thousands of web portfolios. She knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to showcasing creative work online. She had some good ideas about how to think about this hugely important promotional tool.
Portfolios and profiles (words used interchangeably throughout this post) are always-on creative showcases. Make sure they represent you well when people stop to look:
- Let the work take center stage. Viewers spend only a few seconds looking through portfolios. Make sure yours is easy to scan and that the work is the center of attention. Cluttered portfolios are frequently over-compensating for mediocre work.
- Curate your best work. There’s truth to the saying: You’re only as good as your last project and your portfolio is only as good as your worst image. A few great images are better than a lot that are just okay. If there’s something you’re not proud of, leave it out.
- Use eye-catching images. People have very short attention spans so catch their eye and keep them interested. Make sure that images are large, clear, and consistently sized. And remember, this isn’t a client hand off, it’s a portfolio… Be selective. It’s not necessary to show everything.
- Share the backstory. Don’t be afraid to show process—from early sketches to finished work. People love knowing how and why things were done. Offer up details.
- Highlight things that give you an edge. Don’t be afraid to mention awards, accomplishments, or testimonials.
- Keep your portfolio fresh. This is a living, breathing document so resist the temptation to bulk it out with old or irrelevant work. The best portfolios are current portfolios.
- Keep in touch. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and easy to find. And add social accounts; email isn’t the only way to reach people.
- Tell a story about yourself. Stories are more interesting than a list of past jobs. Spend some time thinking about how to represent yourself and your work with words.
- Give credit where credit is due. Worked with a team? Don’t overstate your role and give credit to everyone who worked on the project with you. People appreciate being publicly acknowledged and giving credit where it’s due will ALWAYS make you look good.
- Get feedback. Make sure your portfolio is ready to share with the world. Other people’s impressions are extremely valuable; ask friends and colleagues for critiques.
- Share personal work alongside client work. It shows passion, commitment, and the ability to self-start.
- Make your profile part of your project process. Working on a project? Set aside some favorite images to include in your portfolio. Once the project ends, documenting the process will be a snap.
- Promote your work. Sharing isn’t bragging. Pick two or three social channels, connect them to your portfolio and share. Maintain an active presence, and respond to people when they comment.
- Follow people who inspire you. Be thoughtful about the people you follow; it’s not only daily inspiration but a great way to build the foundation of a creative network. And don’t forget to network in person at local events.
A final four. Questions to ask yourself about your online profile/portfolio:
- Can people easily find and view your work?
- Does it represent you well?
- Have you gotten feedback from friends/coworkers?
- Do you have a plan to review and edit it?
My Conclusion (Roxanne summed it up nicely for me):
Read the wrap-up of Session 8: The Art of Making (Great) Videos with Dave Werner