Building a Bitchin’ Portfolio

By on June 20, 2014
Freelance Portfolio

Having a great portfolio is crucial for being a creative professional. You portfolio is how your clients see you, your talent, and your quality of work. It’s the biggest first impression you make. It can make your career as a creative, or it can prevent you from ever getting quality clients. Now that I’ve built up the pressure, here’s how you make an online portfolio that really stands out:

What every great online portfolio should have

Whether you’re a web designer, musician, graphic designer, mural painter, or any other type of creative, your online portfolio should have the following elements:

Visual Representation

Depending on your type of work, you will need a great visual representation of work, especially if your work is a visual medium such as photography, front end web design, or poetry. Even if you are a non-visual creative such as a musician, backend web developer or a poet, your portfolio should have an aesthetic appeal and look pleasing to the eye.

Brief Case Studies

Every portfolio item should have a short case study that includes a client brief (a description of what the client wants), the process of how you solved their problem or completed their request, and how it helped your client. While every craigslist freelancer in the world is just listing off types of languages he can code in or what programs she’s capable in, you can really stand out by letting your services benefit your client.

Regular Updates

Your online portfolio is a living, breathing asset. Unlike with physical books, you have the option to constantly change and improve your portfolio. The frequency of how often you should update or edit is different for everyone. It should reflect your level of work and creativity, so often times, self-reflection can let you know when it’s time to show new work. I personally change my web design portfolio every 2-3 months and change my physical photography portfolio about once a year.

Access to Contact Information

The whole point of showing a great portfolio to the world if to hopefully get some more clients from it. On your portfolio, make it blatantly clear how someone can get in touch with you. As a bonus you can also link to client testimonials and a list of the services your offer.

Putting Together your Portfolio

If you’re a photographer, read this amazing article on editing a photography portfolio by Zack Arias. Otherwise, continue reading. Firstly, this is going do be a creatively draining process, so make sure all your client projects and personal affairs are taken care of prior to starting.  Give this portfolio project about a week for completion.

Gather all your work

Hopefully, you have all your previous work accessible. Take all of the work you like, and copy it into a new folder on your computer or on the cloud (I like Google Drive and Copy). Put in everything you think is good. If you’re just starting out, put in what you have and focus on making more portfolio-worthy work. After you’ve gotten this part done, its time to take a short break or get sloppy drunk. Either/or.

Narrow it down

As you look through your work, you’ll first cringe at how bad you were starting out, and then you’ll notice that a big majority of your work tends to lean to a certain vision or style. Even if you’re now, you probably have a certain style you like or want to emulate.

Find the Order of things

Put it online

Self-hosted website




Adam Rasheed

About Adam Rasheed

Adam is a Web designer and professional photographer based in Corona, CA. He loves drinking chai and watching British comedies.