How to create a winning portfolio for Photography

MA Documentary Photography Dragana

If you’re been invited to attend an interview for one of our Photography degrees, you will be asked to bring a portfolio. So what should you include?

Portfolio tips

Always bring photographic prints. These are useful to spread across the table to begin a dialogue about your work and your ideas - there’s no set size, but we like to see A4 or A3 if possible and around 19-21 prints is a perfect number. Be sure that your portfolio contains your very best work and the work that absolutely show us the kind of photographer you are and would like to be – perhaps get a second opinion on the edit of your portfolio to be sure.

Try and theme your portfolio around a number of ideas or projects so we can see how you have tried to develop these over a series of photographs.

It’s fine to include work in progress, as well as any work you do outside of school or college. Maybe you photograph a friend’s band, or have an interest that you express using photography… “This work is often as interesting as the more formal portfolio materials,” says Geraint Cunnick, Academic Manager for Photography.

Where possible, bring a workbook or journal that shows your ideas as they have developed and any supporting research that has influenced your decisions and directions. 

Interview tips

The interview is an ‘informal conversation that is designed to offer you the opportunity to discuss your work and your ideas and how one of our courses could help achieve these ambitions’, says Geraint Cunnick.

We’re always pleased when students have researched a little into our courses – finding out a little about our history, the tutors who teach onto them and our alumni. 

In the same way, we like students who bring something extra to interview.

For example: 

  • Have an interest in current affairs or the world around them.
  • Visit exhibitions locally or nationally. 
  • Enjoy reading about photography in books, magazines and online.

 

What to avoid

Don’t rely on one image per idea or topic – try and express your ideas through a series of Photographs.

Don’t come with a memory stick, a CD or, worst still, your phone expecting the interviewing staff to view your work this way. By all means bring a link to a good online website or Flickr gallery to showcase work outside of your portfolio and academic staff will view this at a later as additional support to the interview. Good luck!