How to make a portfolio

Create a stand-out portfolio in 7 simple steps

A physical portfolio is a vital part of your personal marketing. It should be attention-grabbing and aesthetically pleasing while also a relevant demonstration of your abilities and skills. Portfolios are suitable for a variety of industries; for creatives, photographers, artists, graphic designers, interior stylists and more. If you’re wondering whether a portfolio is right for you, ask yourself this simple question: am I regularly prospecting for new clients or contracts? If the answer is yes, regardless of the who and why, then a portfolio is likely just what you need. Discover our helpful guide on how to make a portfolio with a MILK Photo Book or Album.

Open fashion look book

But first, why should I create a portfolio?

Portfolios enable you to put your best foot forward professionally. An eye-catching portfolio will capture attention and has the potential to kickstart your career. Nowadays, a lot of creatives build digital, online portfolios but there’s still nothing quite like the tangible asset. Physical portfolios are a great on-hand resource to show to potential clients and can help to elevate yourself during in-person interviews. You can print custom portfolios for specific pitches or comprehensive portfolios to showcase your body of work. Portfolios are also great for your own personal use. Print regularly to create an archive of past work that will be protected in a format that will last for generations.

MILK Photo Books and Albums are perfect for your portfolio needs. Our Premium Photo Books, Premium Photo Albums and Moleskine Photo Books lay-flat or near flat. This means that your work can be showcased across an entire double-page spread. This produces striking visuals that maximize impact on the page.

How to make a portfolio with MILK

Your portfolio will be your visual calling-card; it should be an expression of your personal style. Our designer layouts and beautiful materials will help you make a portfolio that's entirely you. Here's our 7 step guide on how to make a portfolio.

1. Take inspiration from others.

Find portfolios from professionals in your industry and let them inspire the structure of your portfolio. See how others make their portfolio unique and the choices they make in terms of layout and tone. Your work may speak for itself but it's important to make sure it's loud enough to be heard. A strong layout and structure will do wonders for amplifying your work. Here's a list of a few creatives that have created beautiful portfolios with us. Let them springboard your project.

Interior design: The Design Paddock

Architecture: North Perth House

Professional photography: Kate Elise Photography

Fashion look book: Branch and Bloom

Artwork: Eden & the Universe by Sarah Gabriel

2. Communicate your personal brand.

Who are you? What kind of work have you done? What kind of work do you want to do? Let the answers to these questions be the driving force of your portfolio. Think of the passion projects that really express your style and let them take pride of place in your portfolio. While emphasis should be put on showcasing past projects, who you are creatively should underpin the entire portfolio.

Birds eye view of photo books

3. Be thoughtful about the work you include.

You don’t have to include everything. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your portfolio should be a highlight reel of your best work and the work you're most proud of. Include the work that best aligns with the kind of jobs you want to be involved with in the future. Spotlight the pieces that reflect your style and always lead with best.

4. Show variety.

Show the diversity of your work. Do not pigeonhole yourself; instead represent your work as a whole. It’s also helpful to show work from start to finish. Invite them to see the whole process from inception to sketches, renderings and then the final output. This will give insight into your workflow and method, showcasing a whole other set of skills.

5. Give context.

While the main focus should be on visual storytelling, we recommend adding helpful context with captions. Our easy-to-use text tool allows you to add the project briefs and details to the page. It’s also a good opportunity for you to mention any awards/accolades your work may have garnered, if applicable. This will help paint an entire picture for those perusing your portfolio.

Birds eye view of open moleskine notebooks

6. Use simple layouts.

For the design-savvy, you can create your own layouts on Photoshop/InDesign and then upload them into our Design Studio (learn more about custom layouts in our Knowledge Base). However, the MILK templates are more than fit for aesthetic purpose. Our designers have created 1000s of beautiful templates so that everyone can easily put together a memento that feels professionally designed. All you need to do is drag and drop your images into the page.

7. Invest in a high-quality format.

Make your project stand out with a beautiful handcrafted, archival quality portfolio. Our Premium Photo Books and Albums are printed in beautiful 6-color on to archival papers. This process is the best in digital printing and will withstand the test of time. Crafted using traditional techniques with hardcovers wrapped in luxurious fabrics, your portfolio will wow before you open the first page. Our Moleskine Photo Books are similarly crafted using high quality materials and inks but are set a part by their signature black hardcover with rounded corners. This format is especially popular for creative portfolios. Whichever format you choose, every project printed with MILK comes with a free digital version, meaning you can share your online copy with ease via social media or email.

When meeting with a prospective client, nothing beats flipping through the pages of a well-made portfolio. Curate and collect your work into a portfolio you can be proud to share. Present a portfolio that communicates who you are and what skills and talents you have to offer. And don't forget to follow our guide to make sure your portfolio is pitch perfect.

Discover customer portfolios we love

Open Moleskine Photo Book

Designer Architect Portfolio

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Open photo book showing rolling hills and newlywed couple

Event Venue Portfolio

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Open photo book showing product imagery

Product Photography Portfolio

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Ready to start creating your portfolio?


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