what is portfolio

Portfolio literally means “a case for carrying loose papers,” (from Latin, the imperative of portare “to carry” and the plural of folium, meaning a ‘a sheet for writing upon’).

The noun PORTFOLIO has 4 senses:
1. a large, flat, thin case for carrying loose papers or drawings or maps; usually leather
2. a set of pieces of creative work collected to be shown to potential customers or employers
3. a list of the financial assets held by an individual or a bank or other financial institution
4. the role of the head of a government department

Portfolio Types

Artist’s portfolio

An artist’s portfolio is an edited collection of artwork intended to showcase an artist’s style or method of work. Many people can use portfolios. Freelancers, writers, photographers, models and graphic designers are just a few examples of people who use them. Typically, the work reflects an artists best work or a depth in one area of work.

Historically, Portfolios were printed out and placed into a book. With the increased use of the internet and email however, there are now websites that host online portfolios. The online portfolio is easier to access, easier and faster to deliver, and is preferred by employers. The online portfolio is also available to a wider audience.

When creating a portfolio, it is vital to consider your audience. You must consider who will see it, why they are looking at it, and what you are trying to accomplish with it.

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Photography portfolios can focus on a single subject. It can be a collection of photographs that were taken with a certain type of camera, in one geographic area, of one person or a group of people, only black & white or sepia photos, a special event etc.
The online portfolio is another way to display your portfolio. The online portfolio is available to a wider audience.


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A lookbook is a collection of photographs compiled to show off a model, a photographer, a style, or a clothing line. It is an especially popular term with “fashion bloggers”. Lookbooks in their online form can be described as “fashion diaries” because bloggers are constantly updating them on a daily or weekly basis.

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Graphic Designer Portfolio

Fifty years ago, the graphic designer’s portfolio was usually a black book or large binder in which samples of the artist’s best printed pieces were carried to show prospective clients or employers. The online portfolio is the most common way to display your work. The online portfolio sites are easy to use, cheap and reliable.

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Source: wikipedia.org