University of Oregon

Student Services Hub (PODS)


The portfolio presents artifacts that document your skills and experience as well as your future direction. The presentation of your work should be thoughtfully organized and demonstrate strong attention to detail, thoughtful and clear navigation, and include both finished work as well as idea generation and concept sketches. For students in the visual fields, including work outside your primary area can expand your demonstration of design capacity. For example, architecture students might include a page of fine arts; digital design students might include furniture – remembering that your goal is to describe your basic design skills.

PODS advisors are available to coach students in one-one-one meetings to help them develop a plan for designing and producing their portfolio, both print and digital. Students can schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor. For students who would prefer learning about this information in a more structured environment, PODS offers portfolio related workshops.


Mini-mailer – Typically this is a selection of work designed to provide a snapshot of your skills and experience. This is sent along with the resume and cover letter or may be used as a "leave behind." It may include an abbreviated resume or be a stand-alone. Its purpose is to provoke a positive response and generate contact or other communication. This can be a simple collection of work samples or a carefully designed presentation.


portfolioBook – This hard-copy portfolio should include samples of your work that communicate your skills in design, software proficiency, and concept development. It should include specific projects related to your field. You are encouraged to include unique abilities such as hand rendering, calligraphy, or other skills related to your discipline. The book can be a simple portfolio organized by category or a designed presentation. The organization and selection of work should reflect your ability to communicate, attend to details, and organize information.


digital portfolioOn-line – In some disciplines, the ePortfolio or on-line delivery is the primary mode to showcase work. In other disciplines, an ePortfolio is rapidly becoming an efficient mechanism to distribute your work. Again, your design and organization choices are crucial to success.


career portfolioCareer portfolios For students in disciplines such as art history, arts administration, planning, public policy & management, and historic preservation, portfolios can document achievements and skills with work samples such as research papers, event brochures, and samples from your activities in the field. In some cases, the inclusion of arts-related work is appropriate.


  • Self-assessment – understanding unique skills & qualities
  • Identifying general career direction

Initial Phase:

  • Clarifying purpose of portfolio
  • Selecting work to include
  • Choosing presentation format
  • Assessing technical skills for digital manipulation

Production Phase:

  • Organizing, updating, digitizing work
  • Layout & design issues
  • Assembly and/or construction

Presentation Phase:

  • Strategies for distribution
  • Interviewing skills
  • Updating & maintenance

Artist Portfolio Guidelines

This article feature ideas on how to create a successful artist portfolio and how to present your portfolio to galleries or to anyone. The information is useful to anyone in working in fine art or commercial art. It will help all photographers, painters and other artists that might one day have to create an artist portfolio or present their artworks to a gallery.

The Non-Design's Design Book

There is a little book by the name of The Non-Designer’s Design Book, By Robin Williams (not the comedian!) . It is a small book that recommended by one of the bigwigs at Wieden + Kennedy at a PODS portfolio review. All the little mistakes became very clear.

Reproducing Artwork

  • Photographing Artwork Guidelines (PDF) This document provides general guidelines to consider when digitizing artwork.
  • Photographing 2D Artwork Tutorial (PDF) This document is from PhotoFlex Lighting School a manufacturer of photo lighting kits. This document is shows a basic lighting setup and provides general guidelines to consider when photographing 2D artwork with lights.
  • Understanding White Balance (PDF) White balance is one of the most important elements of digital photography and a solid understanding can help insure good photographic reproduction, especially with color critical situations like photographing artwork.
  • Professional Quality IMAGES (PDF) This document provides Fine Arts industry standards for preparing quality images.
  • Working with DIGITAL formats (PDF) Fine Art Industry Guidelines for preparing digital images.

DIY Photography Lighting

  • Homemade Light Box for Product Photography (PDF) The object of product photography is to show details of an object clearly. Lighting an object well brings out details and provides pleasing highlights. One method for uniformly lighting small objects is to surround the object in a light box. The following article describes the process for making your own lightbox for small object photography. From start to finish this project should take no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Homemade Diffusion Panel Instructions (PDF) A diffusion panel is a translucent material that filters harsh light from a hard source to create soft and even illumination. It is used to soften the effect of strobes, studio lights or sunlight so that light falling onto your subject becomes smooth and soft, gently wrapping around the contours of a person’s face instead of creating harsh shadows.
  • Foam Core Homemade SoftBox (PDF) A softbox is a type of photographic lighting device, one of a number of photographic soft light devices. All the various soft light types create soft diffused light by directing light through some diffusing material. This document will help you construct a softbox of your own.

Digital Image Editing

Seldom is an image ready to use after capturing without some sort of post production. The following resources explain three of the top Photoshop tools and filters I recommend for use on every image in a portfolio.

  • Lens Correction (HTML) When photographing artwork regardless of how careful we are in aligning the camera plane with the picture plane there is often some level of lens or perspective distortion in an image. The Lens Correction filter in Photoshop is a great tool for correcting these distortions.
  • Levels (HTML) This website provides an introductory explanation of the use of the Levels tool in Photoshop. Levels is one of the methods preferred by professional photographers for modifying image contrast, brightness, and color balance.
  • Sharpening For Print (PDF) When your are preparing an image for print you are setting it to a resolution that is much higher than your screen's resolution. This has an impact on how an image looks on screen compared to how it looks when it is printed. This document helps you prepare an image for print by calculating the best possible sharpening values for the printed version.

Binding and Enclosure Resources

  • Binding Types (PDF) This document provides examples of different binding options.
  • Enclosure and Binding Resource List (PDF) This document contains lists of online and local resources for purchasing pre-made portfolio enclosures, materials for hand-made bindings and book binding services.
  • Album Binding (PDF) This document provides instructions on making an album binding using davey board, bookbinders cloth, and post and screw hinge
  • Accordion Fold Binding (PDF) This document provides basic instructions for constructing an accordion fold book.
  • Japanese Stab Binding (PDF) This document provides basic instructions for constructing a japanese stab binding.








History of Art and Architecture

Landscape Architecture



Planning, Public Policy, & Management

Arts & Administration

Digital Arts

Historic Preservation

Interior Architecture

Product Design