WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS SERIES

This is an introduction to our new series called “The Path To Portfolio” where we give you advice based on our own experiences while trying to get our portfolios ready for interviewing. Through this series, we will tell you things that you need to know before you even start your portfolio; things that we wish we were told beforehand to make the process easier for us. Our goal for “The Path To Portfolio” is that once we have finished the series, anyone starting off in architecture school can use it as a first-hand guide that will make their portfolio experience a lot easier. We hope this series also brings a wave of confidence over anyone who is skeptical about starting their portfolio.

 

WHAT IS AN ARCHITECTURAL PORTFOLIO?

In terms of architecture school, an architectural portfolio is a set of selected work chosen from a period of time (undergraduate school/graduate school/both) that shows off the skill sets and strengths of the student. A portfolio shows your progress from your beginner studios to your later, more advanced studios so that someone can see how well you have improved your understanding of the architectural field. You may also choose to only show the work that you feel is most exceptional.

 

WHY IS A PORTFOLIO SO IMPORTANT?

The two reasons you’ll most likely need your architectural portfolio:

  1. to get accepted into graduate school
  2. to get a job in an architectural firm

[For a portfolio that is being used to get into graduate school, I would recommend showing all of your work from your first year studios to your final year studios while showing a lot of process work. Whoever is considering you for graduate school needs to understand your thought process and will decide if your portfolio makes the cut to move you onto grad school.]

[For a portfolio that is being used to get hired by a firm, I would recommend showing only your best work.  Firms do not have time to go page by page while viewing your portfolio usually because they have a whole batch of portfolios to get through.  This is the time when you want to catch their attention right away, and having all of your best work together will really make a statement about your skill sets and personal strengths.]

Your portfolio is the most important product that you will get out of your architectural studios. It is basically a summary of all your blood, sweat, and tears from day one to graduation. It is so important for your portfolio to be the absolute best quality you can make it because the finished product is your one way ticket to accomplishing your future goals whether it be to get licensed, start your own firm, etc. Your portfolio will get you through that threshold that is dividing graduation from making money. Don’t expect to get accepted into grad school are to get hired without having a well thought out and well constructed portfolio.

 

DOCUMENTING YOUR WORK

I was almost done with my last semester of undergraduate classes. I began organizing my four years of work into digital folders that I could easily go back to and place onto pages for my portfolio. As I started going through my first year studio pictures, I kept thinking to myself, “What was I thinking when I thought this angle would be okay,” and, “I could have sworn I knew how to use a camera correctly at this point in time,” and, “WHY ARE ALL OF MY PICTURES BLURRY!!!”

 

The point is that the documentation that I made of my work in my first year studios were a far reach from what I needed them to be for my portfolio. A lot of photo editing, cropping, and tweaking needed to happen before my earlier work was ready to put in my portfolio. The problem is, no matter how good we think we are at something, as we practice and slowly get better at it, we create a gap in quality that we do not realize has occurred until we compare the beginning quality of work to current quality of work. We want to help you close this gap so that you can show your best quality work possible to get into graduate school or hired at a firm.

 

TOPICS WE WILL DISCUSS

Here is a list of blog posts that we will provide for you in the future to help you make your portfolio the best it can be:

 

– Resources And Supplies Needed To Document Your Work

– what type of things you need to successfully complete your portfolio

– where you can find these things

– recommendations and advice

 

– Understanding Your Camera And Using It To Its Full Potential

– manual mode

– lenses

– lighting techniques

– handling your camera in different environments

– photo composition

– how to take photos that speak for themselves

 

-Setting Up Your Portfolio

– which computer programs to use

– why page size matters (understanding benefits of different page sizes)

– creating a template and overall theme

– portfolio spread composition

– what should a full portfolio include?

 

Throughout the next few months, we will take these topics one at a time and get into tedious detail to show you why each of them is so important. Remember, quality is everything when it comes to presentation, and your portfolio doesn’t deserve any less!