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Portfolio Review: What Agency Clients Are Looking For Part 2


We asked questions. We got (more) answers.

Photo: Claudia Hershner

Photo: Claudia Hershner


The American Advertising Federation and Ad2 held a portfolio review night with representatives from agencies like LPK, Landor, Creative Circle, and Northlich. I introduced as many people as possible to the the Tether Sourcebook and the Tether Directory on behalf of all the great talent in the #TetherCincy fam, and gleaned a few key learnings about what agency clients are looking for.


Miss Part 1? Read it here



You need to have an online portfolio—it’s 2018, get on it! But there are a few specific things agency clients like to see when they’re looking at your work.


Clients want to know what YOU did, versus what someone else did. Did you take the photos and build/design the set? Say that. Were you responsible for the creative direction and the prop styling? Make it plain. They want to understand your skill set.

Give Some Background Info.

Provide a little bit of background about your process. Talk about your intentions and inspiration, how you interpreted the creative brief, and how you work with different people on set. It doesn’t have to be an essay, but you should be able to provide some context and speak and write clearly about your skills.

Tip: Add sub-sections to your portfolio for different categories. For instance, you could have a hair styling section, a makeup section, and a men’s grooming section. This makes it easy for producers and creative directors to find exactly who they’re looking for to fill the gaps.




Know Your Gang.

Sometimes clients will choose to work with pairs or groups of image-makers who they know work well together. The more people you know you work well with, the better—it always helps to have options. This means you have to meet new people (that’s what events are for!) and if you like them, test with them.

Photo: Joe Walsh

Photo: Joe Walsh


Find Your Work Style Twin.

Sometimes clients will find someone whose work is the right style, but they’re unavailable or unaffordable. In that case, they’ll search for a “lookalike”—someone whose work is similar.

It’s a good idea to know who your style is similar to so clients can make a clear comparison, like when tech startups say their app is “like Uber for water bottles.” Just add it to your About page and say you’re “inspired by ___.”

Be thorough and detailed.

One client was choosing between two stylists and went with the one who brought fabric swatches and inspiration images to the interview. If you can provide samples, scouting shots, a list of potential resources, or something that shows you’ve thought about how you’d do the job, you have a much better chance of getting hired.

Photo: Joe Walsh

Photo: Joe Walsh


Was this helpful? Do you have questions or any input to share? Leave a comment!

If you missed Part 1, don't forget to check it out here. We covered the types of work agency clients look for, and what should be represented in your portfolio.


Want to know about future opportunities like the Portfolio Review? Here’s what to do: