Portfolio Tips for your MA and BA Photography Application

Fri 1 Jan 2021

What's the best way to present a winning portfolio? Find out in this post by Anna-Maria Pfab, MA Photography Lecturer for Falmouth Flexible.

You have decided to apply for Falmouth Flexible’s MA Photography or BA Photography (Top Up) and are now preparing your application – putting together a portfolio can be a daunting task. Are you wondering how to best present all that hard work that you have been slogging over?

Below are some tips from Anna-Maria Pfab, lecturer and module leader on the MA Photography as well as founder and director of kiosk, a London-based boutique photography agency, to help you build your best portfolio.

Have your own style

Apart from showcasing technical aptitude, quality and sophistication, a portfolio is also a vehicle to convey a sense of your personality and your own visual style. Having your own visual identity is one of the most important things if you want to have a successful career in photography, so it’s a good idea to consider this right from the start.  

Don’t include similar images

A portfolio is a collection of your best work. Don’t include images that are too similar – it will make you look lazy. It’s okay to include photographs from the same shoot or project but make sure those image are different in enough ways. There should be a reason for every single image in your portfolio.

Edit, edit, edit

Your portfolio should include up to 12 (MA Photography) or 10 – 20 (BA Photography (Top Up) photographs (as per the guidelines). Showcase only the best of your images, not all your images. You don’t have to submit 12/20 images – keep things short and sweet and ensure that there you have put every image in your portfolio for a reason.

Put your best foot forward

Start your portfolio with a really strong image, which shows who you are and what your point of view is as a photographer. This will also be important to consider if you are ever creating a portfolio to show to editors and art buyers – if the first six shots they see aren’t interesting, then they won’t pay any attention to the rest.


Photo credit: Rehab Eldalil 

Stop making excuses

When looking at portfolios I often hear photographers saying ‘I couldn’t quite shoot this how I wanted’ or ‘I didn’t manage to print this quite right’ – don’t show any picture that you are not 100% happy with, show only your best work!

Do get another opinion

Photographers tend to get attached to their images – an image that you think might be absolutely great, may not really be that good. Get a second (or third or fourth) opinion, ideally from someone who is also a practitioner or in the photography industry.

After reading this, you will hopefully feel a little more confident about putting together your portfolio for your application to Falmouth University’s MA Photography (Online) or BA Photography (Top Up, Online).

Remember that the images will select  for your portfolio should demonstrate your technical abilities, and give the admissions team an idea of your practice specialisms and interest. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show the admissions team your own visual language and the subjects you might want to explore during the course. Good luck!

See also: 10 of the best photography competitions to enter.

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