Actor’s Portfolio: What To Include, What To Avoid

As an actor, you know that your portfolio is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. It can mean the difference between landing a job and being passed over. But knowing what to include in your portfolio and what you should avoid makes a massive difference in getting you your dream role.

This blog post will give you tips on what to include – and what to leave out. So read on, actor – your portfolio is about to improve!

Actor’s Portfolio: What to Include, What to Avoid

Your portfolio is your calling card. You’ll use it to introduce yourself to casting directors, producers, and other industry professionals. So what should you include in your portfolio? And what should you avoid?

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to submitting a solid case!

Actor’s Portfolio – What to Include

Here’s what you should keep in mind to include in your portfolio:

  1. Show Your Past Experience

First and foremost, your portfolio should showcase your range. Include a variety of roles you’ve played, from Shakespearean lead to techie sidekick. If you’ve only ever played the lead in romantic comedies, the director might not think you’re capable of much else. So mix it up! 

Not only will this show off your versatility, but it will also demonstrate your ability to take on different characters. 

  1. Include Your Best Work

When choosing which roles to include in your portfolio, be selective and choose only your best work. Remember, this is meant to showcase your talent, so don’t include any roles you’re not proud of or didn’t do well in. 

Choose roles that stretch you as an actor and show off your range and abilities.

  1. Get Better & Updated Pictures

Make sure to include a headshot that reflects your current look. Casting directors need to see what you look like now, not what you looked like ten years ago. 

In addition to your headshot, you should include a few additional photos that showcase your range as an actor with different looks, hairstyles, and makeup choices. These can be headshots, publicity photos, or even just snapshots from past productions.

  1. Add an Eye-catching Reel

One important thing to include in your portfolio is a reel. A reel is a compilation of your best work, giving casting directors a chance to see you in action. When choosing clips for your reel, select scenes that showcase your range and demonstrate your ability to play different roles. 

Also, keep your reel short and sweet – no one wants to watch a ten-minute clip! By including an eye-catching reel in your portfolio, you can grab the attention of casting directors and land the role you’ve always wanted.

  1. Add Testimonials from Professionals 

An important thing to include in your actor’s portfolio is reviews and testimonials. Your portfolio is your chance to show off what others have had to say about your work. 

Director’s reviews are great but don’t forget to include any reviews or testimonials from past directors, producers, or even just fellow actors. These can be from anyone who has seen you perform or work behind the scenes. They can attest to your professionalism, talent, and dedication to your craft. 

So make sure to include them in your portfolio! It will give you a leg up on the competition.

  1. Get Feedback from Others

Before you finalize your portfolio, getting feedback from others – preferably someone with experience in the industry (like an agent or manager) is always a good idea. Ask them if there’s anything else they would like to see included or anything they think should be left out.

Actor’s Portfolio – What to Avoid

Creating a sloppy portfolio in haste or ignorance can prove to be disastrous and draw curtains on your favorite roles. Here are certain things to avoid in your portfolio if you want to make a good impression.

  1. Using Low-Quality Images

Don’t use low-quality or outdated photos. These will only hurt your chances of being considered for roles. Never use any images that might make you look unprofessional. This includes party photos, club photos, and anything else that shows you in a less-than-flattering light. 

Remember: you’re trying to sell yourself as a professional actor, so only include images that reflect that image.

  1. Unprofessional Tone & Comments 

Avoid including any negative or unprofessional comments. This is not the place to vent about a difficult director or co-star. 

Keep it positive, keep it professional, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.

  1. Stuffing Too Much Information

An actor’s portfolio is like a business card. It should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Unfortunately, some actors make the mistake of cramming too much information into their portfolios. Not only does this make the portfolio look cluttered, but it can also be overwhelming for casting directors. 

They want to be able to quickly scan your portfolio and know more about you as an actor. So avoid cramming too much information into your portfolio. 

Keep it clean, simple, and easy to read.

  1. Using Old or Unmatched Photos

Don’t use a headshot that’s more than a year old. The industry moves quickly, and you want your headshot to reflect your current look. If you’ve had a significant change (haircut, color, etc.), update your headshot accordingly.

Similarly, don’t include photos that don’t look like you. Your portfolio should be full of images that look like you – not like someone else. Stick to natural light and simple wardrobe/makeup to show what you really look like.

  1. Overlooking Grammar & Typos

One of the most common mistakes actors make is submitting a CV or resume full of typos and grammatical errors. This sends the message that you are careless or sloppy, and it will reflect poorly on your skills as an actor. 

Proofreading your CV or resume is a simple task that can make a big difference in how casting directors perceive you. 

Take the time to review your materials carefully before sending them out to make a good impression.


So there you have it, actor! These are the dos and don’ts of what to include in your portfolio. The key is to put your best foot forward and show off your range as an actor through smart choices in the things you have in your portfolio. 

Avoid materials that would immediately turn off a casting director or prospective employer, like poor-quality headshots or an unprofessional resume. 

With the tips mentioned in this blog, you will be well on your way to putting together a winning portfolio that will help you get the roles you want.