I have a really long way to go before thinking about this realistically because I'm in year 11 and I just really wanted to know what kind of things are required and what you actually do for each of these courses because we're starting Sixth Form applications and I have a very vague idea of where I want to be in life, and most of it probably won't happen anyway because I'm probably not good enough for what I would like to do...
Anyway, I'm rambling now, my basic questions were:
What do you put in a portfolio for Product Design/Photography/Animation?
What are these courses like for anyone doing any of them?
For a photography portfolio (I've not taught or studied photography, although I have worked as a photographer so take this advice with a pinch of salt) you can just create a selection of images that demonstrate knowledge of composition, lighting, colour, monochrome, photo retouching skills if you have any - show before and after, show shots that demonstrate your technical knowledge of your camera (low lighting, or working with flash tastefully or dealing with photos of very dark objects or very light objects, studio photography), but to go beyond that you should think about subject matter - what is the story in each shot? (unless you want to do product photography of course... although the best product photography tells a story too), do you see yourself as someone who does street photography or are there specific subjects you go and look for in the world - reportage, social issues, fashion, gigs, landscape, food, architecture, interiors, nudes, documentary etc make a series of images around those things that interest you.
you can show a variety of work but try not to make it too fine art heavy and show examples of things youve made/conceptualised