I met a junior art director yesterday who had a portfolio with a very nice range of work. This is key when putting together your book. Essentially, if your book consists of photo + headline for most all your pieces you should rework it. Artistic range goes beyond that and shows you can create layouts with a varied amount of looks.
Sean Leonard is his name and he attended University of North Texas. When I complimented his range, he told me that at UNT students are not allowed to use stock photography in any of their work. Wow. Imagine that constraint. That's fantastic!
When you can't use stock photos you are forced to rethink how you will convey your idea visually. What Sean learned is essential. He learned to explore texture, line art, typography, hand writtten graphics, water color, as well as taking his own photos, all in the name of making him a better art director. Anyone can pick a photo and overlay a headline. Heck, I can do that.
Any junior art director needs to show they can think beyond a conventional photo and can execute a variety of graphical treatments on the computer. I appreciate that instructors at UNT teach this way, it really shows in their graduates work.