EG: The standard is a website plus an IG presence. BUT. If your work really can benefit from some non standard presentation, then by all means.
For in person meetings, almost everyone has a portfolio (of varying price points) or a tidy digital presentation (ie iPad). It doesn’t need to be a custom $400 portfolio either! As long as you show that your photos are technically sound and you’re capable of building cohesive bodies of work, no one really cares if the portfolio itself cost $50 or $500. Also, I know several photographers that would come to meetings with a box of prints. If that feels better for your work, then go for it. But please remember if your presentation is too kooky, then you’re taking attention away from your photos. For reference, this is my current portfolio.
For online presence, a website is essentially a must. I’ve seen people get hired from tumblr pages and other alternative forms, but that was before website got really easy to construct. The current version is people with only an IG presence and no website. The people that can pull that off are prolific and very talented. They are the exception to the rules.
Another quick note about websites. Display your best work only. I think most people would rather see only 5 great images than 5 great images among 20 mediocre ones. This is painfully common. No one wants to see some e-comm photos of bags just because you think it shows you’re a “commercial photographer!”
JS: Short answer: YES. A dedicated website to display your photography the way that you want to is crucial. Additionally, this space on the web will be what people in hiring positions use to reference your work. Pre-Pandemic, I would have highlighted the value of a physical portfolio but since we’re still living in amidst Covid, I don’t think it is necessary because in-person meetings are not taking place. Another approach would be to make a PDF portfolio that could be shared directly with an editor or art buyer.
CC: I think you need a website because it’s a different way to experience and present your work than IG and likely the best format for your work to be seen (thinking of landscape images across three carousel posts on IG). The way you design your site can also tell people more about you and your style. The same goes for your printed portfolio for in-person experiences.