5 Best Practices for Creating Your Portfolio

5 Best Practices for Creating Your Portfolio

“Do you have samples of your work?” This is a common question that potential clients will ask. You’ll want to be able to say, “Yes.” A portfolio is your calling card as a contractor. People want to see what you can do and what you’ve done. Here are a few ways to help make that happen.

1.  Use Color

Black and white photos are great for creating dramatic scenes or creating a noir effect, but when it comes to your portfolio that you’re using to gain new clients, you need color. Your photos need to snap, crackle and pop. This isn’t the time to make an artistic statement or try and be cheap. Spring for the color photos and the color printing.

2.  Use Good Paper

For your print portfolio, you’ll want to use high-quality paper or cardstock. Your portfolio shouldn’t be a flimsy couple of pieces of paper stapled together; it needs to be bright, shiny and in a binder that makes you proud and look professional. When people ask, “Do you have a portfolio?” you shouldn’t respond with, “Sure…here ya go,” and hand them a glorified pamphlet. Your response should be, “Yes, I present you my masterpiece and greatest life achievement.” Then you present them with your portfolio, in all its glossy paper and three-ringed binder glory. A silver platter is optional but highly suggested.

3.  Hire a Pro

If you don’t think you’re up to the challenge of creating the above, hire someone to do it for you. For a novice, creating a portfolio might seem like a daunting task, but for an artist or even a savvy creative, it’s easy-peasy. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg but utilizing the creative eye of a professional can take your portfolio from “ho-hum” to “wowzers.” In case we aren’t clear, you want “wowzers.”

4.  Print or Digital? Both

You might be tempted to just have either a digital or print portfolio but not both. Maybe you think you can’t justify having both for some reason. Trust us, you need both. Having a digital portfolio is cheaper, especially if you already have the social media presence to host it, such as your Instagram or Facebook page. But although the number is growing daily, not everyone is online, and of those who are, they don’t have Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Only having a digital portfolio could mean a whole lot of potential customers aren’t seeing your work unless they see it in person. On the other hand, you might prefer a print portfolio to a digital one. There’s nothing wrong with a print portfolio, as a matter of fact, we sang its praises above. But not having a digital portfolio means you miss out on an opportunity to whip out your phone or tablet and show someone your latest creation on the fly – unless, of course, you’re planning to carry your print portfolio everywhere. But even then, you might not have updated it yet. Having both means you reach more people and increase the odds of gaining new customers because you can show them what you can do.

5.  Share It

Once you have your print portfolio ready and your digital portfolio uploaded, share it with everybody. Throw the link out on Facebook and Instagram. Tweet about it. Show the print version to anyone who asks to see it. You can even have mini versions printed that you can give to potential customers that have a link to your larger digital samples. The more people who know about it, the more people who will see it and the better the chances are that it will land new work for you.

Do you have a portfolio? If so, what kind, and if you don’t, why not?