When it comes to marketing your styling business, one of the most important tools you'll need is an amazing portfolio. The style portfolio is like a resume or CV for Stylists and it's your way of showing potential clients or employers your skills and previous experience in a visual manner. If you're new to Styling then you might be wondering what your portfolio should look like or even what to include since you may not have worked with many, or any, clients yet. But have no fear, I'm here to point you in the right direction and show you how to create your all-important first portfolio.
Go Digital - Gone are the days when a Stylist would keep an actual book of photographs of before and after shots or magazine clippings. As with everything else, the portfolio has gone digital and you'll need to make yours digital too. While social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest can be a way to visually show your work to others, they shouldn't be used instead of a portfolio. Your portfolio needs to be on your website so that you have a URL to direct people to that also connects them to your services. If you haven't set up a website yet then look at getting a free site and creating a single or 2-page site for your portfolio. Many web hosting companies offer free site options and once you're ready you can turn it into your full website with a paid subscription. Use one page for your portfolio and the second page to give a brief description of your services and your contact information.
What to Include - One of the questions I get asked from newly graduated Stylists is how can they create a portfolio when they haven't had any clients yet. Here's the thing! You don't need paying clients to work with clients. I'm sure that most of you, like our graduates, have styled your friends and family. You've probably even styled yourself and taken pictures. This is all part of your work as a Stylist and should be included in your portfolio. Our students also spend time creating lookbooks and storyboards as part of their training and I'm sure you've probably done something like this too, so this is something else you can include. Don't worry so much about the quantity when you just get started, it's the quality that matters the most.
Layout - It's important to create a portfolio that is visually appealing. You'll want them to keep it simple so that people will focus on the actual images and not get distracted by the background. Many websites have great photo album templates so find one that is going to showcase your work. If you want to find frames for your work or even cool layouts for your lookbooks then I recommend you try canva.com. They have templates for everything and the best part is it's free to use and you can download all your images to use for social media posts etc.
Organize - Try to create some kind of organization for your portfolio that makes things very clear for the viewer. Separate your images into different sections such as Men's Styling, Special Event Styling, or even Colour Makeovers. Separate creative work like lookbooks and storyboards from your work with clients. Be sure to add labels or even a short paragraph to each image to show what the image is. If it is before and after work then clearly label it, and if it's a lookbook for a trip to France then be sure the viewer knows this. There is no right and wrong way to do this so play around with different options.
Get a second pair of eyes - Once you've created your portfolio then have a friend or family member take a look at it. It's always helpful to get some feedback from someone who can view it as a potential client would and they may have valuable input that can make your portfolio really stand out. I often do this for my students to help them tweak things to perfection.
It's all about your work - My final piece of advice to you about your first style portfolio is to remember that it's really all about your work. Don't get too caught up in feeling you have to create a digital masterpiece that uses high-tech videos and other fancy technology. Keep it simple! It's all about showing the quality and creativity of your styling, not your IT abilities.
If you're ready to take your career as a Stylist to the next level? Then enroll now and become a Certified Stylist.