Designer’s Guide: Why a Dynamite Portfolio is Important

Jordan Edwards

Your portfolio is perhaps your most valuable tool as a designer. You’ve got awesome skills. Your eye for design is *on point*. But if you can’t show it off, you’re going to have a hard time growing your client base. A portfolio is such an easy way to display your style and scope of projects. It makes you look like the top-notch professional you are, but a portfolio that is lacking or poorly put together can make you look like an amateur.

Dynamite Portfolio | Scout & Nimble

There’s really no excuse to not have a portfolio. Portfolios are the easiest way to showcase your design abilities and attract potential clients. Your pictures need to be reflective of your style and ability.

If you haven’t done a ton of professional work yet or you are only starting your this dream of yours, no need to worry. Just start by using your own home to set up vignettes and styled spaces. You can continue to build your portfolio by asking friends and family or anyone you know taking on a room makeover and offer your services for free in exchange for the opportunity to shoot the space. Simple yet polished spaces can make a strong impression.

If you’re totally swamped with work, there’s a high likelihood that building your portfolio may fall low on your to-do list. You may not think you have the time to plan a photo shoot or update your images and if you have a long client waiting list, you may feel like you don’t need it. But even with a steady stream of work, having an outlet to allow people to check out what you can do only increases your brand awareness (which is never a bad thing, right?) and builds trust in future clients. And in this world of social media, it couldn’t be easier to get your work out there. These days you don’t even need a fancy website or blog. Simply posting your pictures to Facebook or Instagram can work as your portfolio.

Dynamite Portfolio | Scout & Nimble

Having a stellar portfolio to show potential clients lets them instantly become familiar with your work and gain confidence in your abilities. We love our clients, but sometimes they have trouble handing over the design reigns. It’s hard to trust someone completely to make a vision a reality, so it’s your job as the designer to create that trust. Otherwise, there will be a lot of frustration on all sides of the project. This is where your portfolio comes in.

If clients don’t know what to expect from you, they may be hesitant to let you do your thing. If you have a polished portfolio reflective of your style and brand, the client can see many examples of your work and gain confidence in your design capabilities. They can look at your work in their own time, and your skill can speak for itself. You’ll save a lot of headache in the long run.

Dynamite Portfolio | Scout & Nimble

Professional photographs go a looong way in your portfolio. It’s more expensive up front, but hear us out. Let’s say you’re a pretty good photographer and figure, hey, I’ll just shoot the space myself. For interior shots, you’ll not only have to stage everything perfectly, but you’ll have to figure out correct lighting, mess around with photo angles for who knows how long, import all the pictures, edit all of them … the list goes on. You could end up spending multiple days working for a few photos.

Your time is valuable! Hiring a professional will save you time and headaches, and you’ll end up with better photos. They are more expensive up front – we know. But think of the time it would cost you and how you can best maximize your time – literally. Let’s say you charge $100 an hour. If it takes you 2 days to set up, shoot, and edit, you’ve “spent” a lot of money on this task which is also delaying client paying work. This can actually be more costly than paying a professional to do the job. Do what you do best and outsource areas where you might consider weaknesses. As a business owner, you have to know when to give up control. Some tasks must be delegated to others to make the most of your time.

Don’t forget, these photos will be your marketing tools. You will use them to sell yourself, so don’t settle for just any photos. To save costs, you could work out a deal with a local photographer. Offer to tag them in all of their photos as a way to send business back their way if they’ll give you a few hours of their time.

Dynamite Portfolio | Scout & Nimble

Social media is the easiest way to connect with potential clients, and that’s definitely still the case with your portfolio. Fill your Pinterest with drool-worthy images from your portfolio, and make sure to feature them on your most visible board to get the most exposure. Use Instagram and create your own hashtag to share your images and capture your audience’s attention, while also sharing on Facebook and/or Twitter.

With everything you post, make the audience want to visit your entire portfolio to see what else you have to offer. Before and after transformations always get attention. With all the cool features Instagram has added to their platform, post your “after” shot with the ability to let your readers swipe right to see the before. On Facebook, share your “before” shot and then guide them to see the incredible “after”. Your portfolio images are the most valuable when people are actually looking at them, so make them easily accessible!

Upload your portfolio on Scout & Nimble to start sharing your work now.

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image 1 : Jordan Edwards