Portfolio Picture Perfect
Get into the habit of taking photographs before the project begins and at its conclusion. Photographs that show the project during construction can be helpful, but in many cases, potential customers will only want to see the before and after photographs. Because clients judge your work based on the photographs in your portfolio, make sure the ones you use are high quality and in focus. Don’t take pictures with your phone’s camera. Buy a good camera or hire a photographer. Although photographers can be expensive, they understand how to use lighting and other techniques to make your projects look attractive.
Building Your Portfolio
Customers might not want to view your entire portfolio. They might just want to see a certain type of project, such as decks, kitchens or office spaces. Organize your portfolio into specific groupings to make it easier for them to find their preferred projects. Don’t add photographs of every job you’ve ever completed. Choose photographs that represent your best work or that showcase an unusual way you met a client’s needs. Select titles for each section and put the appropriate photographs into the section. Include basic information on the project, in addition to photographs. For example, you might want to note the square footage of the project plus a brief description of the work you completed. You also might create a section for testimonials from satisfied customers.
Online portfolios make it simple for potential clients to view your work. Portfolios can be a part of your website, or you can choose to use a dedicated portfolio site. If you use a dedicated service, place a link to the service on your website and add the link to your business cards. The Engineering.com Jobs website suggests bringing a computer with you to a meeting with a client in case the client doesn’t have one and also recommends you keep a copy of the portfolio on your hard drive. You never know when technical difficulties will affect your website or online portfolio site, so keep a backup version available.
Put It on Paper
You also might want a paper portfolio, in addition to a computerized version. Choose a binder or portfolio case large enough to accommodate your photographs. Use paper tabs to create headings for each section, such as commercial, kitchen, office or mixed use. Print photographs from your computer and place them in the binder or case. Add descriptions of the projects on the same page or create a separate description page. If you use actual prints, not photographs printed from your computer, place them in plastic sheet protectors.