4 Ways to Improve Your Portfolio

When someone is looking for an interior designer, even if they've already received referrals, they're going to go straight to your website and your portfolio. As a designer, you have no way to talk to those prospective clients, so all you can do is hope they like what they see. And if they don't? Well, they're gone - off to find another designer's site! YIKES. We don't want that! So how in the world do you grab their attention?! I have 4 foolproof ways to make your portfolio your best sales tool.

1. Invest in Photography

Even when times are tight and your budget may look like it's overtaxed, you HAVE to spend money on professional photography. It's critical to your business!! A professional photographer can make your interiors look their very best. They know how to shoot in awkward spaces (hello, tiny powder room!) and they know how to use natural light to make those rooms POP! Those stunning photos are what pull people in - and give your website the look that prospective clients want to see from a great interior designer. But remember a few tips:

  • Don't turn on interior lights - they create unflattering or strange shadows and hot spots
  • Don't let a photographer use a wide angle lens. It distorts the room and makes furniture look out of perspective. (This is what real estate photographers do.)
  • Be sure your photographer has an iPad or computer tethered to the camera - that way you can see what the shots look like and adjust the room as needed. 

2. Hire a Stylist

Yes, you are a fabulous designer, and your interiors look incredible! But on camera, that corner looks dark. Those little collectibles on the table don't show up, so they just look like clutter. And that big black box of a TV is trying to be the center of attention. A professional stylist can handle all of those issues, tweaking your design so it looks as good on camera as it does when you're standing in it! They also know where to source the art that your client may not have wanted to invest in - but looks SOOOO good! And they know the perfect flowers for the space. Really, a stylist takes a lot of the stress and headache of a photo shoot off of your shoulders! They're like a great partner who wants you to sell your services through photography as much as YOU do! They are worth the money!

3. Edit Your Online Photos

Always show your very BEST photos on your portfolio! It would be better to have FEWER photos than to have a lot of mediocre ones. Because again, you aren't online when your prospective clients are, so you can't explain why you used that photo. Or why that room looks the way it does. Edit out those older photos, or the ones that just don't work. Get rid of projects that don't really represent your work or the clients you're targeting. Remember that this is your best sales tool - and it needs to REALLY sell you!

4. Create the Look

Ok, so what if you've edited your portfolio and now you don't have as many photos? Or what if you're just starting out and you don't have a lot of work to show? There are SO many programs out there now to help you! You can create rooms and renderings that look completely real with the right software. Invest some time in creating looks that reflect the work you want to do - show them what you've got and how creative you are!! And if you have projects in the works that aren't quite complete, be sure you show renderings and floor plans that you're creating there, too. The idea is to lure potential clients in with professional and detailed work!

To help you create the best photos and a worry-free photo shoot, I'm giving you my FREE Photo Shoot Timeline and Checklist! Download it now to help you get through your next shoot with fab photos and no stress!




Check out more design business tips and tricks

4 Tips for Attracting (and Keeping!) Great Clients

Why Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever

Wrapping It Up: The Final Touches

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