Building Your Event Planner Portfolio
A portfolio, when used correctly, is your greatest sales pitch. It won’t directly land you a client, but if inquirers like what they see, you may have an opportunity to establish a connection.
You can’t have a successful wedding planning business if you don’t have a stunning portfolio. Thankfully, most wedding planner and event management courses heavily emphasize the portfolio-building process. Even if you’ve made great strides in building a portfolio, there’s always room for improvement. You should be constantly curating and adding to your portfolio throughout the year. Keep this in mind, though: you could have a beautiful set of photos, but if they’re not cohesive or reflect your brand image correctly, they may not lead to securing real projects.
In this short video, QC Tutor and Expert Planner Candice Coppola explains how to build a portfolio that tells a story and gets you noticed!
Here are some key takeaways from the video!
Your company’s website should host your portfolio. Try to separate the portfolio into different types of events so visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for. For example, Candice has her portfolio separated into three categories: Weddings, Celebrations (parties), and Styled Shoots.
In Candice’s opinion, there’s no need for a print portfolio (although they are nice to have). An online portfolio should be sufficient for most planners. There’s been a shift to hosting portfolios on Pinterest, Instagram, or even on The Knot. These are great platforms to advertise yourself and your services, but you should still have a central, dedicated website. Adding to the client experience, it shows interested parties your work as part of a cohesive brand. Potential clients can easily locate your services, price structures, and contact information after falling in love with your work. Ensure your website is clean, aesthetically please, and easily navigable.
Need some more tips on building a website? Check out this article: Building Your Website: What You Need to Know
Tell a Story
You can feature anywhere between 35-40 pictures from a single event. Try to organize these pictures in a sequence that tells a story about the event. You’ll want to also include a full write-up of the event, describing the event in your own words.
Clients want to identify with people in your photos!
When looking at your portfolio, clients will look for people who look like them. No, they’re not looking for doppelgangers! When clients see events with a similar style to what they want, taking place at their ideal venue, and featuring clients they can relate to, they’ll become more engaged with you and your services. They’ll know that you have the chops to bring their vision to life. At the end of the day, if they can see themselves at your event, then you can expect a call!
Check out these helpful tips on how to build a client base!
Keep It Legit
When first starting out, if you don’t have any images of your own work for your website, it’s okay to use stock photography. But stick to images of items that suggest a particular theme. For example, try using close-up pictures of floral arrangements, wedding bands, balloons, etc. Don’t use photos of full venues or that feature people if you hadn’t worked on that (or any) event. You want everything including your name, logo, colors, website user interface, and portfolio to reflect your brand. Being associated with a particular aesthetic allows you to come to the forefront of people’s minds when they think about hiring a professional event planner.
It’s important that clients know what they’re getting into. Candice suggests including a clause in your client contract that specifies your company’s right to use event photographs in any way you see fit. Be transparent about where you may want to use these photos. Your online portfolio, social media, advertising mediums, etc. They’ll be much more likely to acquiesce when you let them know when and how you’ll use their photos and that you’ll attribute their event when possible. Clients must agree to this clause before you can use their photos.
Finally, be sure to have your photographer’s full support in posting his/her photos. Some will only ask in return that you credit their work or refer clients their way. Either way, never post photos taken by a professional photographer without his/her express consent!
Nothing Beats Confidence
When first starting out in the event planning industry, you may not have a lot of past work in your portfolio to fall back on. That’s okay! You can definitely try organizing a styled shoot to gain traction. You’ll coordinate with other stakeholders who are fresh-faced and ambitious. Not only will this be great practice in coordination, but trading skills and final photos ultimately benefits everyone involved.
In the end, what matters most is that you’re confident in your own abilities. Even if you’ve never thrown a pirate-themed wedding celebration or dipped your toes in community holiday party planning, do your best! Be upfront about your shortcomings, but always assure them how you’ll work extra hard to achieve their vision. Clients will respond to your self-confidence more than anything else.