Stepping into the Interior Design industry often comes with a classic dilemma: you need a portfolio to attract clients, but you need clients to build a portfolio. However, today I want to share with you my creative workaround for emerging designers who want to curate a collection of high-quality, brand-aligned images even before you land your first few clients.
Below are five strategies to achieve a professional website or portfolio that speaks volumes about your style and brand.
1. The Signature Brand Photoshoot:
Your brand is your story, and every story needs a captivating visual. Invest in a professional brand photoshoot and collaborate with a photographer whose aesthetic complements your own. It’s not just about snapping pictures but about portraying your design journey, your workspace, your inspiration. Think mood boards, fabric swatches, sketches, and more – all in a setting that mirrors your style. This investment isn’t just about the now; it’s about crafting an image library that will enhance your website and social channels for years to come. In Interiors Insider we run regular photoshoots for members – the approx cost is $495 and it is literally the best money you will spend in propelling your business forward.
Image – Fi Mims Photography
2. Location Images – Your Style in Real Settings:
Whether it’s a corner of your home that you’ve meticulously designed/styled or a friend’s living room that reflects your style, location images can be powerful portfolio pieces. They provide a real-world look at your design aesthetic. Natural light is your best friend here, adding authenticity and warmth to each shot. These images offer prospective clients a glimpse into what their spaces could look like and serve as a testament to your versatility and skill. You could also use supplier showrooms to get images too. Professional photography is always better than DIY too.
3. Flat Lays – The Devil is in the Details:
Showcase your attention to detail and composition skills by designing your own flat lays or tear sheets. Gather materials, accessories, or design elements that speak to your style, and arrange them in a visually pleasing setup. Using your smartphone, capture these arrangements in natural but indirect light to create compelling, professional-looking images. It’s all about the narrative your designs tell, even in the smallest arrangements. Make sure to edit each image and remember, you may have to take many images to get one “right” image.
Image: Satara Furniture
4. Celebrating Other Designers – Community Over Competition:
Appreciation for great design is universal, and there’s immense value in sharing work that inspires you and your clients, especially when it aligns with your brand. I love highlighting overseas designers who match my look and feel. With proper credits, feature designs by others that resonate with your aesthetic. This not only builds connections within the design community but also helps clients understand your style preferences and inspirations. Also consider images from suppliers too – ie Globewest, Jardan, Sahara and lighting suppliers.
Image – Globewest Furniture
5. Strategic Use of Stock Images:
While nothing compares to custom, branded images, stock photos can be a valuable resource when you’re just starting out. The key is intentional selection. Choose stock images that blend seamlessly with your brand’s colour palette, style, and overall vibe. They can serve as temporary placeholders on your website or social media until you’ve built a more comprehensive personal portfolio.
Embarking on your interior design career is an exciting journey, one that doesn’t have to be stalled by the “waiting for the first client” phase. By curating a rich collection of images that represent your brand and style, you create a visual story that attracts and resonates with your ideal clients.
For more on attracting your ideal clients, tune in to my Podcast episode – This is What Your Ideal Client Wants to See here.