Julie is a Bridal School graduate who is getting back into the swing of all things wedding and sent in a question about her wedding planner portfolio:
Can you tell me how to go about putting together a portfolio of wedding photos. (I don't have any clients, yet).
A wedding planner portfolio refers to a visual collection showcasing your best stuff as a professional wedding planner. Your portfolio can be physical or digital and is an excellent opportunity to show others what you can do.
If you're a wedding designer, wedding stylist or a full-service wedding planner, your portfolio lets a prospect know whether or not you're on the same ‘style' page.
No matter what type of wedding professional you are, each one of your potential clients want the same reassurance: that they'll get their money's worth (and more) when they hire you. A portfolio of weddings and events that you've managed/created/designed helps with this reassurance.
The thing is, if you're a new wedding planner without clients and have yet to work on any weddings – Julie's dilemma- then, how do get the images for your wedding planner portfolio?
Well, I'm glad you asked! 🙂
Create Portfolio-Worthy Situations
The wedding stylist in you needs to create situations and scenarios that are simply “screaming” for attention and the lens of a camera and your smartphone:
- Stage a mock wedding ceremony or wedding reception at a local venue and hire, barter or beg one of your favorite local professional wedding photographers/videographers to capture your creation. Consider getting together with a few fellow wedding planners and split the cost of the photographer. Most venues will be happy to do this for you for no cost if you're willing to provide them with photos of their spot ‘all hooked up'.
- Vow to get more hands-on wedding experience – offer to help area wedding vendors at their upcoming weddings. Although you may not be the person who can take/get the credit for the design of the event, you can still use the experience to take action shots of you setting-up and assisting. This is what your clients want to see.
- Join a local chapter of a wedding association and make a point to be an integral part of planning and designing association events that you can add to your portfolio.
- Take pictures of your creations. If you're a wedding stylist, then each time you design or build a project- a centerpiece, a boutonniere, a table setting…take pictures! Make sure there's sufficient light and play around with all of those filters you're constantly using for your selfies.
- Start your own online corner of the world – a local wedding planning blog IS your wedding planner portfolio! This is the perfect place to share your ideas, pictures of work that you've done, venues that you love, and one-of-kind wedding discoveries that you run across as you go about your day.
- Call-in a few favors. If you've worked gratis on past events for family and friends (and I know you have!), collect copies of those pictures (and testimonials) for your wedding planner portfolio!
Thankfully (or regretfully depending on your stance) taking a photo of every blessed daily activity has become the norm for many of us and is probably something you and your staff are already doing as you work on more and more events. Just be sure to promote your work on social media as well.
By the way, I (Debbie) am not a full-service wedding planner nor am I a wedding designer. The majority of my wedding time is spent as a day-of wedding coordinator or as a wedding celebrant. Both of these niches have less to do with creating the look of wedding (although that's gradually changing as my clients are looking for a one-stop-shop solution).
So, for me, a wedding planner portfolio isn't something I spend much time working on. Instead, what my prospects are dying to know is whether or not I'll execute my wedding day management skills as promised; or as a wedding celebrant, will I create the wedding ceremony that they and their guests will never forget. While a traditional wedding planner portfolio certainly doesn't hurt and serves as great eye candy, the glowing testimonials from earlier happy clients works wonders in the reassurance department. Make sense?
But getting back to you, my love, remember, your wedding planner portfolio is a representation of your very own and very best work. Keep it updated and purge (the photos, that is) every now and then. Don't go overboard.
Having a portfolio seems like something every professional wedding planner should have, but until you've worked a few social events of your own, you'll have nothing to show off. So, make getting real world, hands-on wedding experience your priority and then use each one of those situations as a photo shoot opportunity to build your wonderful wedding planner portfolio.
I hope this helps. 🙂
Additional Wedding Planner Portfolio ‘How to' Resources
- Checkout this post + video for a list of portfolio must-haves for event planners presented by Melanie Woodward of Event Planning Blueprint
- This article on the Planner's Lounge lists several tips when creating your wedding planner portfolio
- QC Event Planning also shares a few wedding planner portfolio pointers here