Building a Cosmetology Portfolio: Make Your "Book" a Bestseller

Every professional cosmetologist needs a current file of his work in hair styling and color, makeup, fashion styling, waxing, or esthetics. You use your portfolio, also known as your book, to show potential employers and clients a representative sample of your skills and versatility. A good portfolio can also prove that you have a varied and loyal clientele, one of the best things you can offer when looking for more work.

Make an Eye-Popping Portfolio

Make sure to include "before and after" shots of every client you feature. This is especially important when showing off hair color or cut changes if you're a colorist or stylist, or, if you're an esthetician, clients with skin problems who show visible improvement after facial treatments. In this digital age, burn photos to a disc with descriptions and dates identifying each client. It's also important, however, to put your portfolio into hard copy--glossy photos, good paper, and a proper binding.

A Model Makes the Photo

Of course sculpted cheekbones and full lips translate well to photos, but it's important to remember that it's your work on display, not your best friend's bone structure. Makeup artists especially may want to find good-looking models, but sometimes the most dramatic transformations are simply the result of bringing out the best in someone's features, hair, or skin. Seek a wide range of models for your cosmetology portfolio. In fact, new clients may be more open to your work if they see a variety of hairstyles, client ages, and colors represented. The more versatile you prove yourself to be, the more diverse a clientele you can attract.

Preparing for a Portfolio Shoot

Unless your photography skills equal your cosmetology skills, you may want to hire a professional to help you with images for your portfolio--or use the barter system to trade your skills with those of a photographer! Decide on a figure or trade that is amenable to you both prior to the photo shoot. For the best results, make sure both the color and cut for each model is fresh (no more than a week old). Style them in a way that shows off your work to its best effect--flattering colors and clothing, shiny and styled hair, good lighting, and a camera with resolution to capture the true detail of your work.

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