The Unexpected Sales Tool

Photo Quality is Key

One of the secrets to a well-received portfolio is the quality of the photos. "Don't include a poor photoof something," says Taylor, "because it won't do your work justice."

Although a photo shoot can be cost-prohibitive, it is sometimes possible to get high-quality shots without paying for a professional shoot. If your work is photographed for publication, you could ask the photographer about buying usage rights to the photos.

More likely, you'll have to take most of the pictures yourself. "I have a few professional photos in my portfolio, but most of them I photographed myself," says Taylor. "I take pictures whenever I finish a job I consider impressive." Taylor suggests the following tips for taking great photos:

  • Wait until the item is in use. If you want to take pictures of a product such as an outdoor patio cover and deck, do so after the customer has accessorized it so things look natural.
  • Keep it simple. Rather than trying to take pictures of a scene, simply zero in on your product or service.
  • Shoot many photos. If you're not a professional photographer, getting shots worthy of your portfolio will take several attempts.
  • Use 200-speed color film in a 35-millimeter camera. Try a variety of lens sizes, including a wide-angle lens, which can be rented at a camera store. Use a tripod, and learn how to work the manual setting on your camera to try different light exposures.
  • When at all possible, don't use a flash. Natural lighting makes for much better pictures with more depth.

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This article was originally published in the July 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Unexpected Sales Tool.

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