How to Create a Hairstylist Portfolio on a Tight Budget

In the styling business, looks are everything. Absolutely everything. And guess what? You won’t be able to attract new clients unless you’re showing off your stuff.

That’s where a portfolio can work to your advantage. And a social media strategy to make sure your portfolio is getting seen. But it doesn’t have to cost you big bucks. There’s a good chance that, with a little creativity, you can pull it all off for under $500 — or much less.

So, let’s get to it.

1. Get yourself a photographer. First things first. Don’t rely on your cousin, your aunt or your best friend to take a couple of shots using their smartphone. Not that we have anything against relatives and smartphones. But if you’re really trying to achieve a professional look, identify a professional photographer who is willing to barter. You know the drill. Just ask, “Would you be willing to take some professional shots in exchange for some hair styling?” You’d be surprised by how many photographers would be willing to make that type of deal.

2. Choose your models. If you have clients (of course, you do!), consider yourself as having your own models. Offer a discount on their services in exchange for an hour or two for a photo shoot. Try to go for a range — clients with short straight hair, long curly hair, classic cuts or edgy styles.

3. Get some styling expertise. Unless you have your own fashion styling business, seek out the help of an expert stylist and makeup artist to help you make things look really professional. Again, cut a deal. Do some cross promoting. Let them use the photos to showcase their work as well.

  1. Build out your digital strategy. Here’s where you’ll likely spend your funds. Build a simple website that will show off those fabulous fashion shoots and your amazing hair styling skills. Regularly promote your work, using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to give updates on what you’re doing. And, by all means, supplement those professional photos with candid shots of your customers.

Keeping a great portfolio will get you new clients. But it takes great customer service to keep them. Use Stylie, a point-of-sale tool designed for independent stylists, to help you manage your schedule and client communications.

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-Easy for you, Easy to love-

Michelle Guetersloh

Michelle Guetersloh

Hairstylist Consultant at Michelle My Stylist
For some, hairstyling’s a job. For others, it’s a passion: an innate gift that lights them up and drives them to outperform and overdeliver. Michelle G. is definitely the latter.

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