By Joyce Harrison
If you’re a creative professional, you may be a one-person company. But you’re still a business, and you want your work to generate income. So using a Web site as a portfolio is a good move.
The term “creatives” covers a spectrum of the arts: fine artist, photographer, graphic designer, animator, writer, art director and illustrator included. For some, your Web site can sell product; for services, your Web site can say, “hire me.” Either way, what creatives need to know is not unlike what any company needs to know about having an Internet “storefront.” Here are some general recommendations.
Like any creative, you have work that’s great and work that’s not so great. Play to your strength. Only showcase the best from your portfolio.
When a potential buyer lands on your home page, you want that person to instantly identify your creative niche. Your portfolio is only one element. Consider what choices in layout, colors and typography can best convey fashion photographer at a glance or animator who specializes in stop motion.
Yes, your portfolio takes the leading role but what else would convince a prospect to become a buyer of your work or creative services? If you’re a fine artist, the shopper will want to get details in a click: size of the work, medium, original or limited edition, signed and price. Besides your home and gallery pages, you’ll want a contact page and a bio page that lists exhibits and any awards. Those are the basics. Some fine artists include an artist’s statement to describe how they work and how to buy.
You may be a great writer but that doesn’t mean you can design a great Web site. Hire an expert to make yours look professional. Then, rather than using templates and constantly uploading portfolio samples on various networking and category sites, you can simply provide your own HTML link. Another advantage: you’re in control. Explain to the designer how you want to be perceived. Search for designs you like. Again, you don’t want your image to appear folksy when your forte is mystery novels. Do save further costs by having the site set up for do-it-yourself updates.
If you’re selling illustrations for example, you don’t want to give away any piece from your portfolio. A copyright statement will help protect you from illegal downloads.
An independent freelance writer, Joyce Harrison has had a long career in advertising, broadcasting and music. Her Web site is www.joyceonthekeys.com.