Tips for Creating Your Event Planning Portfolio

I’ve seen so many different types of portfolios from planners and wedding professionals. Some companies have most of their creative work shown on their website and blog. You can also create professional photo albums from the weddings you have planned (get permission from the photographer first). Some planners create a physical portfolio book that includes sample time lines, stationery pieces and photos from their weddings. You can also have an online slide show or slide show on your laptop with images from weddings you have done.   Since wedding planners provide an intangible service, it is important to show potential clients what we can do and create.

Here are four ideas for building and expanding your event planning portfolio:

1. Plan and organize a photo shoot. A photo shoot is a mock setup of a wedding. It typically includes a guest table with linen, stationery pieces, place settings, a centerpiece and guest chairs. Sometimes photo shoots also include a model bride, a cake and a place card display.  A photo shoot gives you the opportunity to show your creativity and teaches you how to work with vendors. The cost of the photo shoot is minimal since each vendor would provide complimentary details or services for the photo shoot. Once you determine the location and possible date, confirm your photographer who will take pictures of the setup. Then you can work on securing vendors for the tables, chairs, linens, flowers, cake and stationery. After the shoot, ask the photographer for prints or digital images that you can use on your website and in your portfolio. Share the images with all of the participating vendors so they can use the photos in their portfolios.  If you are just starting out, look for other vendors professionals who are also just starting their businesses.  They will need images for their portfolios and might be more willing to participate than someone who has been established for years.

2. Help a friend, friend of a friend or family member with their wedding. Not only will this give you valuable experience, it will also give you photos and real time lines to show potential clients.  If your clients were happy, don’t be afraid to ask for a written testimonial you can use on your website.

3. Show off education certificates and professional membership certificates in your portfolio.  Whether you have a certificate from an online certification program, a membership certificate from ISES or a diploma from a design class, don’t be afraid to put these in your portfolio.  This will help potential clients see that you are serious about education and your business.

4. Create sample inspiration boards and wedding day time lines.   If you already have experience, show potential clients what you can do with photos and production schedules from weddings you have done. If you are just getting started, create sample inspiration boards and sample wedding day time lines to show prospective clients.

What has been the best way for you to show off your work to potential clients?  Online photos, a slideshow, photo albums or something different?

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Comments

  1. StudioWed Denver says:

    This is great information! It is so easy for future planners to start doing this, thanks for sharing all of these tips!

  2. Was just reading your other post and found this one. I love it! Like I said, I’m taking event management courses at Kendall College and I can’t wait to start my career. I’m bookmarking this !!

  3. This is great! Thank you for sharing this piece of information.

  4. celeste greene says:

    hi, i am starting my event planning business although i have been doing it un-officially for a few years. IM trying to build my portfolio and i have done a lot of staging and designing for another planner in my town. Is it appropriate to ask her for the photos of my work? Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Celeste. You can ask the other planner if she will allow you to use the photos. Since you were working for her company at the time, she may consider those her work only and not share them.

  5. Hi, thanks for the tips am just about starting my wedding planning business and putting things together for my portfolio. Please if you have any more advise they would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi! I am still in college and was wondering if there is anytime and point when I should start making a portfolio for myself. I have been on pinterest and getting some ideas from there. I want to take pictures for myself. I don’t really want to pay for a photographer yet. What I read in your blog is awesome. It helped a lot. I guess I am a little confused on where to start. Please Help me. Thanks, Liz

    • Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. It is never too early to start making a portfolio. You can take photos yourself for now and start building your portfolio either online (such as with your own blog) or with a folder/binder/album.

  7. Hi Debbie,

    I find your site very helpful, thank you for sharing you advice with us planners!
    I have also recently started a business, I find getting enough clients for the month is not very easy.

  8. Thank you for posting this helpful information on how to start a portfolio! I am a working toward starting my own wedding planning business and I am a little confused when it comes to requesting for permission for use of a wedding photographers images. Would you suggest that I sign a separate contract with the photographer stating that he/she will provide me with images to use for marketing on my website? Should these images be free since I have provided them business by providing them the client? Thank for clarifying as I see many photographers images on wedding planning sites, however, I am not sure how to go about getting access to the images the right way. Much thanks!

  9. What is a good site for your portable online portfolio?

    • I think having a blog is one of the best ways to display it since you can include photos, text and links. This can also help brides find you online since it is a website. You could also upload and share photos with your potential clients through websites such as Smugmug or Shutterfly.

  10. trista Hopkins says:

    I was the day-of coordinator for a wedding. Can I ask the photographer to use pictures from the wedding?

  11. Thank you so very much for your very thoughtful and wonderful suggestions. I was looking for something to guide mew here to start and how to start. I help so many friends and family have their days of joy. I am so exited to starting something of my own with my experience. Once again thank you soooo very much.

  12. In your post you mentioned starting a blog. What types of things should be blogging about since we are just getting started. I loved the advice.

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