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Old 11-06-2009, 12:13 PM
LWaterfield LWaterfield is offline
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How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

I used to be squeamish about handing out my business card ("it feels like I'm tooting my own horn"..."so commercial"...."so 'used car salesman'"), but once my income became based upon my artwork, I had to toss those feelings aside. After all, we artists have a right to make a living too, don't we?
Often it seemed the cards I handed out seemed to stop there. I realized that I was expecting that little piece of paper to lure people to my website to see what I do.....and one of those "fundamental rules of marketing" is to make things easy for your client. Why expect a person to dig that card out from pocket or purse when they get home and look me up online when I could carry a sample with me? It was about that time that someone on this form mentioned a purse-sized portfolio with drug store photo prints. (I'm so sorry, but I can't remember if it was Clintavo or Jafagirl or...?)
I'd long ago established the habit of carrying a notebook with 8.5"x11" prints in the car, but it often stayed right there, out of sight as I was on the sporting clays range, the mall, the bookstore, etc...I needed something I could carry with me, small enough to fit my purse:

On the left is my portfolio notebook, the right, my mini book- actually a "Brag Book" from the photo section of Walgreen's drug store. (It was on sale for 4.99)
*Note the handy-dandy "Business Card Sleeve" attached to the front of each- these plastic sleeves are adhesive-backed and come in packs of 20 at Office Max. It makes it easy for someone who's looking at your book to simply side a card out to keep.
Here's an idea of the size:

I used Adobe Illustrator to add captions to each image with title, medium, size and awards, then saved each file as a high-resolution Jpeg and ordered several 4"x6" "photos" from the Walgreen's on-line photo printing service. Be aware that 72dpi is great for anything on-line, but horrible for anything printed- they'll come out looking out of focus. I found it best to go with at least 300 dpi. My prints were ready within an hour and I picked up the little book at the same time. (Yes, you've probably guessed that I came up with the idea the night before I needed it. Thank goodness for 24 Hour Walgreen's!)
The only drawback is that there are only a limited amount of sleeves- but plenty to give a prospective customer a clear idea of your work and your style. (There are 12 pages with 24 sleeves)

I have to say, it works GREAT for those conversations when someone asks what sort of artwork I do- but I think it's also very important to have captions, titles, etc and business cards with the book, because it tends to go from person to person and I've even briefly lost mine in a crowd. So, be sure it can "speak" for itself.
The one thing I didn't do is list prices....for some reason that felt a little "too much", and kept that for the larger notebook, which still lives in my car.
The larger notebook is just a 3-ring binder with 8.5"x11" photo prints in protective sleeves. I've put captions on each here too, and also included several copies of my Bio, Artist's Resume, Brochures and Price List.

This book comes out for more in-depth conversations and is part of my gallery interview portfolio- it's nice to lay on a counter and let a prospective client or gallery owner flip through while having a conversation.

"Always be prepared"- that's not just for Boy Scouts any more.
Lauri
PS: There's mine- let's see other examples. Or what is YOUR version of "guerilla marketing"?
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Last edited by LWaterfield : 11-06-2009 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:49 PM
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*AquaMarine* *AquaMarine* is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Lauri - Thank you SO MUCH for sharing these great ideas!!!! Also, your photos are really super and really help give a feel for what you're talking about.

I recently attended a marketing workshop at our local art league, and the presenter discussed the very same idea as this - having a small, portable portfolio to carry any and almost everywhere. Another member of the league had some works printed (photo/digital form like yours) by Walgreens as well and they looked quite good (hers were a bit larger). As someone not very computer saavy, thinks for the tip re: the dpi.

As a newbie (relatively), this is definately on my 'to do' list for the near future. Thanks so much for the tips re: the businesses you used as well and where you got various items.

This is all very, VERY helpful!

Thanks so much for sharing this!!!!

ginny

PS - Really like the business card sleeve you've attached to the front of the portolios. Great idea!

Your larger portfolio looks great as well - very impressive!
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:20 PM
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Slinky78 Slinky78 is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

I wanted to add that often at places like AC MOore and Michaels, those little brag books are on sale for $1!

They don't look quite as nice as yours with the black leather cover- they usually have obnoxious looking designs on the cover, which you can cut open with an exacto knife and insert your own custom design (with your info or whatever on it).
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Old 11-07-2009, 01:45 AM
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AnnGarlough AnnGarlough is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Lauri, thank you for taking the time to post this. You have created quite a professional mini portfolio.

Your philosophy is spot on. No one will "toot our horns" for us.
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:43 AM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Excellent idea Laurie! If I owned a purse I'd be doing it right now! :lol
I used to carry a small photo album in the car, but I must look to see if I can find a smaller pocket (wallet) sized album over here. The standard 8 by 6 ones here are just too bulky to use.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:34 PM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Great little Albums! I think these are wonderful ideas. Another idea for any techies out there--I have all my work on my itouch that I carry everywhere with me. It often comes out to share my work.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:45 AM
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cjorgensen cjorgensen is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Your artwork is so beautiful, you don't need to be shy about promoting it.

Don't be shy about handing out business cards. It is EXPECTED of "professionals" like you to have them. You meet people, talk turns to business, and instead of borrowing a pen and writing it on your hand, you can give them a card. It does not mean you are "good", it means you are "professional".

I am a traveling notary. I get my work from out of state, but I meet with local people. (The out of state people send me to the local people.) Sometimes the people I meet with ask for a business card. I know they are not going to give me more business, because that it how my business works, but they want my phone number "just in case". So on my card, I have my name, my phone number, my email, and my art gallery website. Why not. And I print up the card for the sole purpose of giving them to people who ask. I am not even promoting my notary business.

Anyway, I think your work is professional, and it is totally appropriate for you to hand out business cards.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:09 PM
LWaterfield LWaterfield is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Carolyn, you just said it beautifully! When someone is of the mindset that talking about their art is "bragging" or "putting on airs" as they still say in the South, it's HARD to hand out cards or talk pricing. But if you can sit yourself down and come to the realization that this is your career, then you can allow yourself to treat such things as business cards and pricing as part of the business.

BTW- I went to watch a friend's son play in a soccer tournament Sat, and she talked me into bringing my little book (see? it's still something I'm working on), and seemed to have a lot of fun passing it around to the other soccer Moms & Dads. I think I'll make a couple changes to the prints in my book though, because it seems you have to spell things out for many people- I'm going to include a page with info on how to commission a painting and each print will now have a price or a sold dot. Just showing the pictures of my work seemed to satisfy curiousity, but didn't inspire anyone to go the next step and ask about a painting of their dog, or where to find/buy the originals.

I don't focus much at all on commissions, but I'll bet those of you who do could really use a portable book like this as a great sales tool! Just think church, check out lines, waiting rooms, school....and remember Christmas is coming up fast.
Lauri
PS: Greg- I've heard them called a "Man bag" or "Man purse", but never with a straight face....maybe wallet-size is good.
Ruth- you're brilliant! But I'm techno-challenged in that area. I purposely bought a cellphone that was ONLY a phone, so you're beyond me, but what a great idea.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:38 PM
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RobinZ RobinZ is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Thanks Lauri, I am going to implement this too!

Greg, you need to put that man bag on your list for santa....
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:33 AM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Great idea, and looks very neat and pro too!

For ultra-small size, I print out business cards on my own printer, and on the back of them I print images of my paintings -- different images (sometimes print the same image over the first print, to get up colour saturation). That way I have a stack of a micro-portfolio right in my wallet or business card holder. Served me well, even if it isn't as neat. At some event, 20 cards (all I had) 'disappeared' as someone looked through them and then showed everybody else, and they all wanted one, even trading images. :-)
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:07 AM
Doug Hoppes Doug Hoppes is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Okay, this is an awesome idea. Now, question... what about guys? The beauty of the small one is that you have a purse to carry the small book in. Since the purse is always with you, it's not really a big deal to add the small additional item.

Guys generally only carry wallets. Any ideas?
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:13 AM
Biblioscape Biblioscape is offline
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Doug -- Since you only carry a wallet, why not get one of those accordian-fold plastic photo holders made to fit into wallets for your mini-portfolio? You know, the ones that grandparents carry for pictures of their grandkids. Or people who used to have way too many credit cards. You can probably find a way to make it look a little classier.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:57 PM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

For the boys: you use the business card idea with a different image on each.

I've had a mini-portfolio for years now (around 4x5" I guess) and must say it never really worked for me. Its bulky in my bag (need a bigger bag? ) and it is very rare people ask to see some work while in conversation. If they really want to, they make an appointment to come see my work in my studio (but that's usually after they've seen my website). I feel odd taking it out of my bag (showing off?) and in daily conversations with near-strangers the chat doesn't go further than "oh, you are an artist. How nice." It has never done me any favours so I am not carrying it around anymore. What has worked for me, and feels a lot less 'showing off' is the picture-business card ("whats your phone number so our kids can have a play-date") or a post card ("yes, I am an artist, here have a look at my website when you have a minute").
So I am all for Charlie's suggestion! I'll be printing some business cards off soon too (I have ones with just my website/email/phone and I have ones with my address as well - depending on who I am talking too).
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:01 PM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

Yes, guys, the business card version works for your little wallets, you do not have to carry a little purse on a string around your dainty wrists. :-)

The beauty with the 'business card portfolio' is that you use them anyway, as business cards, so they don't take up extra space, and if they work to get people to watch your site/blog, they've been an efficient marketing tool. It is low level, with few hits, but the cards do double duty. And you want to hand them out like confetti, so no embossed gilded fancy stuff is needed.

Charlie
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:33 PM
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Re: How To Make a Mini Portfolio-

I've also had a purse brag book for years. I made one up when I was going overseas to my hometown. I had photos of my family in the front and then my art in the back. More often than not, the folks wanting to see my Grandson went on to look at my art. "Oh yes, this is what I do now", I would say. I recently had my artwork printed up on a photo book like snapfish or walmart do. It looks very professional. I went with a larger size which will do as a kind of portfolio but I noticed they had smaller sizes that would fit in a purse also. This is mainly for myself just to keep up with what I did when.
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