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Creative Portfolio Essentials: How to Caption Your Work

by Ryan Robinson
art & design, freelancing, money & life

Creative Portfolio Essentials How to Caption Your Work

As a creative entrepreneur, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a photographer, designer, writer, or something else entirely – if your hope is to get more freelance work and sign higher paying clients, you need to have a portfolio site that does a great job at communicating your strengths.

The best way to show potential clients how you can help their businesses, is by giving them tangible examples of how you’ve helped others (or yourself) accomplish their goals in the past.

In Create a Knockout Design Portfolio, Ram Castillo goes over his in-depth, proven process to developing an attention-grabbing creative portfolio that wins you clients.

Strategically putting your work into context for prospective clients on your creative portfolio, is essential to framing your value propositions in a way that others will be able to immediately see how your services (and strengths) can help them. Coming up with the right captions (and your best examples to feature for that matter) can be a challenge.

In this video, Ram walks you through how to strategically caption your work.

What do I say?

What don’t I say?

How much should I say?

Why should I say it?

These are all the essential questions you need to answer before captioning your portfolio work. If you’re not communicating the right information with your samples, they’ll be significantly less impactful.

Straight from Ram, here’s exactly what you should be including in the captions for all of your creative work.

1. Client Name.

If the project you’re showcasing was done for a prestigious university, well-known brand, or relevant company for the type of work you want to be getting more of, you absolutely need to mention your client’s name. It’ll totally shift how a potential client perceives you and your work, if you’ve done projects for a client that they, themselves respect.

Ram recommends listing your client’s name, even when the featured sample is work done for a friend, or even when it’s a personal project.

2. The Objective.

What challenge did you face with this project? What was the task? Were you heightening brand awareness with a specific demographic on a slim budget? Perhaps you were delivering a defined amount of blog posts over a 6-month period. Maybe you were putting together a brand book, or directing a promotional video. Use 2-3 descriptive sentences to capture the essence of what this project was tackling for your client.

3. The Role.

Be very transparent about your role in each project. Were you managing a team of designers? Were you doing the actual design work yourself? If you took a project from concept to finished work, totally on your own, that’s something you need to highlight.

These are the essential questions your potential clients want to have answered before they invest in opening a dialogue with you.

4. Results.

If this project met the target your client was seeking to hit, then state that. Add a time frame in which you delivered your objectives, and if the project succeeded beyond expectations, share as much about those results as possible.

5. Give Credit Where Credit is Due.

If you worked with other people on the project you’re featuring, certainly give credit and attribution to others on your project team.

For much more on how to position your work and build a compelling portfolio, check out Create a Knockout Design Portfolio with Ram Castillo and try out Format.com’s easy-to-use portfolio site builder.

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Ryan Robinson

Content marketing consultant to the world’s top experts and growing startups. Online educator at ryrob.com where I share business advice and teach entrepreneurs how to start a side business. Check out my post on the best business ideas, read about how I validated a business idea in just 30 days, and get content marketing help at Pro Content Marketer.