Building an online portfolio is an absolute must these day -- but what about the price of a website? Yes, getting a quality site made can get pricey; but many stylists are turning to Instagram as a way to showcase their work in a professional way.

If your online presence isn’t strong, Instagram might be the best place to start. Below are some tips on how to get high-quality images with your phone that will impress both potential clients and employers.

1. Consider Lighting
It’s all about lighting. If the salon you work in doesn’t have the best lighting (indoor lighting tends to be on the warmer side), take it outside. Natural light is always your best bet.

You also need to make sure the light is facing your client. Light coming in from behind them will result in a photo that is too bright and looks grainy.

To achieve this, have them face a window -- not stand in front of one.

2. Consider Background
Backgrounds that are too busy can be distracting. Have you client stand in front of a light colored wall so the focus is the hair -- not what’s going on behind them.

3. Pose Your Client
Awkward poses can ruin a picture. To always get great photos, don’t have your clients look directly at the camera right away. You must give them a minute to warm up! Have them look left, right, or slightly down in the beginning. Then, take your side and back shot.

If your client looks comfortable after those shots, then have them face the camera.

Photo credit: Final look from the Katie Gallagher FW15 presentation. Hair by Amy Farid for amika

4. Take Multiple Shots
It’s always disappointing when you think a photo came out well, but realize it’s blurry after the fact. Take multiple photos to prevent this from happening.

5. Avoid Filters
Filters typically alter colors and tones. Which is a no go if you’re trying to showcase your talents as a colorists. Instead, focus on contrast (and avoid brightness). Exposure brightens all levels, while brightness only brightens your midtones and makes the image lose contrast.

Afterlight is a great app if your don’t like Instagram’s contrast tool.

6. Stay Consistent
Get the same types of photos every time. If most of your shots are outside, stick to that. You should also try and have your clients pose in similar ways as well.

7. Give Credit Where Needed

Did you only do the cut and style and not the color? Tag the colorist. Did your assistant do the blow dry? Tag them. You should also ask the client if they would like to be tagged as well.