Picture perfect

Simple solutions to common problems you face every day

Photo courtesy of Land Creations Landscaping

Jeff Rak’s clients returned from vacation excited to show him the photo book they printed to share pictures from their trip. Browsing through the sleek, hardcover album, Rak got an idea.

“I thought that would be a great way to make our portfolio,” says Rak, president of Land Creations Landscaping, a residential design/build company in Columbia Station, Ohio. “It’s more professional-looking than the standard art portfolio we were using.”

Seven years ago, Rak pulled the best pictures from his portfolio and went online to make a hardcover look-book titled “Backyard Dreams.”

“Any website that does photos will (print) books as well,” says Rak, who has used Kodak and Picaboo. “There are a ton of websites that let you make photo books, and they’re all pretty user-friendly.”

Rak shoots the photos himself, selecting properties that showcase his company’s specialties: outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and water features. He says you must clean the site so toys or garden hoses don’t end up in the photo.

The second thing is, if you can, stage it a little bit, he says. “I bring flower pots from my house, along with props such as dishes for setting the table, so it looks more professional.” Taking inspiration from magazines, Rak arranged the photos to make his look-book more of a narrative than simply a brochure.

“I tried to put it in story format and talk about different landscape elements like fire and water,” he says. “If I leave it on a coffee table, it looks like more than just a sales book.”

Rak takes the book to client meetings and trade shows, and leaves extra copies at local doctors’ offices and hair salons along the way.

“It’s a good opportunity for more people to see our work,” says Rak, who occasionally gets phone calls from people who saw the book at a local salon.

“If you look at the cost of a professional portfolio – getting all those pictures printed and everything – it’s a wash, if not a little bit less expensive, to do a book like this,” says Rak, who’s making an updated look-book this spring, as he does every couple of years. “We like it because it creates a nicer presentation and gives us a more professional edge.”

Read Next

Lonestar lessons

March 2016
Explore the March 2016 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.

Share This Content