School Photographers, Marathon’s new XTractions HYBRID post-production services can save…
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is going to be a three-part post, so stay tuned for the second and third reasons your business might not be as strong as you hoped it would be. I completely agree with her point about pricing, but my pet peeve when I’m doing website reviews relates to the quality of the images being presented.
First, you don’t need a lot of images. Second, every photograph has to be better than “Uncle Harry’s!” Every image you share on your website has to be what I call a “WOW” print. That’s an image so good that it’s the only one you’d have to show to get hired!
In today’s market, your website is the equivalent of a bricks and mortar location just a few years back. However, the consumer can go anywhere in cyberspace to look at other photographers, your competitors. You’ve got to make visiting your website an experience.
In the early years of the Internet, there was an expression about “sticky pages.” It meant content so strong that people kept coming back, as well as sharing with their friends. Well, nothing has changed, and the importance of sticky pages is more important than ever.
You’ve got to make your work stand out and never share an image that’s mediocre!
By Nicole Begley
Mistake #1 – Your Website
Your website is your storefront, whether you have a retail location or not. What is the first thing you do when you are checking out a new business? Right, you go to their website.
First impressions are CRITICAL! Even if a prospective client is going to your website because someone recommended you, if you don’t knock their socks off they won’t take that all-important next step of contacting you.
The other elephant in the room is how much pricing to share on your website? I prefer the 3 Little Bears method. Not too much…not too little….but just the right amount.
Great. Thanks, Nicole, but what exactly IS the right amount!!
A starting amount, but NOT your highest levels of spending. At one point I had “collections range from $995-2995” on my website…..crickets. As soon as I changed it to “collections start at…” inquires started flowing again.
You want to give your clients a reference, but not so much pricing information that they talk themselves out of it before they even contact you. I like to list my minimum acceptable sale on my website, which is the minimum amount that I must make to not lose money on a shoot, which is $500. I simply say “Clients should expect to spend a minimum of $500 on their photography experience…”
This weeds out the cheapies but leaves the door open to anyone that even remotely values what I do.
Since your website is your storefront, your gallery is your portfolio. Repeat after me….” my gallery is only as strong as my WEAKEST image.” And now…”I only need 8-10 amazing images in my portfolio.”
This happens to me ALL OF THE TIME. I am on a website and the first few images in the photographer’s gallery are great! Gorgeous and engaging. However, as I click through something happens….all of a sudden the images are filler images. Images that are ok, but they don’t reach out and grab you. That becomes my final impression of the photographer, and if I was a client I am firmly in the “meh” category…which is not compelling me to click that book a session button.
The 3 rules of portfolio worthiness….
- Does this image smack you in the face with awesomeness? It should be engaging to the viewer and make them want to see more.
- Is this image technically correct? Are the important parts in focus? Having the image in-focish is not acceptable! (Thank you to my friend Kaylee Greer for introducing me to the term in-focish!) Is the white balance correct? Are there blown highlights or locked up blacks in the image?
- Is the image unique? If you have a smaller gallery, which you should, I highly recommend only having one image from each subject in it. If there is another image that you love from that session, use it in your marketing pieces or on other pages on your website.
Now, take a few minutes and conduct an audit on your website….
- Is your site clean and easy to navigate?
- Does it compliment your brand identity?
- Is it mobile responsive?
- Do you have your location on EVERY page?
- Is there a clear call to action on every page, including a way to contact you?
- Do you have the “right amount” of pricing on your website?
- Is every image on your website engaging and the best of the best?