by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP The 4th Annual MAP…
Intro by Skip Cohen
There are so many reasons you need a website, and I’m always surprised when I meet an artist who still thinks they can get by with just a Facebook page. Well, it’s simply not enough, and this post from Chamira Young hits on three key ingredients to building a stronger website, but I want to add to it.
First, think about your target demographics. Most of you are portrait and wedding photographers, specialties where women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire you. That means your blog needs have a more feminine appeal. I’ve seen both male and female photographers build incredibly high-tech masculine-looking websites when what they need for their audience is a softer, easier to navigate look.
Second, your website is about what you sell, and a blog is about what’s in your heart. My personal feeling is that you need a blog as well, but I’ll save that for another post. However, keep your website focused on photography. Make your galleries the first tab – they’re the hook to bring in your clients, and your “About” tab should be next.
Third, I agree with Chamira’s point about “big” images, but don’t make them too big. Give people thumbnails they can click on and limit the number of them. And make them all “WOW” images. My definition of a “WOW” image is one that’s so good; you’d only have to show the one image to get hired!
Here’s the bottom line – your website today is the equivalent of bricks and mortar building a couple of decades ago. It’s your storefront, and if you want to keep your audience excited about seeing your work, then you’ve got to make a visit to your site experience!
By Chamira Young
If you haven’t already heard, a Facebook page is not going to cut it for your photography business. It’s a good start, of course, but once you are bringing in clients and have some experience under your belt, it’s time to upgrade.
There are a number of reasons why you need a photography business site including professionalism and ease of contact. Being a professional means you are ready to share and showcase your work and what better way to do that than with a website?
Not only that, but a website is well known for helping the organization and flow when taking on new clients. They search the site, contact you, might have the package they need in mind, and so on. It saves time for those who see your work and say, “Oh yes!” and those who might say, “No, not really my style.”
Now, these are just a few of the reasons why you need a business website, but the other part of the question becomes the “what?” What should be on my site, what should it look like, what should I be doing to create it?
- Photo Focus: When you start building your business website, your photos need to be the center of attention. No questions asked. The reason we are creating a site is to attract traffic and to show our work.
Your photos need to be as big as possible while still maintaining a modern style and professional feel. Many photographers like to use photo grids to display their work while others like to use sliders or images that change intermittently. No matter what style you choose to display your work, it needs to be the center of attention on your website.
- Size Matters: Not only should the photos be the main attraction feature on the site, but they should also be the largest. You shoot your photos in as high quality as possible and showing that on your website is a good idea. Enlarge those photos to show details. Give the viewer an insight into how seriously you take your photography.
Size is also helpful to understand the style of the photographer. When you enter the site, you get a distinct feel for how the photography shoots. Are they leaning toward a dark and moody style or a bright and airy style? These are questions that will be answered when potential clients see these images billboarding across their screen.
- Simple with Style: It can be easy for photographers to show off all of their style on each page of their website, but that can have a few drawbacks as well.
With the modern-day editing tools and website builders, it can be almost too easy to build every page to catch attention and show off your skills. However, there is more to be said in style and simplicity than there is for the “wow” factor.
If you create a website that has twenty different colors, six different font types, and loads and loads of buttons, your audience might be more overwhelmed than overjoyed.
Choose a simple color palette of 4-5 colors and stick to those colors. Use them as accents, not as backgrounds.
Keeping these basics in mind, your business is finally ready to hit the world-wide-web. No, Facebook cannot do enough for you by itself. Taking the time and initiative to build your own website is the best way to show your work, your professionalism, and show you’re ready to help more clients.