You’re at the stage where you’re trying to chase a career in professional photography, and you’ve managed to build up quite the portfolio. But what’s next? The next step in building your credibility as a profession requires that you have a web presence that reflects the brand of a professional. You need customers to see you as someone that really knows what they are doing, and is serious about every aspect of your brand. A big part of this is your own personal website. Social media is great when it comes to expanding your influence, but it lacks the intimacy to fully represent you. You definitely need a website that makes you and your work look amazing.
The first step to creating your website is to purchase a domain. The choice of domain is not only crucial, but also something that can be very difficult as you may change your mind later. Over the last few years, a large number of new domains have become available with fancy endings like .photo or .art, which have created the opportunity for a vast array of new domains that truly represent what you do. But because .com is still king, especially if your goal is to look as legitimate as possible. But nothing else matters if your viewer can’t find you because they can’t find you or remember your website address. For this reason, many photographers use their names as their domains. If your name is common, then the domain may already be taken, or if your name is complex, it may be difficult to spell. So you might have to get creative!
The homepage is by far the most important aspect of your website. If it doesn’t captivate the attention of the viewer, nothing else will matter. Your homepage needs to be simple and concise. It should always showcase the absolute best representation of your work, in order to grab the viewer right out of the gate. It should also offer any pertinent information that is relevant to confirm to the user that they are in the right place. This might be the type of photography that you do, where you’re located etc.
The Mobile Experience
More than half of your visitors are likely coming to your website via a mobile device. Which means, your website needs to positively reflect you on all platforms. I myself hate websites that don’t scale – either in terms of the window size, or in terms of viewing it on a non-desktop device. That’s a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t fall into this trap.
Critical Questions That Need Answers
In addition to showcasing your work, there are several key questions that every pro photographer must answer.
- What kind of photography are you selling? This one should be obvious and be the easiest to answer. Don’t claim to be a master of all. Narrow down your focus and make it painfully obvious what sort of photography client you are looking to work with.
- How does the customer get in touch? A contact page should be obvious. If you think you’re being clever by hiding your contact form to avoid spam emails, you’re doing your viewers a disservice. Don’t make getting in touch with you difficult.
- Where do you live? Most customers can’t afford to hire a long distance photographer, so this becomes mandatory in their hunt for one. Google tends to prioritize local results when users search for a service, like photography. If Google knows what city you are in, they might increase your traffic based on that information alone.
This one is extremely important as it will show case your work in the best possible light. If it’s not done well, it will frustrate the user, and make them move on from your site. A gallery should be easy to use. It should also showcase your best work, so you might want to rethink index pages of tiny thumbnails. A gallery is only as strong as it’s weakest photo. Don’t put every image you’ve ever taken in there. Select your absolute best work.
more often than not your website is responsible for the first impression that your band has with a prospective client. It should serve you well and create a great one. Don’t make the viewer question your credibility because you will have a crappy website. Instead, impress them with your attention to detail as it will imply that you bring said attention to detail in every photography shoot.