Your website is an online business card that reflects your true self, style of photography, and what you like. What you show is the business you will attract, therefore it is critical to make your website reflect the photography you want to shoot more of. Showing what you love gets you hired by clients with similar interests and voila:
- You can work freely (clients will absolutely trust you)
- You will deliver your best work possible
- Both you and the client is happy
Essential Website Sections
A website should quickly guide clients to the information they seek. Here is what I suggest you use as main points of navigation for your website.
- Categories – My portrait website has categories for each of the main styles clients would want to see together: portraits, maternity, newborns and babies, kids, families, and weddings.
- About – Talk about styles, hobbies and interests. The more you share about yourself, the more likely you will attract the right client.
- Information – This area shows the most important information a client needs to know including pricing (optional), FAQs, what to wear guides, and session details. Consider a well-designed brochure with the same information (perhaps a printed version for wedding clients).
- Press & Testimonials – Show magazine or blog features that you are proud of. Raves from recent sessions build trust.
- Contact – Even if you have a web form, include your contact information next to the form. Don’t forget your email address, social media handles, and physical address (for Google).
- Blog – Have a clear way to direct users to your recent posts.
In contrast to galleries, where you may show only the top few photos from each type of session, a blog can easily display a mixture of styles and niches.
It would be hard to show 20 images from a single session in a standard gallery site, but a blog lets you tell the entire story from that session (and every session you do). Blogs offer the freedom to post every session in-full, which can be a great boost for Google and social media.
Try to blog at least once a week and no less than once a month. Pro Photo (affiliate) is a great option for photography-specific blog themes.
A newsletter signup is the best way to collect potential client’s information so you don’t have to rely on them to remember to come back to your site. Simply keep them up to date on your work with relevant emails. You can add signup buttons and widgets (often overlooked), or make a big splash with a pop-up box like in this example from Gabi Moller Photography (using MailChimp).
If people allow you to be in their mailbox, it’s like welcoming you inside their homes. Be considerate! I recommend you send 2 emails per month. Sometimes you may have more or less to say and you should feel free to change the frequency.
Send interesting and helpful stuff, as well as beautiful images. Content of my newsletters can include offers, recent blog posts, advice on what to wear or where to take photos. The key is to expand beyond sales information and include content of interest to the clients. Imagine yourself reading a newsletter where every second word is “buy”, “great deal”, “discount”, and so on. You would click the unsubscribe button straight away! So be creative – write about things that will interest your clients. Make sure to add a call to action button like “Book Me Now”.
MailChimp is an affordable and easy to use email system.
An important part of online is social media, and it offers a great way of marketing your business.
Facebook is essential to show photos, blog posts, share offers or free downloads. When your friends and customers engage with your Facebook posts it will display to their friends and help grow word-of-mouth.
Facebook is great for connecting and engaging clients. Make sure to tag people in your photos so the images will display on their pages. Tip: before you post a session to Facebook, ask the client if they are ok with it.
Facebook advertising allows you to Promote posts targeted to a specific demographic such as age, location, or interests.
On Pinterest you can show your work along side your interests from around the web. It can be an inspiration for you and your clients. What you post will attract people who like the same things. So if you want more moms to hire you, then curate mom-related stuff on Pinterest. Here are a few Boards that I have created, to either help or inspire my clients:
- Recommended wedding locations marked on a map (shown below). Learn more about Place Pins.
- Recommended wedding vendors (private for existing clients only).
- Wedding albums, so clients can see how beautiful these handcrafted albums look.
- Wedding guestbook. It gives couples an idea of what to do with their engagement photos.
- Something for the bride/groom like dresses, bow tie, etc.
- Flowers, cakes, DIY, stationery, jewelry for the wedding.
- What to wear at a photo session (for families, portraits, etc.).
- Portrait albums
- My year, where I share my dreams and plans for the year.
These are just a few ideas of what you can do with Pinterest. Learn more in Zach’s Essential Pinterest Marketing Guide.
An Instagram feed probably looks a little different than what you share on Facebook and Pinterest. Personal photos of trips and vacations, food and wine are great things to include on Instagram. Some content will cross over between platforms and that is ok. Everyone won’t see everything you post to Facebook, so it helps to promote your best work on multiple channels.
More Social Options
Don’t forget Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Ello. As Zach suggests in the SEO Cookbook, reserving a profile in all of these accounts will create more webpages that can rank in Google when people search for your name or your business.
One of the best ways your clients can get to know you without meeting you in person is a video. It can show an introduction, you at work, or your products (albums/pricing). Sascha of Loud Cinematography filmed me during an inspirational shoot, showing me at work, how I communicate with my couple, as well as showing me at my home.
If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, turn a slideshow gallery into a video for YouTube and Facebook for increased exposure.
My Life as a Photographer