As a photographer, the importance of having a website is impossible to overstate.
Whether you start by using a DIY website builder or engage a designer, a dedicated photography site is a powerful tool for attracting customers and establishing your reputation.
Points of interest
What does the research say when it comes to photographers’ websites?
If you’re a professional photographer, it’s helpful to look at others’ pages to see what works and what doesn’t. A survey of the world’s top photographer’s websites revealed some interesting statistics:
- Only 22.5% of the domain names included the words “photo” or “photography”.
- 67.5% of domain names included the photographer’s own name instead of a brand/company name.
- 42% of the surveyed photographers used WordPress as their platform, with SquareSpace coming in second place.
- Only 15% of websites showed contact details on the homepage. 85% contained contact information on a separate page.
There is no “perfect” website, but it’s vital to have a page that’s aesthetically pleasing and showcases your best work as an artist. No matter what your niche is—wedding photography, product photography or fine art—photography is a creative medium and your page should demonstrate your talent.
Why do you need a website?
Having a social media presence isn’t enough to reach potential clients. Building your own website allows you to communicate with clients, not only through text but also in a visual way that shows your overall style.
One problem with social media is that you have to compete with thousands of other photographers on the same platform. Having your own website doesn’t get rid of your competition. But it means that potential clients can get a sense of you and your work without sifting through a dozen other Facebook suggestions.
Another issue with social media is that you are essentially at the mercy of the platform. Your profile could get removed without notice, and if the site goes down, you immediately lose contact with your audience.
Build your reputation
While a few photographers do very well with a social media profile only, many potential clients do not see platforms like Facebook or Instagram as professional enough. If they’re looking for a credible and reputable expert, they’re more likely to do a Google search.
Having your own website can even allow you to charge higher rates for your services because people see you as more qualified.
SEO and algorithms
Working with SEO (search engine optimization: using your site content to maximize visibility in search results) and navigating algorithms is an important part of marketing yourself online.
Social media limits the number of people you can reach, as algorithm changes can result in your page not being shown to followers. Having your own website bypasses this problem, and making use of SEO can ensure that you reach a wider audience. This requires using your domain name and all the text on your website strategically, while also showing the importance of having a blog on your page.
What to include
Every website is different, but there are a few basics that each one should include:
- An “About” section
- Examples of your photography/galleries
- A contact page
- A blog
- Links to social media (and the option to share on social media)
If you want your website to stand out, you have to invest time in maintaining it. While a social media page might be easier for providing updates—posting new photos, for example—a well-managed website does better at attracting and keeping your target audience.
The landing page–a first impression
A good first impression is critical in getting users to engage with your site. A landing page is just that: the first thing someone sees when they click through to your photography website. Its aim is to get potential clients to take a specific action (a CTA–call to action): to contact you or book a shoot, for example.
Any text on this page must be in line with the rest of your website, as it strengthens your SEO and draws more visitors. Your landing page should be simple, even minimalist, and align with your overall style.
It’s a given that a photographer’s website should include examples of their work, usually organized into galleries according to themes or larger projects.
The aforementioned photographer’s website survey found that the average number of galleries on top photographers’ sites was ten. The number of galleries ranged from one to more than 30, slightly overwhelming for potential clients.
Curating your portfolio
Curating your galleries is one of the most important parts of maintaining a website. People will not be attracted to your work if it is badly displayed, hard to find, or awkward to interact with. Your website is your online portfolio, and it needs to include your best work—and not too much of it. Galleries must showcase your talent with your target audience in mind. For example, as a wedding photographer, even if you have some excellent landscape shots they aren’t relevant to potential clients.
It’s difficult to decide what images make the cut, but your audience will be more impressed with fewer pictures of better quality than many pictures that aren’t so engaging.
Continually updating your site with new images is important too. The more you master your craft, the better your photographs will become, and you need to showcase this.
It’s very effective to put a bit of yourself into your website—to imbue the site with your personality so that your audience gets to know you better. This is easy to achieve by creating a good “About” page and maintaining a blog which details your creative process, for example.
With a blog, there is one vital rule. Update it regularly. Visitors to your website are unlikely to engage if your last post was a year ago.
A website is an essential tool if you’re a professional photographer. A social media page just doesn’t cut it when it comes to making an impression on your target audience.
The effort of setting up and maintaining a website can be daunting, but it always pays off.