An online presence is a vital part of doing business these days. The first point of contact with most of your potential clients will happen through your website.
Thus, having an informative website that clearly shows your work and how to contact you is key to getting hired.
But everybody already knows that. What you might not know is how to set up your photography website for success. Or exactly what kind of information is absolutely vital — and what is nice to have, but extraneous.
Let’s dive in and learn exactly what you need to do with your website if you’re transitioning into brand photography.
#1 Mistake I See Photographers Make
First, let’s start with the biggest mistake I see photographers making with their websites.
They think their website is the end all be all that will make or break winning every client they approach. While this isn’t generally a problem, this mindset can be paralyzing.
For example, perhaps you’ve been wanting to reach out to brands so you can start working with them. However, you haven’t done it yet because you feel like you can only land clients once you have an amazing website.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a problem.
The trouble arises when your website is never perfect enough to satisfy you. There’s always something you have to tweak, photos you want to swap out, or copy you want to add. In other words, you never reach out to people because your website isn’t “ready.”
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. A half-done photography website that you actually share with people will land you more clients than the not-quite-perfect-but-almost one that you’re too nervous to show.
I’m not saying you should skimp on your website or not put your best into it. But I am saying that you shouldn’t hold it to such a high standard of perfection that you never actually use it!
The Three Vital Aspects of a Photographer’s Website
It simply isn’t true that your website design has to be perfect. When you boil it all down, there are three big things that potential clients should be able to get out of your website. They should be able to:
- Learn how you can help them
- See your photography style
- Know how to contact you
That’s it! Everything else that you put into your website might be helpful (or not), but it’s just icing on the cake.
People often spend too much time overcomplicating what needs to go on their websites. They worry about the website design, what the about section says, sharing pricing, or what to include in the portfolio.
But perfection is the enemy of progress. It’s usually better to jump in with something — anything — than to not jump in at all.
FYI – Your Website Will Never Be Finished
And just so you know. Your website will never be “finished”. That’s part of the reason why you need to jump in and get started wherever you’re at. As your business grows, you can add helpful information and remove clutter. You’ll learn as you go what works and what doesn’t.
And that’s okay!
In this article, I’m going to give you a few simple steps as your starting point. Start your website with these simple steps and add to it as your business grows. You don’t have to have it all figured out from the beginning.
Remember, brands are hiring you to take images — not to build their website. Your entire website isn’t your portfolio, your images are. That’s where you need to be putting the bulk of your time — not crafting a compelling about page.
What Brand Photographers Need on Their Website
If you look at different brand photographers’ websites or look up how to build one, you’ll find all sorts of examples.
People will suggest including this helpful information or ensuring that the policy is prominently displayed somewhere. They’ll tell you how to design and organize your portfolio to be the most visually appealing or inspire people to get in touch with you.
But if you strip away all the fun extras for a moment, there are really only 3 things that have to be on your photography website.
Your website must include:
- The services you offer and the area you serve
- A strong portfolio of images showcasing the type of work you want to attract
- A contact form or other easy way to contact you
It really is that simple. When your website clearly says what you do and how to reach you, it makes it easy for people to do business with you.
They aren’t looking for a marketing company. They are looking for a photographer.
Your website’s only job is to connect you to potential clients. It’s just selling the meeting — not the photoshoot (that’s your job).
Wondering how to do this effectively? Let’s break this down a little bit more.
1. Services Offered and Area of Service
Nobody should be wandering about your website, confused about what you offer.
In fact, nobody will.
If clients aren’t immediately sure that you are offering what they’re looking for, they will quickly continue their search elsewhere.
Thus, the services you offer need to be obvious on your home page and other pages of your website.
Another important piece of information is the area you serve. The type of service is usually the first thing a potential client looks for. The second is that you are offering those services in their area.
Have this information prominently displayed on your home page and pretty much every page of your website.
2. Strong Portfolio
The portfolio on your website needs to be full of great photos showcasing the type of work you WANT to do, not what you’ve already done. To attract clients for a certain type of work, you have to show them that you can do it and that you’re offering it.
Think about how confusing this would be. Website visitors see a bunch of copy detailing your work as a brand photographer, but when they view your portfolio it’s full of wedding photos!
This not only makes your services confusing but also doesn’t show them you can do the type of images they’re looking for.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use your past images. For example, if you want to be a product photographer specializing in jewelry, you may have some wedding images where the bride’s jewelry is prominently displayed. These would make great lifestyle images for your product photography portfolio.
What if you don’t have any strong images that showcase the type of work you want to attract? Consider setting up a styled shoot so you can create exactly the type of content you want to sell to brands.
3. Contact Information
The easier it is to contact you, the better. Include a contact page, perhaps with a contact form that you can use to collect the pertinent details you need from a potential client.
And also make sure there are multiple ways or places for people to contact you. The last thing you want is for an interested client to wander away because they couldn’t figure out how to get in touch with you.
Include links to your contact page on your portfolio pages, the about page, the home page, and pretty much any other page on your website. If you use Facebook, you can add a pop-up button to your website where clients can send you messages in Messenger.
If there is anything you can do to make contacting you easier — do it.
And make sure that whatever you have set up includes notifications so you’ll know as soon as someone reaches out. Getting back to a prospect promptly could mean the difference between landing the client and annoying them enough that they move on to someone else
Building Your Brand Photography Website
All that to say, keep these two tips in mind as you put your website together.
- When designing your website — keep it simple. Everything else is clutter.
- Don’t let trying to have a perfect website hold you back. As your business grows, so will your website. Perfection doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be your goal from the start.
Want to Learn the Other 2 Mistakes I See Photographers Making?
Watch my free training where I cover the 3 mistakes photographers make when starting in brand photography. I also talk about the recurring business model I teach in my course so you can fill your book with business and stop starting over from scratch every month.
My goal is to get you fully booked with clients you love. Check out the free training here and prepare to learn what you need to know to watch your business prosper!