If you are anything at all like me, you have likely asked the question; is my website good enough? As one who was starting out fairly new to the business of wedding photography, over 18 years ago, I am afraid my own bias was in the way of knowing whether or not my website was ‘any good’. I asked myself often…Is it pretty, yet practical, eye-catching and informative, pleasant to look at by the discerning bride??
At that time I was longing for the truth. From the beginning, and in foresight, wondering too if perhaps that truth would have given me the chance to fulfill my dreams much sooner! I made some AWFUL mistakes in the beginning. Such as posting images that were mediocre only to make up for the lack of images I didn’t have, I started out with Flash-based website with little to no SEO, my portfolio was random and unfocused and for those visitors that decided to stay and investigate further, found it was completely unfriendly to use!
I wish that someone had told me the truth in the beginning…
Perhaps my experiences can help accelerate your own business to stand out in the wedding photography industry!
1. Work on Your Portfolio and Design:
Choose images on your homepage that you consider your top photos; they should be completely relevant to the business you are catering to and meant to catch your ideal client’s eye instantly.Do not try to cater to the masses as it will mean you will not stand out! Take for example, my blog. I know it is not like many blogs out there, but I LOVE it…the design alone inspires me to write regularly and caters to those that are like-minded. Not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ I am certain, but I have many followers after a very short period of time! It appeals to those that have the same feel and love of things romantic; allowing me to pursue my own true photographic desires.
Let me give you another example: If I was to post images of family formals on my website to show my skill in posed group imagery, those are the types of images that bridal couples will expect from me, when in actuality, I very much prefer to photograph in photojournalistic and natural style.
Only show your best work; integrate image of couples with a few of your prettiest wedding details. Save the full ‘real wedding’ posts for your blog.
Do not allow your best photographs to be smothered by mediocrity….it will only leave your visitors with a bland view of your work
2. Picking the right Website host – Flash versus HTML?
I could go on about Flash v. HTML forever, but I will keep it short based on my own experience. For the first three years of my business, my website portfolio was Flash based. Because of my decision to go with Flash, I consider those first years as a ‘lost void’. There was very little to no SEO capability, making my work, website, location, business, etc. virtually impossible to find! After tons of research and switching over to an html-based company, I could tell the difference in traffic within 3 MONTHS! If you are considering Flash at all, please take my warning…HTML wins out by far if you desire more traffic to your website based on keywords.
3. Work on Content – Keep it simple
Your home page should have an easy to follow, simplified look. Your website should be unique, getting your bridal couple’s quick attention with a gallery of your best portfolio work and links nearby holding your investment information, testimonials, videos, social media buttons, blog link and a ‘contact’ link at quick hand for both mobile friendly and desktop use. I use a contact form instead of having clients e-mail me direct as it is easier to get the information I need from my couples to get started. In the contact form, ask for their name, wedding date, a few details about their day and how they heard about you. You will find it useful to know where and how they found you, even if, in the end they decide to go with a different photographer.
Ask how they heard about you…
Don’t forget to ask your clients how they heard about you. It will help lead your future efforts in where you wish to concentrate your advertising (if any) and what seems to be working best.
When starting my business initially, and after many trials I have found the above worked best for me. Of course, as I mention, everyone is different and unique, but I am hoping this helps you answer a few of the nagging points that may be on your mind. I am diving further into this subject in my up and coming “Mastering the Art of Wedding Photography” complete series which will be available here soon.
Leave a comment below and keep inspired!