While smartphones have turned us all into amateur photographers, there’s still plenty of demand for professional services. You only have to look at the popularity of Getty Images and Shutterstock to realize just how lucrative premium images can be. And if stock graphics don’t meet the brief, companies will regularly hire a photographer to obtain copyright-free images which match their precise requirements. The profitable event photography sector encompasses wedding and prom commissions, while other niches include product photography, real estate work and travel-based assignments.
Any established photographer should already have a strong portfolio of images. However, displaying these to optimal effect online involves establishing a brand online. This can be achieved in several ways:
- Self-build using a website design package like WordPress. Generic templates can be customized to look unique, using straightforward WYSIWYG editors. A small degree of technical knowledge will be required to launch the site, though.
- Employ a web design agency. This is a more expensive option, but professional web designers know how to assemble an optimal website. They’ll offer practical advice based on market analysis, and handle all the coding and uploading.
- A dedicated page on a third-party website. Some social media platforms allow you to build a business page quickly and easily – often for free. However, facebook.com/yournamehere won’t come across as trustworthy as yournamehere.com.
Most photography website owners choose the first option, combining affordability with a wealth of personalization. And while a website’s look and functionality are dependent on the individual, the technicalities of online hosting can be managed by specialists like Midphase. As well as selling domain names with matching email addresses, we oversee website hosting and domain renewals. We’re big fans of WordPress, but Midphase also provides a dedicated Website Builder service, for people wanting a quick and easy photography website.
With hosting taken care of, it’s time to consider which elements should be incorporated into a successful photography website:
An About Us page
This is where you establish your expertise. Summarize relevant experience, list client names or glowing testimonials, and explain why you’re capable of meeting the customer’s needs first time around. A list of equipment might be helpful, but don’t get too technical – the average Joe won’t care that your 10mm wide-angle lens has a 102-degree field of vision.
A portfolio page
Set aside one page for each specialism or industry, and only upload the very best images – those which demonstrate real skill, or photos that jump out of the screen. Keep this page clean and simple, so dynamic photos stand out against neutral backgrounds. Reduce page loading times by displaying crisp thumbnails in an expandable gallery, and avoid bandwidth-hogging parallax scrolling or autoplaying video clips.
Full contact details
Publish a cell number alongside the email address provided with your domain name. Include links to every social media account (even LinkedIn and Google+), and connect those profiles straight back to your website. Home-based freelancers might be reluctant to publish a postal address, but doing so confers legitimacy in the eyes of prospective clients. Full opening hours are another reassuring element, and these can be copied onto social media pages.
SEO and copyright
Consider the target audience for your photography site, and write web text accordingly. For instance, if you exclusively cover New York, list the five boroughs on the About and Contact Us pages. Use keywords and long tails in each image’s caption, alt text, and filename. Boost SEO further with clean, fast-loading page designs, which must also display well on mobile devices. Finally, remember that watermarking images prevents them from being illegally republished.
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