Most clients today look at a digital portfolio rather than a printed book. Granted, the higher up the ladder you go, the more it leads toward print, but for the vast majority of us trying to make a living from photography, digital is king. Here are some tips on how to get bookings from your website.
Make Your Work the First Thing You See
It probably sounds really obvious, but you shouldn’t have to click anything to see your work. After all, this is the reason for having a portfolio online. If a client is looking for a photographer, they probably have 10 tabs open; if it's a pain to find your work, they will just close your tab. There are plenty of photographers out there with fast and easy to navigate websites.
The About Section
This is an area that you are more likely to lose clients from than you are to gain them. By the time someone has got to your about section, they have already decided that they like your work. I do a lot of portfolio reviews and end up looking at a lot of photographers' websites as a byproduct of this. Here are some helpful dos and don'ts:
- Include where you are based.
- Talk about who you have worked with in the past.
- Show your personality. You need to demonstrate to people that you are enjoyable to work with while remaining professional.
- Tell people how old you are. It will only ever work against you (on both ends of the scale).
- Avoid mentioning how many years you have been a professional photographer (unless over 20 years).
- Talk about what camera you have: no one cares and it shows that you are more into your gear than your craft.
- Using the term “award-winning photographer" unless you have won an award of merit. Most creative directors will see straight through some Internet award or small local victory and it will work against you.
Image Size Versus Load speed
In one of the early website builds I had, I insisted on really large image sizes because I wanted my clients to see my work at the highest possible resolution. It turns out they really don’t care about sharpness, clarity, resolution, or any other technical specs that we photographers care about. What they are interested in is a fast website where they can see all of your work easily. Now, this may differ for those selling prints, but in the commercial world, I would always go for load speed over large image size.
Make It Easy to Connect
Any blog post with a call to action should have a contact form or contact details at the end of it. We have all got a bit lazy on this front with the advent of Instagram and "contact details in profile," but clients are far more likely to contact you when your details are right in front of them. Having a contact page that's easy to find is also really important. On mine, I have my mobile number (should anyone be lost on their way to the studio), my agent's email address and number, and well as my studios' address.
There are people who need to list prices and those who do not. You need to know which camp you sit in. As a general guideline, if you start saying “Prices from SSS,” then don’t list them. Everyone will want their extravagant shoot to be produced on your minimum fee. If you are working with a range of clients from local businesses who can only afford $500 through to major clients paying $10,000+ a shoot, it’s best to wait for the client to contact you.
However, if you are selling prints at set prices, wedding packages that do not deviate, or portrait sittings with a fixed style and set deliverables, I think that listing your prices can be a good way to stop time wasters from contacting you. For example, I do not list my shooting costs as the production fees vary so widely, but I do list my studio rental costs as it is a set product that does not deviate.
Of course, my website is a constant work in progress. What are your top tips for creating an engaging commercial photographer's website? Share your site below.