Even up until a decade ago, photographers, whether professionals or not, could showcase their work in a portfolio. This could be either online or via a conventional print medium.
Today, your display window is your website and that you get the services of the right website designer.
Do Photographers Need A Website?
Photographers are highly creative people, and it’s not easy for them to balance the artistic side of their business with the practical one.
However, unless you can ensure a steady stream of work, connect up with clients and get your work evaluated by peers and mentors, the commercial side of it could collapse.
It is the first point of contact for visitors, fans, customers, clients and buyers.
It is also the most vital element of your brand identity and helps potential buyers to evaluate the quality of your work and services, and get estimates on pricing.
It provides your contact details.
Clients require other information that helps them to make informed decisions. Blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books, etc. are a mine of valuable information that they can use. A website that provides all these becomes an authoritative source of reference material that can be shared on social media too.
Your customers need answers to practical questions such as pricing, different packages, whether you do niche work such as photographing babies or food photography. Your website can provide these, instead of wasting time on routine and FAQs.
Websites are one of the most affordable marketing tools that you can think of. Their reach is beyond time-zones, geographies and other demographic factors. Your website is your 24x7x365 marketing tool.
Today, websites are a necessary requirement for every business and no longer optional. You can stay in sync with your customer expectations when you launch your website and your clients know where to find you on the internet.
Must-Haves In Your Photography Website
A professionally designed photography website is a comprehensive marketing tool that helps you connect with your potential, new and existing clients.
1. Simple look and feel
While it may seem weird to suggest that a photography website should be “simple” simplicity is something that a creative photographer truly identifies with. Minimalism and paring down appearances to the bare bones is a technique that’s not just impressive, but also practical and functional.
Highly cluttered websites, loaded with images, complex fonts and a huge palette of colors can reduce loading speeds. Simple and functional websites help clients to navigate more easily, find what they want more quickly and funnel through into the purchasing stage without much fuss. Simplicity helps you to highlight what’s important, while ensuring that the users have a memorable UX so that they remember, return and recommend.
Clear navigation and call to action, along with an effective, easy to find contact page are important elements of any good website.
3. Great Content:
While the website provides superb opportunities to showcase your work, unless it’s backed by fresh, original, reliable and authentic content, your website won’t be found at all. As of now, text content is what the algorithms evaluate. However, there are indications that object detection will assume more importance in the search eco-system in the near future. Meanwhile, focus on consistently refreshing the text content on your site.
4. Analytics: Your website is a treasure-trove of information about your visitor/customer. Demographic, behavioral, psychographic etc. information gets collected automatically. How you leverage it is the 64 dollar question. Bounce-rates, traffic, search tracking, etc. along with cookies, IP address tracking, behavioral segmentation etc. can help you use the volumes of data intelligently.
Hiring The Best Web Design Company
Know What You Want: While web designers/developers are experts in their field, you are the expert in yours. You need a cohesive theme, a powerful focus on your strengths, a great UX for your visitors, clear and functional design, etc. You also know your target audience best. Today you need a design that’s responsive to the current multi-device environment, with easy connect to social media.
Firm up on: Before you select a design company, crunch some numbers. How much are you willing to invest in website development, when you want it up and running, whether you’d like to pay for a “business phone number” etc. These aspects help you to arrive at a tentative budget to have in your kitty when you talk to the designers.
Unique Features: Photography websites are slightly different from the conventional e-commerce ones. If you offer printing, Photoshop services, stock photographs, etc, you would require a proofing gallery and a shopping-cart on your site. Wedding photographers find it useful to have a link to their site where they can download a selection of pictures, pay for them and/or purchase prints if they want them.
You can also offer different types of prints, posters, frames, photography workshops, digital prints, etc. that will boost your revenues. Talk to your designer about the range of services you provide so that they can build in these pages.
Personal Touch: Be present in your website in the form of head-shots, a regularly updated About Me page, along with a section on the awards, recognition and socially responsible work you’ve done. Other great ideas would be a working video, behind-the-camera shots of yourself and your team etc.
Content: Though your website is visually world-class and stunning, without equally superb content, it could fall in search engine rankings. With a field such as photography, there’s no dearth of great content ideas for blogs, webinars, videos, podcasts, e-books, explainers, news feeds, and more. Remember that Google crawlers love long-form content, so let your stuff be at least 1000 words long and optimized for SEO.
Ensure that your design team understands the value of content. If you have to supply it yourself, it requires time, effort, commitment and dedication. Otherwise, your designer can suggest the right sources.
You can also get into an arrangement where you can supply content ideas to a professional content writer. These could be informative articles, opinion pieces from experts, tech news and product reviews, contests and competitions, hints and tips. Links to related sites would also be useful, such as to a local catering service if you’re a wedding photographer.
Portfolio and credentials: Just as your clients would ask for these, get the lowdown on your website design company too. Avoid getting sidetracked by screen-shots and insist on looking at real-time examples of their work.
Ensure that they have experience in designing sites for photographers, or others in creative fields. Responsive design is crucial today, with a large majority of people using a range of devices to access information.
Communication: Feel comfortable while communicating with the design team and ensure that they will keep these channels open during the development/design process. Offer a firm commitment from your side on sign-offs, evaluations, testing etc.