On the blog, we’ve written extensively about what to put on your photography website. But we rarely document the cringes, the oh-dears, and the shocked expressions we have when we visit *certain* photography websites. And, from one friend to another, we do not want you, dear reader, to fall into these traps! From disregarding CTA’s entirely to not including a single word on your homepage, here are the top photography website mistakes we routinely see out in the wild:
1. Your website is written in third-person
When people come to your photography site, they want to be warmly greeted by the person who will document their most precious memories. They don’t want a cold, third-person introduction written by a ghost writer (hey, that’s what I do, and I even write them in first person!). This isn’t a bio for a conference program or a profile on a corporate website. This is your storefront! Meet your customers at the door! When referring to yourself, use “I” statements rather than “she/he/they” statements. This is your business, your website, and people are booking you! So always write as yourself.
2. Your client reviews are hard to find or nonexistent
You’ve made clients happy. You’ve delivered amazing results. Why not tell your future and potential clients? Getting client reviews is one of the simplest and most effective marketing techniques you can use. Social proof is a powerful marketing tool, and you can leverage it yourself by featuring shining client reviews on every single page of your website. It’s the less cheesy version of “but don’t take it from me!”
If your client reviews are long and wordy, you can trim them down by using a handy ellipsis (the dot-dot-dots, like this “…”) to skip the less important parts and put the key information front and center. Or just pick the engaging, unique sentences out from the middle. But remember: Do. Not. Edit. The. Reviews! If you start changing the meaning of a review (or, God forbid, writing them for your clients), you’ve gone too far. Turn back! Watch my video about gathering testimonials and displaying reviews to learn how to do both like a pro!
3. You skipped writing text on your homepage
Talk about a massive photography website mistake! I hate to break it to you, but pretty photos do not speak for themselves when asking clients to shell out the big bucks. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a homepage that features your best photos (you absolutely should do that!). But from an SEO and a client-first perspective, your homepage needs to at least have the following words:
- Who you are: your name and your business name at a minimum, but bonus points go out to photographers who feature a mini about me
- What you do: photography, duh! But also the types of photography you do (weddings, seniors, families, business).
- Where you do it: location, location, location!
- Who you do it for: a little teaser on who your ideal client is to make them feel seen—care-free eloping couples, classic southern brides, modern NYC couples, etc.
- Why you do it: to preserve memories, to make wedding planning easier, to document love stories, etc. (psst…this is probably your unique value proposition!)
- A call to action to move them to the next step: read more about me, envision your experience, etc.
Your clients (and Google!) will rank your site more highly if they can read your homepage and get a sense of who you are and what you do. Don’t make the mistake of tanking your homepage SEO because you were too lazy to do a little writing. And if you’re having a hard time writing those words? Check out my done-for-you web copywriting services to avoid this photography website mistake.
4. You didn’t list your location on your homepage
Yeah, this was mentioned in the list above, but it’s so important it had to be said twice! Simply listing your location in your meta description isn’t enough: make sure it’s part of your headline or clearly displayed on your homepage. In fact, do both! You need to reassure clients that they’re in the right place when they land on your site, and the first thing they’ll be looking for is location.
If you’re a destination photographer based in one state, but traveling anywhere in the world, say that! If you’re keeping it to North America, say that, too. If you serve just one or two cities, make that clear! Before you get to the descriptive words and the client reviews, make sure your location is easily visible.
5. You don’t feature any photos of YOU!
You’re talking to humans here, not computers. And humans want to see your face! If you’re asking thousands for a day of photography, you absolutely need to have information about who you are and why clients should pay all that moolah to you. The internet can feel impersonal, which is exactly why you need to work extra hard to bring that personal touch to your potential clients.
I recommend partnering with a fellow creative to get some stellar branding and business photos. Place a bright, true-to-you photo of you on your homepage and your about page, and you’re all set! But if you really want to take it to the next level, share a behind-the-scenes photo of you working or with clients. Help potential clients envision what it would be like to work with you!
6. You’re using tired descriptions that don’t set your business apart
Certain photography turns of phrase might have been unique a few years ago, but now they’re just worn out and need to be tossed. Here are a few we’ve seen still lurking around the internet jungle, even after all these years:
- Lover of light/light-filled/natural light: you can’t have photography without light—that’s like me being a lover of keyboards or the alphabet. Try something more descriptive and specific.
- Overusing “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” and “breathtaking”: these words are okay here and there, but they’ve been used so many times that they lose the power they might have once had. Check out these blog posts to swap out some of your more stale language.
- Professing your love for coffee: or any food, for that matter. Your personality is not defined by your need to consume calories for energy and wanting to enjoy yourself while doing so. Even if you have something truly unique that is food-related, don’t feature it as a highlight of who you are. Weave it in organically: “I can’t wait to grab a pair of gin and tonics and craft your dream photography collection with you!”
7. You decided not to list your prices
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times…not including your prices, or at least your base starting price, is a big photography website mistake. I know you’ve probably been told it’s fine just fine, but it’s just not. Frankly, if you’re too scared to list your prices, I’m too scared to ask for them! Just like a “price-by-demand” tag screams “too expensive,” a photography site with no dollar signs in sight means either “I’m too expensive!” or “I’m ashamed of my prices.”
Do. Not. Be. You’re a creative professional with a powerful, unique service to offer, and you should never feel embarrassed or ashamed about listing the price that it takes to do what you do! And if you are, maybe it’s time to dive into that feeling with a coach or mentor and see what’s holding you back. Believe in your services and share your prices with confidence! Not convinced? Check out this post for more on the subject!
8. You’ve shared a random list of facts that don’t relate to your business or client
Getting to know you is great, and I love reading some fun facts here and there. But if you’re going on and on about things completely unrelated to your business, that’s a fast way to lose clients and take up space you could be using to win them over. Instead, try including these facts:
- Your favorite wedding day/session moment
- Your go-to prompt for couples during engagement sessions
- Your biggest tip for camera-shy clients
- A peek inside your camera bag (if you keep something interesting there!)
- Your favorite way to relax after a weekend of photography
- Your top tip for couples hunting for their dream photographer
By listing facts and tips relevant to your potential client, you’re placing them as the hero in the story. Address THEIR needs and show you can give them what THEY want. Weave nuggets about your personal preferences skillfully into your site’s text instead of listing them out like an old Myspace quiz.
9. You didn’t include any calls to action
“But Erica, I hate sounding salesy!” I get it; no one wants to sound like a used-car dealer with an overflowing lot. But, you’re a business owner, and lead generation is an essential component of running your business. So, make sure you have a call to action—a button or link that tells your clients what to do next—on every page. Here are a few ideas:
- “Get to know [YOUR NAME]!” – sending them to the about page
- “Imagine your experience” – sending them to the details page
- “Begin your adventure” – sending them to the contact page
If you need help coming up with killer CTA’s, check out this blog post!
10. You don’t share another contact option outside your inquiry form
If you want to make a name for yourself in the industry, be sure to have a contact option that isn’t just for inquiries. If a fellow creative wants to collaborate on a podcast, event, styled shoot, or anything in between, make sure there’s a way for them to contact you! A bit of cross-audience marketing could unlock tons of new opportunities for you. And as someone who once wrote for a wedding publication, I can tell you journalists are always looking for photographers to feature! But if I have to fill out my wedding date and venue just to send you an interview request, I’ll say, “So long!” and keep moving.
A simple message below your contact form with steps someone can take to contact you is all you need. Make sure you’re not ruling out potential creative partners and business opportunities by not listing a simple contact alternative.
11. You buried vital information in the FAQs
Potential clients should be able to find out key information about you and your services, such as your location, your base price, the number of images you deliver, and your turnaround time through your details or investment page, not only through FAQs. While FAQs are helpful, they should be a last resort for clients to look at right after or right before booking you: not a place to go for the most basic information. Here are some good questions to include in FAQs:
- My wedding isn’t in [your location]. Will you travel to photograph it?
- Can we build a custom package?
- What if it rains on session day?
- We’re eloping in a popular spot. Will you help us navigate that and figure out the details?
- Will you help me choose my wardrobe?
- We are kinda awkward in photos. Can you help?
- Are you insured?
Use your words, your personality, and your client knowledge to build the best web experience possible. Make it easy, intuitive, and simple. Don’t make potential clients hunt for your location or write you off as just another one of those “lover of light” photographers. Be unique! Be yourself! And book more clients by avoiding these 11 photography website mistakes!