Let’s be real: the reason we love swimming through photographer’s websites is absolutely because of the pretty pictures. Exploring the breathtaking landscapes, stunning moments of captured joy and unique editing choices feels like spending an undisturbed afternoon in an art gallery. But while the experience of browsing photography portfolios can be wonderful, if your goal is to book clients, your website has to be something more.
The unfortunate reality is that commercial photographers can’t rely solely on their work, no matter how astonishing that work might be, to book clients. There is a lot more to advertising a product than putting the final work on display.
If you’ve noticed you’re not booking as many new clients as you would like, and you aren’t sure where to start making changes, consider the power of embracing your website as a marketing tool first and a portfolio second. By making changes in these four key areas, you’ll build stronger bonds with potential clients and persuade clients-to-be to click “submit” on that contact form.
THE BUSINESS TAGLINE
Can you define your unique photography style and your approach to your work in a single, concise sentence? Can you share a one, short statement that will tie an unbreakable thread to the heart of your ideal client? One that makes them think, “I really feel like she gets me,” and keeps your work on their mind?
This is the power of a well-crafted, unique, genuine business tagline placed on the homepage of your website, preferably visible before a visitor even has to scroll. I find that the best business tag lines aren’t created, they’re uncovered. It already exists within the soul of your work — within you — and all you have to do is bring it forward.
Here are a couple of my favorites that I’ve stumbled upon:
“This is about that real love stuff. The kind that makes your heart beat a little harder, makes you wanna hug a little tighter, stay out under the stars a little longer, and breathe the little moments in a little deeper. Let’s capture it together, beautifully and fiercely.”
— INDIA EARL PHOTOGRAPHY
“I’m the wedding and elopement photographer for the laid-back happy couples who crave adventure, who stray away from the traditional and run towards unconventional, who have a modern, boho style they do their way despite the outside chatter.”
— TESSA TADLOCK PHOTOGRAPHY
These speak directly to certain kinds of people, evoke emotion and sparkle with authenticity.
So, put the phone down for a little bit, shut off the noise and do a little free writing in a journal. Explore what makes your work special and why your specific approach lights you up. And trust that if it lights you up, it will light others up, too.
THE ABOUT ME PAGE
This is where you get to become soul sisters with a client before you ever get the chance to meet them. Unfortunately, many photographers use this space to tell clients that they love photography (thanks, we know) or that they have 5 years experience (cool, but I can already see how good you are from your photos). Instead of wasting precious time in your bio, sharing facts that clients can already figure out, help us get to know why you love photography or how you’ve grown and changed across your 5 years in the business. Facts don’t build connections; stories do.
And you know what else builds bonds? Sharing pieces of your life that happen while you’re away from the camera. Tell us about your hobbies, favorite shows and the sweet treats you just can’t get enough of. Don’t be afraid to share flaws or failures. These are the things that make you relatable. This is what transforms you from a business into a human person with a beating heart.
Check out Katelyn James’ bio to read a great example of a humanizing About Me page.
THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE
Never forget that 99 percent of your clients have no idea what you do. They have no clue what goes into wedding photography or what to expect during a portrait session. You may have photographed 300 weddings, but to each potential client, this is likely their very first one. Remember how nervous you were while shooting your first wedding? Remember how overwhelmed and a little lost you felt as you hoped and prayed you didn’t mess anything up? On that day, you STILL knew more about what goes into wedding photography than your client!
If you want to make a potential client feel like you’ve really got this photography thing figured out, like you’re going to hold their hand through the process and like you’re really going to give them max bang for their buck, lay out your luxury client experience for them from start to finish. Never underestimate the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what’s coming when everything else feels like chaos.
Give Abigail Malone Photography’s website a peep to see an example of this.
Hearing great things from you about your work is nice, but reading touching stories from previous clients about how you made their photography session into a sweet memory is utterly priceless. But when it comes to reviews featured on your website, it’s about quality not quantity. Vague reviews sharing that your were great and the pictures were pretty aren’t going to do very much. Ask past clients to share specific stories from your time together and how your presence and approach to photography made all the difference.
Feature these reviews on a testimonial page, but then pepper them throughout your website. Feature one on your homepage; conclude your About Me with a testimonial that corroborates a point you made in your bio; include a review raving about the luxury experience you provide on your Client Experience or Investment page; share a review that expresses how timely, professional and fun you are on your contact page. You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Let your past clients give you a hand.
If you know your website needs a bit of an overhaul but aren’t sure where to begin, I’d love to hear from you!