As a profession, photography is very much in flux. Many are celebrating what they’re calling a “golden age” of photography, thanks to digital cameras constantly getting better, more affordable and easier to use. Cameras built into smartphones and other mobile devices are on a similar trajectory.
Now that extremely expensive equipment investments are no longer necessary, one’s ability to go pro is no longer limited by access to pro-level gear or the willingness to schlep it around. Today, to an increasing degree, it’s one’s eye for capturing a memorable moment in a well composed frame that is making or breaking careers.
On the other hand, many photo industry insiders have been lamenting the over-populism of photography, which cheapens the value of great images and top talent. It sometimes seems that everyone fancies themselves a pro, just because they have an iPhone 5 with some fancy paid photo filter apps.
The sharing of visuals on social media is through the roof. News publications are favoring crowd-sourced photo content over professionals’ frames. About 250 million photos are uploaded every day to Facebook, and some 70% of all engagement on Facebook is photo-related. Pinterest, moreover, with its strictly image-based platform, is the fastest growing website of all time.
At the end of the day, though, this volatile playing field may be good news for truly professional photographers. With so much fleeting “self expression” taking place in the cloud, those who have a knack for capturing a timeless image may find themselves becoming more of a commodity. And with so much photo showcasing taking place on Facebook timelines (and even smaller, more anonymous interfaces), professional photographers are being handed the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the pack by publishing beautiful, dynamic, branded websites.
This talented Parisian specializes in portraits and of her clients’ births and weddings, which she refers to as “memories that they’ll be able to carry on from generation to generation” – the very antithesis of today’s short-attention-span image economy.
Carole says that when she was evaluating her options for a web presence, it was paramount that she “get my website online quickly, but also with a lot of design flexibility.” Ultimately, she says, “Wix was perfect for me because of its large variety of tools and website templates!”
Carole often tinkers with her site’s color scheme and layout, so Wix’s ease of use and versatility serves her well. She was overwhelmed by the idea of needing to find a distinct service provider for hosting the site, so Wix’s all-in-one solution was a major attraction too.
She’s also enthusiastic about Wix’s ability to amplify her rankings on search engines. Thanks to her careful use of Wix’s SEO tools, her site has increased her stable of clients five-fold. “I was only relying on word of mouth,” she says, “and now a lot of customers simply find me on the web.
Originally hailing from the Philippines, production photographer Joseph Pe is currently based in New York, but he also often travels to Los Angeles for projects. He’s been snapping away from behind the camera since he was ten years old.
Overall, Joseph advises photography freelancers to get online quickly, for maximized exposure. “Wix totally gave me more edge with the business/career I’m trying to pursue,” he reports. “It gave my works a venue to be viewed freely and appreciated more. It helped me realize that having your own website really changes the game plan to your business and career.”
Joseph is a big fan of Wix’s versatility and ease of use – as well as the clean layouts, fast page load times and intuitive navigation structures of Wix sites. “I’ve had a lot of amazing feedback on my new website,” he says. “Friends loved the simplicity and sophistication of it.”
Iceland-based tourism and real estate photographer Jennifer Greenland shoots sweeping landscapes, natural wonders and distinctive architecture for her clients’ marketing collateral. Where she lives and works, “the light is magical and the dark is even more spectacular,” she says.
A photo perfectionist, Jennifer spends many hours editing her images on her computer, so she has little patience for cumbersome web publishing tools and code. “Wix offers templates, if so desired, and allows you to set up a site very quickly and for a relatively low cost,” she notes. “This means less time at the computer but your end result looks amazing! When you can present a clean, simple site, it is more likely to be noticed and appreciated.”
London’s Olga Giannopoulou specializes in photos of travel destinations, sports and other events. After experimenting with another solution for her website, she realized it was time “to move away from the more traditionally amateurish web presences to something more refined and more targeted to my clients and wider audience,” she says.
To Olga, other photographers’ lack of professionalism simply underlines the importance of keeping portfolio sites fresh. “These days, it’s easy for people to simply copy what you do and launch it as their own thing, so constant evolution is the only way forward,” she asserts. “Talent and a unique perspective help as well of course, but they are less the differentiating factor they once were. I try to put my personal seal on every frame I shoot and through careful editing afterwards. And, your showcase – which most of the time is your site – must reflect that as well.”
Ultimately, Wix has given her the ability to easily create a site that showcases the distinctive style of her work. “I think that the cleaner, more ‘me’ look of my Wix website has attracted more visitors and, more to the point, those visitors spend more time exploring the site than before,” she surmises.
Over to You!
All the freelance photographers of the blogosphere, what have your greatest online branding challenges been, and how have you tackled them? What tools do you use to differentiate yourself from the competition and the wannabes? To what extent do you see Wix as a game-changer, or potential game-changer, for your career? Let us know in the comments section below!