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Ideas & Inspiration \ OCT 11th 2010

Why You Should Add Tutorials to Your Photography Site

Photo by Crushing Memorial Library

Photographers who create their own Photography website do so for the purpose of displaying and promoting their work. Why, then, are photography How-To’s a useful addition to these sites? The answer is very simple – added value. When a professional photographer offers, in addition to their actual photography skills, instructions and tips based on experience, they’re establishing themselves as experts in their field. Visitors delight in free tips, appreciate those who provide them and love a new fill of dynamic refreshing content.

Of course, this doesn’t mean photographers should offer laundry services as well, just for the sake of added value. A quality How-To, though, is not only relevant, it also reflects on the quality of the photographer. Quality, as you may have noticed, is a keyword here. If you think you can get added value with a How-To that you put together in two minutes, don’t bother. But if you’re willing to commit yourself to creating an appealing and useful guide, here are a couple of thoughts to take you through it.

Choosing A Question To Answer
How, as we all know, is a question word. When you create a How-To, you’re basically answering a question. The first thing you need to do is come up with a question that you feel confident answering – a photography skill you mastered or even your own take on a debated problem.

Common types of questions for How-To’s are:

  • How do you technically do something? For instance: How to choose the perfect lens; How to shoot nocturnal birds; How to convert to black&white, etc.
  • Which is better? X, Y, Z. Example: Which reflector is best for portrait photography?
  • How do I enhance my abilities? Tips for sports photography; Beginner’s guide to HDR and so on.

Written Or Video?
Choosing the format for your How-To is more or less a question of your own convenience – and of whether you feel more comfortable with the written or the spoken word. Video tutorials are more complicated to produce but their clear advantage is that they don’t only provide a very visual explanation, they also capture the entire process live. However, some themes can be thoroughly covered in a written tutorial and don’t require special visual aids.

If you choose to write your tutorial, here are some important tips:

  • Write very clearly. Use short paragraphs and sentences.
  • Don’t use unknown professional technical terms if you’re not sure your target audience understands them. If you do, explain what they mean.
  • Use numbers, bullet points or titles to separate each point from the other.
  • Use visuals to clarify each point. When discussing different techniques or different equipment, it is  best to add visuals that “show” rather than “tell” the difference.
  • Check out a few of our own written How To’s for photographers:
    How mastering Motion Blur can make you a better photographer>>
    Tips for shooting studio portraits >>
    Photography tips for food>>

As for a video How-To, we recommend to follow these tips:

  • First prepare a written sketch of your tutorial. Write down all points you wish to clarify and how you plan to visualize them.
  • Keep the video short and to the point.
  • When performing a task, explain out loud everything that you find necessary for the success of that particular step.
  • You don’t have to sound or look like a professional TV presenter. You only need to speak clearly.
  • Keep your explanations simple.
  • If you’re explaining and presenting a complicated task simultaneously, make sure that what you say is synchronized with what you do.
  • Check out the Wix Video Support section, where you’ll find ample inspiration :).

Have You Answered Your Question?
When you’re finished with the How-To, go over it again and ask yourself if you really did answer the original question in a clear, concise and convincing way. Make sure that all the points you included are indeed important for answering the question and remove information that you find superfluous.

If you have somebody around you that knows just enough about photography to be interested in your question, show them your How- To and ask for feedback . Will they be able to perform the relevant task having read your tips?

It will also be wise to add a comment widget to your How-To, so that your site visitors will be able to share their thoughts, even post requests for future How-To’s.

Good luck!

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