There was a time, not that long ago, when the only way to showcase your work online was to create a photography website. The Internet wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now and people were far less knowledgeable, so having an online portfolio was quite a big deal, limited only to professionals or extremely serious hobbyists. Nowadays, everyone and their dog are uploading their pictures online. There are too many social media platforms to count on the fingers of one hand, and as a photographer you’re expected to be active on every single one of them.
While our Internet understanding and use has multiplied significantly, the hours of the day have not. Time is limited and you might find yourself unable to keep up with all these platforms. At this point, many choose to give up on the idea of a professional site and instead, focus their efforts on social media. There are two main reasonings behind this decision: a website takes a bit more effort to put together, and you can’t track its success in followers and likes. But the number of reasons why you need a photography website is nearly infinite. Here are ten of the most important ones:
Bring all your accounts together
Every social media platform allows you to add a link to an external site. You have probably noticed that this section is named “website” and not “other social account you want your visitors to see.” It’s highly unlikely that someone looking at your Facebook page, for example, will click on a link that takes them to your Instagram account. If they were to do so, they’d of course be expecting exclusive content on every account. And if that was the case, how do you make sure they follow link after link to visit all your social media profiles?
By linking every one of these accounts to your photography website, you can ensure that those interested enough in your work get exactly the information you want them to. Driving traffic to your principal online portfolio is actually one of the main benefits of social media for photographers. If someone likes your work enough to visit a second site, you should make sure it has everything they might be looking for.
Let your personal style shine through
If you want people to remember your name, you must find a way to stand out from the crowd. But doing so in a platform where several million other users are aiming for the same thing with the exact same tools might prove quite complicated. The vast majority of social media channels present images on a grid-based layout with a white background. Some of them even crop the images into squares to ensure a perfectly balanced layout. Sure, you can create patterns based on your posting chronology, but your portfolio will be nearly identical to any other on the platform anyway.
The only way to make sure people see your work as you intended is creating your own photography website. Whether you build it from scratch or use a personalizable photography website template, the end result will truly reflect who you are. You’ll be able to choose everything from the layout and color scheme, to the fonts and content sections.
Offer your services and get booked
As a photographer, getting booked is probably pretty high up on your list of priorities. While social media is a great tool to connect and engage with your audience, it’s not as great when it comes to actually doing business. Let’s say you’re a portrait photographer with a significant following on Instagram. You’ll be visiting Portland in a couple weeks and offer your followers the chance to book a photoshoot during your time there. You break the news in your stories and wait for the DMs to flow in. When they do, you get a lot of questions about the photoshoot, from duration and price to images included and delivery time. Many people are writing to you at the same time and you know they might change their mind if you take too long to answer.
Now let’s imagine the same scenario but with a photography website. You plan your trip and share a link to your services page. People visit the link and get all the information they need about the photoshoot, and will only contact you with very specific questions, if at all. They can even schedule an appointment right away with Wix Bookings, which will show them the available time slots on your calendar, ensuring a smooth and headache free process for everyone.
Encourage people to reach out
Humans crave a sense of social connection. It is, in fact, one of the main traits we identify as “humane.” And so it shouldn’t come as a shock that this feeling plays a huge role in business success. People looking for a photographer are much more likely to hire someone they know or feel connected to, especially in the case of portrait and event photographers. Social media captions offer a great opportunity to let your personality shine, but are likely to be rapidly forgotten as users continue their journey down their feeds.
Having a website allows you to share more of yourself, without having to limit your words to a couple of lines that fit below the “read more” section. You can start by creating an insightful “About Me” page to share your story and goals. Clients want to hire photographers who are passionate about what they do, not about how much they can make. The second step is putting together a beautiful contact page to encourage visitors to reach out to you. This will allow you to build meaningful conversations with people who love your work, whether they plan on working with you right away or in the future.
Showcase only your very best work
It’s no secret that social media platforms value regular engagement with other users over amazing content quality. Otherwise, they’d have to change their name to something like “stunning media,” and it wouldn’t be quite the same. Because of this, it’s much better to share 100 average images than a single outstanding one. Since the images are showcased in chronological order, your very best work gets lost among a feed of pictures you’re not so proud of. As a result, the chances of anyone seeing that mind blowing shot you shared a year ago are next to none.
You need a photography website to make sure that image is the first thing people see of your work, followed by a few other pictures taken months apart from each other. The order in which they are displayed are according to your own rules. What is time, anyway? One of the biggest photography web design trends in 2019 is using a single gallery on your site, with large uncropped versions of your images. This gives you the middle ground between the simplicity of a social media feed and the high-quality requirements of a professional portfolio. Make sure to look up the best resolution for website photos to display your work at their best!
Improve client satisfaction and exposure
The customer may not always be right, but they sure need to be happy with your work. When you offer a service, client satisfaction is one of the important things. At the end of the day, word-of-mouth is just as important (if not more) than the marketing budget you’re putting on promoting your business. Ideally, the service you provide should be top notch, from the first contact to long after you deliver the images. Social media might allow you to get contacted by potential clients and share a couple of final images of the work, but that’s about as far as it goes.
We have already mentioned that a photography website can have a major impact on how clients reach out and book your services, but what happens once the photos have been taken? The vast majority of the people you work with will look forward to sharing the final results with their friends and family, or on their own social media profiles. Using Wix Photo Albums to create private galleries will allow them to easily do so, while you expand the reach of your website and increase the number of potential clients who see your work.
Make sure you can be found online
If you’re not online you don’t exist. While this may sound like a funny anecdote, it couldn’t be more true for businesses of all kinds - including photographers. Of course, being on social media inherently means you’re online. And if people search for your name they’ll likely find their way to your accounts on different platforms.
But here’s the trick: The people who look up your name already know you. The chances of a new potential client searching for your name without already knowing your work are virtually nonexistent. Most common searches include the type of photographer they’re looking for and the location. In order to make sure your work shows up among the results, you’ll need a photography website and some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) groundwork. Don’t worry, we’ve already put together everything you need to know about SEO for photographers, from picking the right keywords, to getting your pictures found on Google Images.
Broaden your audience and keep in touch
Images may be worth thousands of words, but you can’t expect them to do all the talking for you. As great as social media is to keep your audience updated, some things need to stay relevant for longer than the period these platforms offer you. For example, if you are sharing behind-the-scenes work on your stories, people who didn’t check your profile in 24 hours will completely miss out. Same goes for giveaways, offers, tutorials, and any other snackable content you might be sharing on top of your regular posting schedule.
The website solution for this? You should write a photography blog. Yes, even if writing is not your strongest skill. A blog allows you to keep your community updated without a time limit, and you can even make sure they don’t miss any important events by creating a newsletter. On top of that, your blog posts can give your SEO a boost, improving your visibility on search engines. This offers you the chance to position yourself as an expert in your field by sharing tips and techniques other photographers might find useful.
Monetize your online presence
For artists across all disciplines, having their work displayed on someone’s wall is one of the biggest compliments possible. The Internet has made this easier than ever before, but it usually requires a lot of time and effort, as well as money, to care for management and transaction fees. And if you want to sell both digital and print copies, you’re looking at two more platforms to take care of on top of all your social media accounts.
That is, of course, if you don’t have a photography website that offers an all-in-one solution that takes care of all technicalities for you. All you need to do is add Wix Art Store to your site and select the images you want to sell and the types of products you want to offer. The app is fully personalizable, and works as a gallery to which you can add titles and descriptions, as well as watermarks.
Power your marketing efforts
Every business requires some amount of marketing, and every marketing effort requires something to promote. If you’re looking to grow a specific account, promoting content on that social network is your best option. But what happens if you want to grow your business, both online and offline? You wouldn’t want to limit your reach by promoting a channel that a significant part of your audience doesn’t use - no matter how many followers you have there.
If you have read any of the points above this one, you know that you need a website to make the most out of any photography marketing ideas. Not only will your audience be able to see your best work right away, it’s also the place where they can learn more about you and seamlessly book your services. And best of all - they don’t need to be active on any kind of platform in order to access all this information.
What are you waiting for? Create a free photography website with Wix today!