When starting out with your photography business things can be exciting and frustrating all at once. On one hand, you’re breaking out of your comfort zone and building a business around your passion. On the other hand, the business side of things become necessary evils. You now have to build a brand, you have to market that brand and you have to run your brand the legal way. All of this can be intimidating because it takes you away from the passion that overall started all of this but I’m here to tell you that it can be just as fun as creating the beautiful images that have gotten you to this point. You still need to be creative in order to build a successful brand, you just need to use your creative juices in other areas.
In this article, I want to explain to you how you can use your creative juices to build your photography website and why it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY that you build one TODAY to jumpstart your photography business.
Maybe you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve been shooting for a while and you’re using social media to market your brand to get your name out there. For whatever category best fits you, getting your website up and going today isn’t something that you want to wait on if you are truly trying to build a successful brand. We’ll start with a few reasons on why having a website presence is important:
- To give your brand a strong online presence
- Having a website gives you instant credibility
- Google is a powerful search engine
- To have full creative control over your content
- Not being a slave to social media
- Room for expansion (e-commerce, newsletters, blogs, subscriptions)
- It gives you a true marketing tool
Let’s go over these topics in more detail.
There’s something to be said when “yourname.com” comes up in a web search over “your name | Instagram”. People are more inclined to click on the .com over the social media site first. They can instantly find out who you are, what your work looks like and what your pricing is like. Yes I know that you can display those details on some of your social media sites but you always want to look at things from a consumer perspective.
Imagine that you are looking for a specific Nike shoe. You know the name of the shoe and you type that name in google. What comes up first is from a store but it’s from a store that you’ve never heard of. Maybe 2 or 3 results below that, you see the title that you searched with Nike.com at the end of it. You might click on the first result. It doesn’t quite look like what you searched for but it’s close. The price might be a less than what you imagined as well. Not a bad deal but are you looking at a knock-off shoe or the authentic shoe? You back out of that page and click on the result with nike.com associated with it. You find exactly the shoe that you were searching for, you see different options, and the price is about what you thought it was or close to it. You feel much better about purchasing this shoe from Nike over a store that you’ve never heard of. You don’t know how safe your purchase is on this other site but you know that Nike’s website is secure and legit.
Another example: How many times have you searched for a brand on Facebook only to find 10 options with the same name or similar to it come up in the results. Yes, you can get the same results on google but where having a web presence helps is, you can provide someone with the url of your site that isn’t “www.facebook.com/yourname3904826”. Yourname.com looks a lot better.
To have full creative control over your content:
One of the major benefits to having a website for your photography business that I feel is overlooked is, it gives you the ability to be a creative artist on a different scale. When using social media platforms, you’re stuck to how their platform is setup. On Facebook and Twitter, you’re using a timeline structure. Viewers have to scroll through your page to find content. On Facebook you have the ability to click on the photos tab and view albums of photos whereas Twitter and Instagram don’t have that option. On Instagram, you’re working on a grid platform. Viewers view your content on a timeline but your page is setup on a 3 column grid. You have the ability to be very creative with your grid but it’s a ton of upkeep to maintain the overall look. On the other hand, your website can look however you decide you want it to look. You can create a gallery of photos to look one way and you can design your blog to have a completely different vibe. I enjoy making updates and redesigning pages on my website, I never know what I’m going to come up with. Some treat it as a daunting task but if you embrace your website as something that is informal but yet creative, it can actually be a lot of fun designing.
Another huge benefit to your website is YOUR content. It’s your content; you created it, you display it the way that you want to. You don’t have guidelines and regulations that you’re held to with your own website. You don’t have to be bothered by trolls posting negative comments if you don’t allow that on your site. You don’t have to worry about viewers reporting your work. The biggest thing is that you’re not fighting competition for views. People that visit your site clicked on or typed in your url to be there…They made an effort to visit your site. You have the ability to construct your site in the fashion of which you want it to be viewed!
Room for expansion:
Being an entrepreneur means that you constantly have to be innovative, creative and you always have to be thinking outside of the box. Looking for new ways to be creative can sometimes be frustrating. Keeping your ears open to what you clientele is asking for is key in running your business. Utilizing your insights across your different platforms and your website are a great way of knowing what people like and what they want. That’s an added benefit to having a website but you can use that information to start an email list and or a blog to send out info that your clientele didn’t know that they wanted. Having a website gives you the ability to expand into other areas and add different streams revenue if you so choose.
It gives you a true portfolio:
As I mentioned earlier, displaying your work the way that you intend for it to look is huge. You’re the artist! You’re the story teller of these images so you want for a new visitor of your site to see the story that you’re telling them. You don’t have the ability to pair your images with the words behind it and, with your creative touch anywhere else.
The only limitations to the display of your work is the work that you don’t display. No need to construct a site that looks like someone else’s. Make it your own! Add your personality to your site and be true to your viewers, they’ll keep coming back.
Online Website Builders:
There are a handful of website builders available with a number of options and different pricing structures that you will want to research before diving into building your website. The good thing is, they’re all fairly easy to use and offer a ton of different options to suite your needs. I personally use Squarespace and I like it. Just like anything, it has its pros and cons. Listed below are a few different options that I am aware of in 2022 that are great for portfolio and servicing sites:
Of course there others available. Start with researching other photographer’s sites and look at elements that fit the vision that you have for your site. Write down a list of key features that you’re looking for based on these elements that you want for your site. Price shop as well. Not all website builders are created equal but they do all offer what is needed to get your site up & running in a matter of hours. Don’t wait any longer! This is a task in part of running your business that you cannot neglect.