One of the first things my better half said to me on our first date was, “I’ve never known another photographer who actually made enough money to live.”
I didn’t realize it until he said it, but I had never known a full-time photographer in the flesh, either. I met Greta Rybus a couple times, but never anyone who worked on a local level and made enough to keep the lights on.
Years later, I’m still learning all the time about how to make my photography business more efficient, while producing better work and enhancing my overall quality of life. It’s not a perfect science! That said, it’s no surprise given how few full-time photographers there are out there that even though I’m always learning I get questions every week about how to do what I’m so blessed to do.
I’ve actually just wrapped content on something amazing just for photographers that goes deep on building a sustainable business, but until that premieres, here are a few steps you can start taking today to book more clients, right from your website!
#1: Get rid of all those client galleries.
If you’re a photographer, loading your website with galleries probably seems like the most intuitive way to share your skill, style, and experience all at the same time. Not to mention every time a new gallery is added, Google registers that the website is active, which is good for your SEO.
But are dozens of client galleries the best way to book new clients?
Here’s an idea most photographers never think of—and even the ones that do have a hard time committing to it. Get rid of all your client galleries. Why? Well, for all their benefits, galleries—especially too many of them—pose some real problems:
Client galleries are almost always filled with batches of images that are only slightly different from each other. While this is awesome for the client who paid for those photos, it’s boring for prospective clients. It can feel like wading through boxes and boxes of photos in a stranger’s garage when you load your website up with galleries!
What you want is artful curation of your top images to engage your web traffic to keep moving through your site. Choose the best photos from your best shoots to display—and if you must have a galleries page, consider organizing it by category rather than by client (maternity images, engagement sessions, and headshots, for instance).
Too many galleries (and other content) can obscure the path to your Call to Action. Did you know it takes the average internet user 3 visits to a website before they take any real action (such as buying or filling out the contact form)? You want to make the path to contact you as clear-cut and easy-to-repeat as possible. If there’s too much clutter on your website, it can frustrate your visitors when they can’t find something specific the second time they look for it—or make them question whether what they liked was something they saw on your site or another photographer’s.
Try to keep your portfolio to a single page, and make it easy for web visitors to contact you directly from that page so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
Galleries actually aren’t very creative. A dynamic website experience invites the visitor in by appealing to their senses in as many ways as possible. Layering images with images or images with text, creating composites, or creating backgrounds from images creates a fuller experience while requiring you to load less to your site. This website, this one, this one and this one are all great examples of these design concepts—and they strike the balance between “enough content to excite” and “not to much content that it buries the prospect.”
#2: Start a screening process for what you share (i.e., Don’t share everything you’ve ever shot).
Unless you’re pretty well established, you’re likely to get requests from time to time for work to be done in a style that isn’t really yours.
Maybe you’re a light-and-airy photographer, but a high-paying client asks you to shoot something dark and moody. You might do an excellent job and think that was a fun project, but if it’s not the style you usually shoot, it’s going to look odd on your website, not like you have a diverse skill set.
Furthermore, you really only want to share the kinds of projects you enjoy most so you can attract more of them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentored another photographer or designer and they’ve told me they “hated” a particular assignment they have posted prominently on their website. “You’re going to get more work like this if you keep this on your website,” I always tell them, and their eyes widen and they realize for the first time they don’t have to pad their portfolio with literally everything they’ve ever created.
Only share work that best reflects your style, talents, and preferred kinds of work—and you will attract more of that!
#3: Create content that’s about your ideal client, not you.
Your blog isn’t just a place for you to share photos you’ve shot recently. It’s also a place to demonstrate how knowledgable you are and how much you take care of your clients.
Think about the blogs you love to frequent. Is each post just a long lineup of photos of people you’ve never met—or are the blogs you visit filled with stories, helpful tips, and other goodies that serve you?
Think about the questions you get the most: “What should I wear for my session?” “Should I get my hair done before?” “Where is the best place to get my photos printed?” “How many photos can I expect?”
Turn these FAQ into blog posts! Break your knowledge and advice down into bite-sized pieces, share fun facts, tell your funniest horror stories, and really become the helpful human that will make new people want to work with you and you alone. Then insert your best images as examples of the kinds of information you provide—you get to showcase your work in a way that is meaningful to your target clients.
Finally, share that content everywhere! You’ll double your business before you know it.
Was this helpful? If so, pin the post so you never lose it! Then drop me a comment below to tell me where your best “Ah-ha!” moment occurred for you in this article. I can’t wait to see how these tips help you book more clients!
Hello! My name is Alexis.
Coffee lover, day dreamer, foodie, and creative. Currently working and living in New Hampshire, I’m an eclectic mix of forward-looking and completely old-fashioned.