There are millions of photographers on the internet. So what’s going to make a potential client pick you over the rest after a quick glance at your website?
1. Unique design: Please, avoid templates like they’re the plague. You must be creative and “wow” your visitors. That doesn’t mean that you can’t start with a template, but be sure to make it your own. You’re not going to stand out from the pack with a popular theme that the viewer has seen a hundred times before.
Check out this inspiring post on The Photo Argus that showcases a slew of impressive portfolio designs from professional photographers. It should get the proverbial juices flowing.
“I think this will be worthwhile for anybody who wants to create an online portfolio for their photography and is looking for some inspiration. As an added bonus you get to look at some amazing photography. Now who doesn’t like to do that.” –The Photo Argus
There are easy tweaks you can make to further personalize your site. One is the use of a favicon, which is the small 16×16 pixel icon displayed next to your site’s title and URL. Anybody who is somebody uses one.
If you already have a square logo, it would be ideal to use here. Otherwise, initials fit very well in a favicon space, that’s what I’ve done below with my site title.
Above are a few website favicons as they appear in a tabbed browser. If your site lacks a favicon, the space appears blank as it is on the far right. That makes you boring, and you most certainly don’t want to be boring. Give your title space some flavor so that people want to follow your link from the search engine results.
The process of adding a favicon tends to differ between providers, but many services have an option or tutorial that explains it. If they don’t make it easy for you, a user on Adobe’s contributor blog details how to alter your own code to add a favicon if you’re not already privy to it.
2. Keep your aesthetic simple and clean: Avoid a busy design and keep your color scheme and fonts consistent. As a portfolio of your work, your photos are the most integral elements of the site and should therefore be emphasized the most. Never let your design take away from the content.
When choosing colors for your page layout, a monochromatic scheme can be very effective. You can still achieve a creative design with just one or two colors, and using varying shades of the same color can make for a fresh aesthetic appeal. I personally find that a classic black and white arrangement works remarkably well for exhibiting photographs and other graphic content.
3. Brand yourself: You’ll need a logo to use with all of your work and establish a consistent brand. Apply the logo to watermarks on your photos, contact pages, and even on business cards. Getting people to associate your graphic logo with your name is an important step in the right direction (I’d also recommend revisiting Boccardi and Theocharis’ respective pages for examples of slick branding.)
Another huge part of the branding process is letting your visitors get to know you. Every photographer must include an “about me” section on their site. It’s a space where you can justify that you’re a professional, detail your experience as a photographer, list any awards you may have received, and even include a portrait of yourself.
Clients are always going to be more comfortable if they can see the face behind the camera. It’s a personable reassurance that you actually exist, and that you look friendly enough to trust.
Include a graphic presentation of any awards you’re claiming if at all possible. This catches a viewer’s eye and provides extra credibility.
Consider including contact info on every page, or at the very least your name. Make sure you’re making it easy for visitors to get in touch, because they’ll be far more apt to do so if the information is already right in front of them. Also, having a full business address present on your site that matches with any you’ve included on other business directories (such as Yelp, Google Plus Business, The Photographer List) is beneficial. When you have matching addresses on various listings, it’s easier for people to contact you and adds credibility to your commercial persona.
When creating your bio page, stop and give some thought as to how you’re presenting the material. It’s hard to retain a humble demeanor when talking yourself up, so an effective way to bypass an undesirable tone is to alternatively speak in the third person.
Instead of “I have been awarded multiple accolades for my remarkable talent as a portrait photographer.”
Write “John has been awarded multiple accolades for his remarkable talent as a portrait photographer.”
4. Show your strongest work: You should be selective with what you show viewers; quality over quantity. You only have one chance to impress the newcomer, so you need to make it count.
Your homepage should, in some way, exhibit your very best work (I go with a “top 8” slideshow). It’s important for your entire portfolio to be whittled down to the cream of the crop, and of those images you should show the finest first on your homepage.
5. Make your photos BIG: Many photographers disservice themselves by creating a site display or gallery with small images. Utilize your space! Be sure your photographs expand to fill the page.
One vital detail to consider when you’re including large images on your website is resolution. Big photos need to be high resolution – make sure that they are displayed to their full potential and that your photos aren’t showing signs of pixilation, stretching or digital artifacts when people see them in your portfolio.
6. Avoid mistakes: One would think that this is a given part of creating any website, but I believe it’s worth reiterating. A significant part of standing out positively has to do with not standing out negatively. Your website needs to present itself as a flawless, efficient machine.
I can’t explain how often I land on a site and pick out a blatant error in design or copy in under a minute. There are a lot of carelessly built pages out there, and people are inclined to notice and talk about laughable mistakes more so than brilliant designs they’ve encountered.
Here’s a short compilation of silly mistakes to avoid and some examples:
Broken links. These are by far the worst mistakes to make. If people can’t navigate your site, you’re naturally going to lose leads (especially with a broken contact page). Examples:
The link on the left works, but the one on the right doesn’t. You can spot this quickly by seeing whether or not the hand cursor appears when scrolling over a link or button.
Misspelled copy (the most common slip-up). A good way to avoid this is by typing up your content in a program with active spell check, and pasting it into your page later. To avoid whatever a spell check engine won’t catch, have a peer read and edit your copy before going live.
Unfinished labels and loose ends. There are worse sins, however photos labeled with generic file names look sloppy and can inhibit communication if you or a client need to refer to particular files on your site. Here’s an example:
Be sure that every photo is labeled appropriately. A cleaner way this might read: “Smith Wedding, 7/13/12 (01)”
Vague site titles. This goes along with unfinished labels, but when your site title appears as the default hosting title or the page link, it’s a loose end that could be utilized to brand your page.
Here’s what you don’t want to see. It’s easy as pie to alternatively have your title include your company name and a short description of your services. (This will also make it easier for people to find your website in a search, as long as you’re careful not to violate Google’s Penguin Update policies.)
So, assuming that you already have the talent and captivating photographic content behind you, the tips herein will serve to fortify your website and give you a serious edge on the competition. Now get out there and kick some ass.
(view original post via Prime Social Marketing)