In this digital age it is pretty much a given that you need to be online to make it as a professional photographer. In fact, your online identity, including your website, social media presence, portfolio, and other online tactics, is becoming a bigger part of your brand. And in photography your brand is everything. It is the reason clients choose to work with you. And it is the reason they tell their friends about you.
A big area of focus for photographers is on their websites. In a survey we did recently, we compiled a list of some of the top concerns photographers have with their website. Do you identify with any of these?
- Whether your website design is modern enough
- Whether your website is mobile friendly
- How much time you’ve been spending on your website
- How to effectively do SEO
- How to customize your site to align with your brand
- Whether you are updating your website frequently enough
If you are stressing out about any of these areas, you are stressing out about the wrong things. That’s because these are really just symptoms of an underlying question: how do you meet and book more clients online.
Once you realize that, you’ll realize that you don’t need to put all that pressure on yourself and on your website. The tool (or web agency) you used to build your website is just one tool in your toolbox of many tools you can use online. Your website is just one way of many ways to engage prospective clients and current clients online.
One you fully embrace that concept, things get much simpler.
Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket — your website — and spending hours and hours tweaking with minimal return on your time, you can instead build your web presence in other ways, trying out new, innovative tactics until you find out what works in YOUR market and YOUR niche. And then double down on the tactics that work and ride that wave to success.
As an example of what I mean, let me share an innovative way to put a spin on the standard portfolio website.
Create a separate portfolio for each of your niches
Many photographers shoot more than one type of photography (e.g. portrait, wedding, newborn, senior, pet, commercial, landscape, etc) but only have one website. They end up putting all of their different niches on one site. This means that if someone is looking for portrait photography, they may visit your site, see a wedding image, and close your website and move on to to someone else.
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Studies show you only have about 7 seconds to engage someone through your website. You engage them by showing them something that is relevant to them and the reasons they are there. If they see something that isn’t relevant, you risk them leaving.
The way to solve this is by creating a separate portfolio for each of your niches. A wedding portfolio that has only wedding images. A portrait portfolio that has only portrait images. And so on and so forth.
You don’t want to just have these portfolios on your main site, because then people may see images that don’t relate to them as they browse around and may leave your site. Instead, setup the portfolios at a different URL. For example you can post them under:
- A new subdomain: newborn.johndoephotography.com
- A new folder: www.johndoephotography.com/newborn
- A completely new domain: www.johndoenewbornphotography.com
Next, you don’t want to link to the other types of photography in the menu on your portfolio site. Better yet, ditch the menu all together. That is just adding noise and confusion for your site visitors. Instead keep things simple with your images for that niche, perhaps a few paragraphs of information about you and your business, and information on how they can contact you. Simple, direct, and to the point.
Here’s a few examples that we’ve created to demonstrate what we mean.
Wedding photography portfolio site
Senior photography portfolio site
In both cases, the sites are kept simple with just the images for the specific niche, some brief background information on the studio, social media links, and contact links. There is no menu and both are just a single page. This does not take the place of your website, but can supplement it for use in particular situations.
When to use custom portfolio sites
There are lots of ways you can use portfolios for each of your niches. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Put a link to your portfolio in your email signature. Change which portfolio link is in your signature depending on what niche the client is in who you are emailing with.
- Use the link to your portfolio on your business card. You can make different business cards for each niche.
- Text the link to your portfolio to people who you meet at networking events.
Remember the idea is that you have a portfolio for each of your niches, and are sharing the right portfolio site with the right person.
Interested in implementing this strategy in your business? Click here to check out StickyFolios, which makes it easy to create a portfolio site for each of your business niches.