In this episode of Oh Shoot Podcast!, Cassidy Lynne (@cassidylynne) shares the most important things for making an effective photography website, which will help convert website viewers into paid bookings.
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In today’s episode we are going to be talking all about photography websites. As a photographer, you might be in slow season and your website is always something you can work on. There’s always something to be updated or to change, so we will talk through some of the things that need to be on a photography website and the strategy behind them.
Why You Need a Good Photography Website
You need a good photography website because that is a client’s first impression of you as a whole. Most people might find you on social media now and they have a good idea of what your work looks like before even getting to your website. When they go to your website they want to learn more about you and your work as a whole. Ultimately your website might decide whether someone books with you or not, so we need to treat it like it’s the most important.
A website is also like a middleman. They tend to be a determining factor when it comes to whether or not I book with someone like in the past when I’ve hired photographers for anniversary photos or just general photos. So I might look at a photographer’s Instagram, but I’m also looking to connect with their website. I’m looking for examples of their work and if I can picture myself in their photos. A website is an opportunity to show people what you’re all about, how you take photos, and who you are as a person. So your website and the design can really impact how you’re being perceived.
Where to Get a Quality Website for Photographers
My top website recommendation for photographers is ShowIt. ShowIt is amazing for website building and they have tons of templates that you can plug into your website. ShowIt also allows professional website designers to submit their own themes for Showit, so you can get a website template made for photographers designed by a pro.
If you are just starting out I recommend starting with Squarespace which will be a bit cheaper than ShowIt.
For beginners, Pixieset also provides website templates for photographers.
However, make sure you get a custom domain! This is a huge thing when it comes to professionalism with your website. It shows your client that you have spent time, money, and effort into making your website look good.
For example you don’t want a website URL that looks like: cassidylynne.pixieset.com.
Instead, you want a custom domain that you own like https://cassidylynnephoto.com.
What Photos Go On Your Photography Website
Moment + Emotional Photos over Perfectly Posed
When I was first starting out in my photography business, I would use my most picture-perfect photos on my home page and all over my website. However, these aren’t the photos that are necessarily going to help you book your ideal client. You need more than just pretty portraits. Instead, choose the photos filled with emotion and that showcase moments over the perfectly posed photos. Especially if you’re a wedding photographer, clients want moments. Even if you’re not a wedding photographer, clients want their memories captured and some candids. Showcasing those in-between moments can set you apart from someone who is just good at posing.
Go and replace all the photos on your website with photos that a client can picture themselves in and feel emotionally attached to. Focus on choosing photos that show the change in events. If you’re not a wedding photographer this can feel tricky, so for a family photographer it’s showing those moments of the parents holding hands and walking with their kids from one location to another. Seeing more of the candid and moment photos is what I would look for as a client over the smiling at the camera photos.
With weddings specifically, focus on events like the reception and have a reception photo within the first couple of photos on your website. It’s so important to show your reception photos because receptions can be so tricky to capture. If you’re able to photograph a reception well then you’re likely intermediate or advanced in photography because a lot of newer photographers really struggle with low light and moments when lighting is not perfect. Also, show photos of your couple having so much fun and enjoying themselves. Choose photos that have some sort of emotion attached to them!
Other great events to show on your website home page is parts of the ceremony. For example, the couple walking down the aisle right after or the vows or the kiss. Any of those photos that you take that you think this is the money shot! Getting ready photos and candids in general are also great to have on your website. Anyone can take a pretty photo at sunset, but not everyone can take awesome photos during speeches or during a tough ceremony, so think about those things when it comes to choosing photos for your website.
Pages of Your Website
These are the different pages you should have on your photography website.
- Home Page
- About Page
- Investment Page
- Contact Page
- Reviews sprinkled throughout the pages
The first photo on your home page is a moment photo. Make a slideshow or show multiple photos or a collage where you can see multiple moments at once.
Name, Occupation, & Location
Your homepage needs to right away show your name, your occupation, and your location. Your name will most likely be built into the top of your website. However, people tend to skip over their location and their occupation. It’s so important to let people know what you do and where you’re located. Plus, it will help with SEO to let Google know what you do and where you’re located. The first area available should say Michigan Wedding Photographer or Los Angeles Wedding Photographer, etc.
Some photographers don’t even have that basic information. If you’re looking for a photographer you most likely want them based in your same location and aren’t looking to fly them out.
Map of Your Entire Website
As you scroll through your home page it should go through the different sections that you have on the menu of your website:
- About Section with a short blurb about you, photo of you, and a button to your about page.
Your home page is like a map of where someone can go and experience your website and your different pages.
Convey Your Style
You need to have bold statements on your homepage that clearly convey your style. For example, you have the Michigan Wedding Photographer section, about you section, and then a section that describes your style like “timeless, true to color, raw emotion, etc.” Give people an idea of the type of photos you take and how you work. Maybe you love being a wedding day bestie or third wheel. You want to describe that experience on your home page.
The about page needs photos of you! If you don’t have great photos of yourself book a branding session or set up a tripod to do some self-portraits. Your headshots should be in multiple different outfits, backdrops, and settings. For example, a photo of you with your camera, without your camera, with your favorite iced drink, photos of you taking photos, photo of you smiling, etc. We need the camera and parts of your personality in these photos!
The about page is less about you and more about how you serve your clients and how your clients are going to benefit from your experience. We like to think an about page is about us, but it’s really never about you. You are selling the experience you give! Maybe add a small fun facts section, but ultimately talk about why you love to take photos of couples or why you love family sessions. Whatever your selling point is, this is the page to talk about it.
Everyone needs an investment section unless you’re really that type of luxury photographer. On your investment page, don’t jump right into pricing. Have a section that talks about why photography is a good investment or why to invest in photos.
Then jump into prices and just share starting prices. You need starting prices on your website, but not necessarily your full prices. When someone is looking for a photographer they’re looking for a generic number, not the exact number. So for example having staring prices listed at $4,000 instead of $4,735. Once someone lands in your inbox you can sell yourself more and give them a taste of what the experience of working with you is like.
If you give away all the information on your website, you basically are only going to get inquiries from people who are ready to book with you. If you share starting prices on your website then when someone reaches out to you, you can send them a pricing guide with the full rundown of what it’s like to work with you. You can be very intentional in your email to see if they have any questions or want to book a call because that’s the type of photographer you want to be. You want to meet all the needs of your clients.
Call to Action Buttons
You need to have call to action buttons throughout all your website pages. For example, under your starting prices have a button underneath that says “find out pricing” or “reach out about pricing” or “get my pricing guide here”. When they click on it, it takes them to your contact page. You need those clear call to actions throughout your entire website!
You need to make the booking process very easy! Buttons are huge for converting clients and keeping them on your website and directing them to the right pages. A poor laid out website will truly keep someone from booking with you. We’re in a generation right now where if something is too hard and too complicated to figure out we move on and find something that’s easier to understand. Make it less complicated by having buttons all over your website for someone to reach out to you!
Galleries & Blogs
In my opinion you need two different pages.
Your blog page is for the wordy, SEO-focused blogs, not where you’re just dumping a hundred photos and calling it good. For example blog posts like, “3 Places to Get Married in L.A.” or “3 Places to do Engagement Photos in L.A.” or “5 Place for a Unique Wedding Dress in L.A.” You are using the power of words to tell Google what your website is about and to help you better rank with certain topics. If you want to rank for Los Angeles wedding photographer you need to have blogs that talk about Los Angeles weddings and have those keywords in the blog name or in the first couple lines of the blog. These are going to help anyone looking for something about that topic on Google and it’ll also help with your SEO.
You need another option on your menu tab called Galleries or My Work, etc. This is a separate page to show your work in abundance. Don’t just show one photo from every session. I don’t think that’s a good representation of your work or ability to capture a story. Create a section that is your portfolio that is basically blogs of all your sessions and weddings. Someone should be able to click on a session and see what this one couple’s session looks like. You aren’t sharing all of the photos, but maybe the best 20 out of 100. You’re giving people an opportunity to see more of your work and get a feel for your style. It’s not one photo that someone gets a feel for your style, it’s seeing multiple photos from a wedding or session that someone can understand what someone’s style is like.
Blogging your galleries can also help with your SEO. You’re able to insert keywords into these posts as well. For example, if you did an engagement session at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, then you can title that blog as Griffith Observatory Los Angeles Engagement Session. You show the photos and have a paragraph or two that talks about the couple and the session. It’s going to help with SEO and also help your potential client feel like they’re getting glimpses into full galleries. They’ll feel like they’ve seen so much work on your website that they know what your style is and don’t need to see a full gallery from you.
Text Before Form
Now let’s talk about your contact page! Your contact page should be more than just a form! You should have a blurb at the top of the page with a photo of you. You can talk about your process or just have something like, “Hey thanks for reaching out! I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.” Something that talks about what it’s like to book with you and what’s required for booking.
The Contact Form
You should embed a form that is linked to your client management system. For example, my contact form is connected to my Honeybook. If your form is connected to your client management system then you can apply systems to it!
On your contact form, there is a sweet spot for the number of questions. You need more than the basic three questions: name, email, and details. However, you don’t want to ask so many questions that your contact form is overwhelming to fill out.
- Phone number
- Date of Session/Wedding
- Location of Wedding/Session
- How did you find me
- Anything you want me to know/describe your session or vision to me.
That’s it! The more questions you ask, it’s more likely they’ll give up on completing your form and you’ll lose potential clients!
Final Tips & Tricks for Your Website
Always Refer People to Your Website
I always recommend referring people to your website. If people are trying to inquire with you through your direct messages on Instagram, it can be hard to keep track of it all! Bringing people to my website is always my goal with Instagram and TikTok. My website is where I can really shine! Someone can learn all about me and can get the full experience on my website. Your website should be the landing page from your social media channels to get people to book with you.
Invest in Branding
I would recommend getting branding done if you haven’t already had branding! Talk to a website designer to get the custom fonts, logo, colors, etc. Then your website will look cohesive with your work! It can be obvious when you DIY your website versus investing in branding. Branding is something that really transformed my business because everything feels cohesive with my work.
Update the Photos on Your Website
Now is the time to update your photos and get photos from this last wedding season on your website! Look back on your Instagram posts and see what photos performed really well. One thing I’ve learned from Instagram is that your audience will tell you what your best session was!
The photos on your website should represent what you want to be booking! So if you want to book more boho weddings then you need to show more photos with boho vibes on your website!
I hope this episode lights a fire under you to go and update some things for your website!
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