How to make sure your photography website stands out from the crowd
I’ve got a soft spot for photographers. I tried my hand at running my own photography side hustle with a little success, but realized my purpose was elsewhere.
I still swoon and fuss over moody wedding photos shot in the mountains, intimate moments caught in seemingly random moments, and captivating portraits.
Because of my love for photogs, I knew that I had to make a post helping out my fellows from a past life. A photographer’s website is super important in telling your story as a artist, and telling the story of the intricate people and objects in front of your lenses.
A lot of photographers simply use their websites as a portfolio to display their work and hope that will be enough. However, the photographers that stand out amoungst their peers are the ones that think of their website as a storytelling tool.
A journey through what working with you is like and how working with you to capture your special moments is a no-brainer choice.
Let’s get into what makes a photographer’s website successful, and some things that you should avoid if you truly want your website to stand out.
Don’t keyword stuff
Keyword stuffing is something people are moving away from (thank god) but I knew that I had to at least mention it here to make sure that no one makes this horrid mistake.
So what is keyword stuffing? Keyword stuffing is placing a bunch of keywords (usually ones that you want to show up in Google search results for) and place a bunch of them all in one place with no real rhyme or reason to them. They’re not used in a sentence, not in ALT text, they’re just there. I understand the reasoning behind doing that: you don’t want to just show up when someone googles Dallas Wedding Photographer, you want to show up when someone googles Austin Wedding Photographer as well.
How to do SEO the right way
So how do I approach keywords in the right way? Through your page descriptions, copywriting, blog posting, and photo ALT tags. Using your keywords naturally throughout your website will alert the SEO robots that you aren’t trying to cheat the algorithm, and that you’re naturally speaking to your readers.
Don’t think that just because most of your website is filled with beautiful photos that SEO can’t work out in your favor. You still have to pay your respects to the SEO gods and fall in line like the rest of us.
Don't let your blog go to waste
I see this one a lot and I definitely think that this a missed opportunity. Despite all of the Google love that you’re missing (no blog content for the robots to search and put in search results) you’re missing an important opportunity for your future clients to get to know you and your business.
Think about it: photographing everyday people can be an intimate moment. Even if you do single person portraits; they’re up close, personal, and bleeding with emotion. Not everyone that wants to work with you has been in front of a camera before; you understand what goes into working with a photographer and how to help people be themselves in front of a camera.
Through your blog, you’re able to connect with them, show them your personality, and let them get to know who you are. The more they feel like they can relate and like you, the easier it’ll be when it’s time for them to step in front of your lens.
Show them how to find their best side, discuss (with examples) how you get your couples to relax during their engagement shoots, talk about how some of your favorite photos came together and what you did to capture that moment.
I go into more detail in this post here: Why Photographers should be blogging + ten topics to get you started.
Here's what you should be doing:
Talking about your process
Here’s another opportunity for you to connect with your audience and your future clients. Like we discussed before, some of the people that will be hiring you will be getting their photos taken professionally for the first time. If there are things about your process that you think make you stand out, or you think clients should know before they get in contact, your website is a great time to talk about that. Discuss what happens after they contact you, a rough timepline of when they’ll get their photos, etc.
You don’t have to write a detailed step by step thesis of your process: keep it concise and clear. Transparency is key here. (You can go in depth with the steps in your Studio/Client welcome packet!)
Talking about feelings and emotions surrounding the final product
I know this may sound obvious (and maybe a little harsh), but hiring a photographer is a luxury. *Gasp* I know. I hope that didn’t hurt your feelings, but people don’t have to hire a photographer for their wedding just like they don’t have to hire a web designer like me.
We all know why people do both of those things though: they want photographs to capture special memories so they can be passed down from generation to generation, and business owners/creatives want a website that showcases the heart of their brand and helps them reach their goals.
They want to hire you to capture moments from the most memorable days of their lives. They want images that are filled with happiness, fill them with pride, make them feel beautiful, and remind them of good times. So you’re not really selling just a photo, are you? You’re selling memories captured. Take the time to describe the feelings that your photos evoke. Talk about what the memories that you capture mean to your clients. Better yet, let your past client’s testimonials do that for you. Let your past clients discuss the emotional and tangible benefits of working with a badass like you.
All in all, don’t let your website simply be a place where your work goes to die. As much work as you put into Facebook, IG, etc. you should put that much work into your website. Keep things updated, write posts that help your future clients understand what it’s like to work with a photographer of your caliber, and please the SEO gods so they send you clients from all over the world.