When putting together their Web sites, most photographers focus exclusively on the selection of images and the way they are presented. But potential client want to do more than just see your pictures. They want information about you, who you’ve worked with and what it’s like to work with you.
Remember that your online portfolio is a surrogate for personal interaction. Ideally you’d be able to sit down in person with every potential client and show them your portfolio. Since this isn’t possible, imagine your Web site taking on that role. What would the potential client get out of the meeting?
First, they would see you. So always be sure to have a picture of yourself on your site. And not just a generic guy or gal with a camera picture that show up on so many photographer’s site. Use a portrait that conveys who you are.
Next, they would hear you. Consider having either an audio recording, or perhaps a video with audio, in which you describe your approach to creativity, working with clients or any other topic that would be likely to come up in a face-to-face meeting. But keep the audio or video clip to 30 seconds or less.
Lastly, they would ask you questions. These could be general questions about how you work or they could be questions that refer to specific images. In either case you can easily add this information to your site. For general questions, have an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. For specific images, have a sufficient description with each image. Also, on each page you should have a form titled “Ask Me a Question” or some other way for visitors to your site to ask you they type of spontaneous question they might ask in person.
Your Web site should be a extension of you. While your images are important, they are only one slice of who you are. Potential clients not only want to see that you are capable of creating great images, they also want to get a sense of what it’s like to work with you. For photo buyers, photo assignments and even a stock purchases, are not only about the images but also about the process. What does your site convey about who you are and what it’s like to work with you?
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