Having a Website: What is Myth and what is Fact?
You can’t really be serious about photography without a proper web presence. Well you can, but then you probably want to be left alone with your camera and your photos and you have no desire of sharing your work or talent with anyone. That’s probably not you so let’s move on.
Perhaps the ultimate tool when it comes to having the right kind of web presence is your personal photography website. It should be your online home, no matter if you’re an enthusiast or a hard working pro. Now there are several myths about having a website and I wanted to confront them with real life. And that’s what I did. Here is what’s real and what’s not.
Myth: You can’t go into business without a website.
Fact: It depends what kind of photography business you want to run, but for 90% of cases…you guessed it, you need a website. Most people rarely have the time to meet up and have a look at your wonderfully printed photos. They would much rather sit on their couches with their iPads and do their viewing which means it’s pretty important to be present online. Even if most of your work comes from other types of advertising and promoting, like word of mouth and recommendations, you still need to have a place where people can view your work online.
Myth: Having a website will bring you more clients.
Fact: In real life, a website might bring you work. If you’re starting to get confused, hear me out. You probably know by now that you need a solid portfolio to get noticed by potential clients and professionals from creative fields and the art world. You also know that if you’re going to have a website, you might as well get a good one. The ugly truth is that it’s only part of the story. The most amazing photos and the most eye-catching webpage won’t even get you a phone call if people don’t know about it. Simply having it will change very little in your professional activity. On the other hand, if you spread the news about your webpage, make it as public as possible and use every opportunity to attract visits, then you might start noticing some changes.
Myth: It’s the photos that matter the most, not the design.
Fact: Back in the early 2000s, this would have been true. Part of it actually still is, but let’s take it from the top. A strong portfolio is a must, no matter what kind of photography you’re into. However showing that work in an ugly, prehistoric, tasteless platform will turn it into something almost worthless. A photographer shouldn’t just be someone who takes nice pictures. He should be a professional of all things visual and that means balance between quality of work and quality of webpage. It needs to be tailored to the photos. On the other hand, if you have an impeccable theme on your website, one that is a real eye candy, but your photos look like they’re were taken by a 9 year old using a point and shoot…well, that’s a different kind of drama.
Myth: Once I have a website, people will find me easier
Fact: No, they won’t. Sure, if they Google your name it might be the first link to pop-up, right on top of your Facebook page, but you want more than that. Running a website involves some writing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For example, if your name is Bob Smith and you’re a wedding photographer in Philadelphia, the link to your page should pop-up as soon as someone Googles “Philadelphia wedding photographer”. Invest some time in learning these techniques because they could be the difference between an average business and a good one.
Myth: I can substitute a website with other accounts like Flickr and 500px.
Fact: 500px is an amazing place to find incredible photographers and show your premium work. Flickr has also gotten better and better lately, and it is no longer a modern form of torture when used. But neither these, nor other photography communities that offer the possibility of creating your profile page and gallery are good enough for replacing your own .com. If you’re looking for serious clients, with serious money, you need to consider that they’re looking for a serious photographer with a professional web presence.