Building a website can be a daunting task for photographers.
While photographers are exceptional visual artists, that skill doesn’t always translate into an effective website. Between hand-selecting your favorite images, choosing a design layout, and learning the tech behind building a website, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many moving pieces, we wanted to help you out by identifying five website components that are easy to overlook.
Your contact page is arguably the most important page on your website, as your website is often the first point of contact for new clients. Your contact page gives customers a way to get in touch with you.
You should always include the following things on your contact page:
- Your name. This is an easy detail to overlook. Even if your photography company is your first and last name, it’s important to state your actual name on the contact page.
- A working contact form. Test your contact form to make sure you’re receiving emails from your contact page to your inbox. Make sure all fields work, and that you’re asking for all the information that you need to have upfront in order to make an informed reply.
- A response time frame. Clearly state when the inquirer can expect your reply. You can include office hours, or general timelines such as “within 48 hours”. Make sure to update this section if you go on vacation, or are out of the office for unusual periods of time. Follow through on this timeline to show customers you are dependable.
The navigation bar is usually located along the top or left side of your website. These links direct a visitor to different pages of your site. When building your navigation, it’s important to consider the following:
- Keep it simple. Your navigation should be brief and to-the-point. Keep your number of links to a minimum (6 links at the most). If visitors can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they are more likely to leave your site.
- Consider your audience. What words are your visitors looking for? Do not use industry terms when building your navigation. “Weddings” and “Family” are universally understood photography categories; “Documentary” is not. Consider removing industry terms, most website visitors won’t know what you mean.
- Feature your specialty. Your navigation should highlight the type of work that you want to get hired for. Don’t be a generalist. Feature your specialty on your homepage (it should be the first photo a visitor sees on the site), and give it a dedicated link in your navigation.
When you build your online portfolio, be selective and show only your best work. Showcase just one photo from each session. To highlight more of your best images from a session, link the featured photo to an extended gallery or a blog post about the session.
On your portfolio page, display only the type of work that you want to be hired to shoot. Choose images that represent the perfect intersection of:
- What you’re good at
- What you like to shoot
- What will attract your ideal client
Narrowing your portfolio down can be difficult, but it leads to more opportunities to get hired for the work you like to shoot, and a portfolio that represents you the best.
Make your location and service area clear on your website. If you are exclusively shooting in California, tell the viewer what regions in California you service. If you are a destination photographer, make it clear how far you’re willing to travel. Showing your main location on your website (even if you’re willing to travel) helps potential clients get a sense of who you are and what areas you normally shoot in. On the same note: If a client loves your work, but is based outside your service area, it’s better they know this upfront to prevent any misunderstandings.
“Narrowing your portfolio down can be difficult, but it leads to more opportunities to get hired for the work you like to shoot, and a portfolio that represents you the best.” - Mastin Labs
There are countless reasons to optimize your site to be mobile friendly. On the tech side, Google prioritizes sites that are mobile friendly. Meaning, if someone types “Wedding Photographers in New York” into a search engine, your site will be shown higher up on the search results list than one of the same quality that is not mobile-friendly.
On the usability side, more and more people are accessing the Internet via a mobile phone. A well designed, clean, and easy-to-use mobile interface speaks to the credibility and professionalism of a company; the opposite is true as well. A visitor that accesses a photography website by mobile phone that is not optimized for mobile devices may encounter jumbled, or partially rendered photographs, tiny navigation, and misplaced links that make interacting with the site nearly impossible, ruining the visitor’s experience and pushing them to take their business elsewhere.
We visit countless photography websites every day, and these are some of the most important features that are often missing from photography websites. So whether you’ve already built a website and want to do a quick audit, or are starting from scratch and want to begin on the right foot, we hope you’ll take these five must-haves and put them into action to make your site fully informative, easily navigable, and attractive to your ideal client.