If you are a photographer, you MUST have a photography portfolio website! This is not an option these days. Sooo many photographers only have an Instagram account or a Facebook page and think that’s enough, or they say that’s all they need. Then they tell me they are having a hard time getting clients!
Here’s the deal, you need both a website presence, and a social media presence. You must think of your website as an online portfolio and brochure for a prospective client to learn more about you, and to determine if they think you might be a good fit for their next project.
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Use Your Social Media To Drive Traffic To Your Website!
You use your social media channels to drive traffic to your website. It’s Yin and Yang, cookies and cream, fillet mignon with a lovely red wine sauce, lobster with some awesome melted, unpasteurized butter. Ok, I got carried away there but you get the idea. This is a partnership of tools.
Once your get your prospect OFF of Instagram or Facebook, you got them all to yourself! They are on YOUR website with only YOUR images. You now have a captured audience my friend.
Your instagram account is a gallery of images – that’s it! Sure you can add some text in the comments, a lot of text actually, but do you want to force your prospects to try to hunt for info about you in your Insta comments? You use Insta to get them to your website so they can learn more.
The Goal Of Your Website Is This:
- Prospects can instantly see what kind of photography you do with organized galleries of images.
- Prospects can instantly find out where you are located, AND how to contact you in THEIR preferred method of contact.
- Prospects can instantly find specific types of images they are looking for via your website navigation.
- Use your website’s SEO to help prospects actually find you.
- Use your website as the place where you send all the traffic from your marketing efforts.
- Use your website to easily communicate to your clients your photography process, and educate them as well.
- Use your website for private client galleries for jobs, and for file delivery.
I’m sorry, but Instagram and Facebook can’t do all that. Instagram and FB are just two of your marketing tools.
I get into little arguments all the time where people calling themselves professional photographers are only using Instagram or Facebook to show their work. I just shake my head because they haven’t learned about all the potential clients they are missing.
Not All Your Clients Are On Insta And Facebook By The Way!
This really is the biggest mistake with only using Instagram or Facebook to attract clients. Why are you making an assumption that ALL your potential clients are on Instagram and Facebook? Just because you are, does not mean they are. Many of our clients don’t have time for any social media usage, and many of them aren’t hiring someone else to do that work for them either.
Sure, some brands are all over social media, but again, not ALL of them. There are tons of huge brands with only a few thousand followers. They put their marketing efforts in places that work for them.
I’m talking about capturing an audience on all platforms. Why limit this to just Instagram or Facebook?
It really doesn’t serve your prospect well if you don’t have a website and you are creating extra work for them to find out all that you do. So you got their attention on Instagram, now what? You have no where to send them.
Ad agencies and design firms would never hire a photographer without a website, and if they did, that would be an absolute rare exception. Sure, it can happen, but I want way better odds than that.
Every time I shoot with a client, I interview them. I ask them how they find their photographers, and where do they go for image inspiration. You have no idea how many of them absolutely dread Instagram and Facebook.
I’ve been shooting a LONG time and I’ve been asking my clients this question a very long time. Seriously, in days of film I was trying to find out what print directories they used to find photographers – it was the Black Book (may they rest in peace), and the Workbook (may they continue on in their amazing glory with their bad selves).
This is why my instagram following is so small. I don’t put a ton of effort into it because the majority of my food clients do not use it to find photographers for 4 figure day rate jobs.
By the way – I have a ton of friends who shoot big jobs like I do. NONE of them use Instagram. We talk about this all the time. It just doesn’t produce the results that they can get from doing targeted marketing to their dream clients, and driving traffic to their own website.
Clients With Cheap Budgets Hunt For Photogs On Instagram
Now, if you want to do the really low budget social media kind of projects, then sure, go crazy on instagram and tag brands so they’ll share your image on their feed, for free. I’m all about getting paid MORE and working less. That’s my jam.
Here’s the flip side to all this as well. The photographers that get paid a little more to do social media work have built up their Instagram account to over 50K followers. People, this takes time. If you are just starting out with the 1000’s of other photogs just starting out, you all are competing, and it’s harder and harder to build up a large following these days.
I turn down social media jobs all the time where they are paying $150 for 100 images, and I have to supply all the food, all the props, seriously???
If you create a website and then target who you want to work with directly, you can save a TON of time, and fly right by your competition.
I know, I know, we’ve all heard the stories of Instagramers getting paid a lot to mention someone’s product, hello Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylie Jenner. People, those are celebrity social media influencers, and that’s an entirely different ball game here.
You Have No Control Of Instagram or Facebook!
Do you remember last year when Instagram massively changed their algorithm overnight? All the big accounts lost 10’s of 1000’s of followers in a few hours. Everyone freaked out. There was nothing they could do.
With your own website, you have control of your content! That is the most important thing. If you are only relying on Instagram or Facebook, you are really taking a huge risk here because they can do what ever they want whether you like it or not.
You need control of your work, and the best way to do this is with your own hosted website.
Building A Website Is Extremely Easy These Days
There’s really no excuse now to not having a website. They are very inexpensive, and when using a website template builder, you don’t need code at all to make a beautiful site.
There are however good website designs, and really bad ones out there. I’m going to be doing a series of blog posts about what you should, and should not do with your website, so stay tuned for that.
I’ve helped a lot of photographers with their websites over the years, along with building a bunch of websites for myself, my clients, and my artist friends. I created my first website in 1997, and have had many version of it since then. Technology just keeps getting better and better as time goes on.
If you want help with creating your own website, or you have one, and want me to do an audit of your website to tell you what you’re missing, what you need to change, and what images should be edited out or added in, schedule a Website Audit with me.
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