Photographers - Here's How To Put The Internet To Work For You
It is not lost on professionals in the visual arts field that the Internet is an advertising outlet made for visual imagery. One of the most creative professional fields with Internet presentation is the architectural business. Good firms present their portfolio in such a manner as to walk a potential client through the process that previous clients have been through. The Internet provides many opportunities like this, and perhaps none quite so powerful as the one afforded t...
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It is not lost on professionals in the visual arts field that the Internet is an advertising outlet made for visual imagery. One of the most creative professional fields with Internet presentation is the architectural business. Good firms present their portfolio in such a manner as to walk a potential client through the process that previous clients have been through. The Internet provides many opportunities like this, and perhaps none quite so powerful as the one afforded the photographic professional.
Architectural websites use before-and-after layouts for remodeling or restoration jobs. For new projects, both commercial and residential, the better sites take the time - and provide the visual support, in the form of photos and blueprints - to explain the design changes as they progressed. These lessons and more like it can all be applied to sites carefully crafted to display the photographer's wares.
A photographer's website can stand out from the competition by taking a similar approach. If you're a generalist, divide your site into types of services. For weddings, go through the shooting process - online - the way the catering department at the host hotel is going to go through the ceremony and reception.
Use illustrative photos - photographer and client perusing portfolio shots, discussing options - perhaps using a white board to discuss angles and groupings. In other words, use the web site to try and draw potential clients into the details that goes into carefully photographed events. This approach will provide credibility, in comparison to sites with a few bridal shots and "bargain rates."
If your practice extends beyond events, obviously the sales promotion is in the sampling. If you are selling general nature photos, for example, throw out a half dozen samples and then invite further inspection of the catalogue by inviting an email registration. That will give you an opportunity to open a dialogue with a potential client. You can then email one spectacular shot and ask for particulars as to the browsing prospect's needs. You can use your website as an interactive catalogue.
Your website can provide order forms and rate structures, but they should be secondary to the display of your wares and invitations to open a one-to-one dialogue. You can guarantee reasonable prices and then explain that every job is unique and is priced accordingly. That will imply a quality-oriented business.
If you trade in selling stock shots, provide some samples of brochures or direct mail pieces or catalogues where your work has been used. It's one thing to offer the service, and another to show off the quality of your work in a finished product. To a certain degree, the same is true of events - although wedding photos may be a bit clich for professional photographer sites. Quality portraiture, on the other hand, can be an arresting sight for a browsing potential client. If your portrait techniques extend beyond the backlit, seated form, then some online samples are probably a good idea.
The notion behind each of these suggestions is to draw the potential client in by virtue of a unique website, not necessarily highly creative and unusual photography. The assumption is that your work is professional grade. The key to a website is making it work for you by doing two things: providing a sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing presentation format; and by driving the browsing client to get in touch with you - via phone or email. To that end, invite email inquiries for further samples or specific requests.
The Internet is a communications tool, not just a sales brochure. Make it communicate for you while your site is in the process of displaying your skills.
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