Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned event photographer, you can't afford to not have an online portfolio! In this information age, your website is your clients' go-to resource for finding out about you, your services and your skills.
Not just any site will do, however. If you really want to wow potential clients, you'll need a slick-looking, easy-to-navigate set of pages that showcase your best work and unique talents. If your site's in need of a refresh – or if you haven't even started one at all – try implementing these eight tips for a great online portfolio.
1. Know Your Audience
Who's going to be viewing your site? Are you marketing primarily to individual clients and companies, or are you looking for long-term working relationships? Your viewers' knowledge of the event photography industry may influence the types of content you display, especially if you're considering a blog to go along with your portfolio.
2. Keep Things Simple
Your site should be content-rich but uncluttered. Aside from your portfolio, you'll just need an “about” page, contact information, a description of your services and perhaps a blog or series of articles. As for the portfolio itself, you'll probably want to steer clear of flashy, resource-hogging display methods. Simple thumbnails and expanding images will ensure even clients with old computers and poor tech skills will be able to view your work.
3. Narrow Your Focus
If you're still starting out, you may need to fill your portfolio with everything you've got. Once you're established, however, you need to be selective. Put only your best work up, and narrow your focus to specific industries if you're trying to specialise. When you focus on a particular industry or client profile, you want to immediately draw visitors to relevant work.
4. Make It Easy
Viewers shouldn't have to wonder how to look at your work or find out about you. Use a simple navigation theme for the site, and make sure visitors can get to every page from every other page. If that sounds impossible, you've probably got too many pages!
5. Be Brief
It's tempting to tell a life story, especially if you're the artistic type – but resist the urge! Your site is a tool to get new business, and most visitors don't want to hear your life story. Write a brief “about me” copy, and perhaps add a few short backstories to some of your best work. Other than that, let your photography do the talking.
6. Get in Contact
It should be very simple for viewers to contact you! You might want to create a “contact” page, but an even better method is to just display your contact info on every page. A sidebar works well, as does a static image of your email and phone number at the top of the site.
7. Use Testimonials
Next to your actual samples, your testimonials will be the most persuasive aspect of your portfolio. Nobody likes to feel like they're taking a risk in hiring you, and a few kind words from satisfied clients will go a long way in drumming up new business. Don't be afraid to ask old clients for reviews, and match their testimonials up with relevant shots.
No matter how great your portfolio is, nobody's going to see it if you don't promote it. Search engines are ultra-competitive, and you can't just count on searchers on Google coming across your site. Use direct but professional forms of self-promotion such as emails, cold calls and networking events, and point potential clients to your site. Capitalise on Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter, as well. The suggestion features on social sites might help you get business from companies and individuals who otherwise would have never heard of you.