How to turn a simple website into a powerful marketing tool for your pictures.

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I find many good photographers on the web. I love browsing through Flickr because I see lots of great pictures; there are some great photographers on Flickr! Sometimes I think that they’re making lots of money with their great pictures but when I research a little more I find out that they probably don’t. On the other hand on Flickr I find other good photographers that actually make money from their pictures. What is the difference between these two groups of photographers? While the quality of their pictures is certainly a factor there is another simple difference: publicity…or in other words…marketing.

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Start by asking yourself why you want to publish your pictures online?

This article will explore one simple strategy for marketing your pictures on the Internet. But before I explain this strategy, every photographer must think before publishing on the web. There are too many ways to use the web and like anything with many options, the web can be misused. So think of your purpose first, and answer this basic question: Why do I want to publish my pictures online? (read this article for more ideas). After you answer this basic question, consider this simple strategy for marketing your pictures.

I have seen many photographers that jump right into the web and publish one or more photo blogs. They mix photography techniques with their pictures and their comments on other people’s pictures. They write so many articles and publish so many pictures that it is difficult to determine what they are trying to sell. Is it a technical blog where you want to share technical information, or are you trying to get more customers for your photography business (weddings, children, events…etc)? So, again think about your purpose and don’t discount the power of an efficient simple website.

A simple website can be very efficient for your business.

One of the simplest and most efficient ways to market your photography work is to create a simple web site that contains examples from different types of pictures you have taken. While a photoblog can be a powerful tool, it is not always appropriate for all photographers. Actually, a simple website that has the right content can be a lot more effective in bringing customers than a photoblog with lots of content. Below I’m listing a few practical things to make your simple web site work for you:

Simple stuff is always powerful

  • Have a few wedding pictures (a couple close up portraits, a couple group pictures and so on), have a few children pictures, and a few pictures from certain events that you have photographed.
  • Create categories that make sense for your business.
  • Don’t have all your pictures on this website. People looking to hire photographers do not necessarily look at lots and lots of pictures, but rather they want to see quality very quickly.
  • If you’re providing photo albums also, and photo books have pictures of those finished products as well. Include these under a separate category.
  • Make your contact information very obvious. Telephone and email will suffice.
  • Include personal references.

But…you have to turn geeky once in a while

  • Make sure you create precise alt tag descriptions. The alt portion of the image tag in HTML is being used by search engines to identify pictures. For example: if you’re doing wedding photography in the north Boston area, then one of your alt tags should read something like this:
    <img class="post_horiz" src="your image address" alt="Children at wedding, North Boston area." />
    Make sure you include your area and the picture category.
  • Use your head ! That is the header of the html code :). The and <meta> tag are helpful to search engines. So, use them ! </meta>
  • <title>Pro Photography - photography for your important events.</title>
    <meta NAME="description" CONTENT="Professional wedding photography in the North Boston area.">
    </meta>

    <meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="photography, wedding, business events, children, portraits, Boston, Massachusetts, North Boston">
    </meta>

    <meta NAME="author" CONTENT="John Smith">
    </meta>

    <meta NAME="robots" CONTENT="Index,Follow">
    </meta>

    <meta NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="30days">
    </meta>

  • Learn how to use Style Sheets and place all your styles into one file. For a simple page you should have only one style sheet file. This way you can change very easily the look and feel of your page.
  • Provide good size and resolution for your example pictures. People looking to hire a photographer really want to see quality pictures. You can’t show quality in small picture. I would recommend at least 800×600 as far as size. Include enough resolution to show details of the picture. Each picture should not have less than 300Kb.
  • Stay away from fancy graphics (flash, java, rotating gifs) especially if you’re trying to implement the advice above. I would use the bandwidth for displaying my pictures rather than showing some fancy graphic that customers don’t care about.

Don’t forget the simple things.

Think about it…do you really need a photo blog? Maybe you do…but maybe you don’t! A simple website, well laid out can prove to be a lot more effective for your photography business. Next article will deal with photoblogs…so stay tuned.

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

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I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.

Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.

In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.

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