If you’re building a site as a wedding photographer, the underlying reason is to get more clients. For that reason, you want to get it right. You want to make sure that you’ve got the right pieces in place so that people actually decide to use you rather than their uncle Freddy.
So what are the things that you can do to make sure that you’re selected? It can’ be a bit daunting, can’t it? To make it less so, we’ve collected together a bunch of tips to help you out.
Only the best
The temptation can be to put everything and the kitchen sink on your websites. Resist it! Instead, make absolutely sure that you only put your best on there. Why?
In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman discusses a psychological study. People were offered two sets of china. One included a set of perfectly good plate and cups. The other included that same exact set, plus several pieces that were damaged. Now, objectively, the second set is more valuable than the first.
But that’s not how the participants in the study saw it. When they were asked to decide how much they would pay for each set without being able to compare it to the other, they consistently said that they would pay less for the second set than for the first.
In other words, the addition of the damaged cups and plates actually reduced the value of the set in the minds of the participants. When you’re adding photos that aren’t your absolute best, that’s what you’re doing to your website. So be brutal. Take off anything that you don’t think is absolutely top notch.
Who are you reaching out to?
If you’ve got a target demographic (And you probably should) then make sure your page actually is tailored towards them. That means that you want to include photos of couples that are very similar to the people that you’re actually trying to photograph.
Why? Again, it’s down to psychology. We like people that are similar to us. And so, if you use pictures of people that are similar to the people you’re targeting, they’re going to like your website more than they’ll the stuff that their uncle Frank is doing (That’s right, not uncle Freddy. Good of you to catch that. It turns out Uncle Freddy doesn’t even have a website).
Keep Contrast High
Pictures look better against some backgrounds (e.g. black) than they look against others (e.g. white). Make sure that you try out your pictures on different backgrounds to see which work best for the types of photos you do. Also, try out many different photos, including the ones that you don’t put up.
After all, as time goes by you’ll change what pieces you’ll showcase. That means that they’ll change. For that reason, it’s vital to try out many different photos and make sure that the color that you’ve chosen actually works for the vast majority of photos that you might put over time.
Make sure the photos are high quality
This one is a no-brainer. People want to see professional looking photos. In their minds, that means that the images have to be high-resolution. So make certain that’s what you’ve got on your site. No 300 by 300 images, however, good they might be. Yes, this does mean that your load times will go up, which can be a real pain (there is research out there that says that people aren’t very good at waiting nowadays). For that reason, it’s important that you choose a service that actually gives you the fastest load times.
Another good way to reduce the load time of your pages and make certain that the people that visit your site actually look at the pages rather than getting distracted by other things, is to use a lot of negative space (i.e. empty space). In fact, keeping it simple is a primary website design hack.
This will give a far slicker feel to your site and will make certain people focus on your images rather than on the clutter all over your page. What’s more, a good arrangement will greatly increase the power of an image.
Use beginning and end
When arranging your images, make certain that you put them at the beginning and the end as these are the two areas that are the most important.
The beginning is important because if you don’t have great images there, then people aren’t going to continue looking for your website. The end is important because this is what we remember best when we’re thinking back on something.
Of course, if you are going to put some of your best images at the end, make certain that you don’t have hundreds as if that’s the case very few of your visitors are actually going to finish the entire list.
Some people choose a double-whammy strategy, where they select their best images for a short slideshow on their first page and then offer a wider selection deeper in their website, for those people who haven’t yet made up their minds after seeing the shorter selection. This is a perfectly fine strategy, but be sure to put original images back in the extended selection. Pepper them throughout the selection and again, use them as bookends to really give your work that extra bit of ‘pow’.
You’re a photographer. So focus on the photos. You might want to talk a lot, but unless you’re a very gifted writer, keep it to a minimum. Just include what they need to know. Where are you, how can they contact you, what are your rates and perhaps a short blurb about what you believe wedding photography should be about. That’s enough.